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Teens suffer epidemic of sexual harassment in the workplace

One in three teenagers have been sexually harassed at work.

That shocking statistic underscores the need for diligent action against sexual harassment in the workplace, according to legal experts. California teens who are new to the workforce expect to learn about financial responsibility. Instead, they often are exposed to disturbing experiences that include harassment by a supervisor or client.

Adult workers suffer sexual harassment in the workplace, too, but younger employees are even less likely than their experienced counterparts to report such abuse. Workers between the ages of 15 and 22 are often unaware that unwanted touching and inappropriate comments may be considered sexual harassment at work. Even worse, those that are educated about sexual harassment may fail to report the incidents because they are too embarrassed or financially strapped.

Legal experts say that public agencies responsible for protecting California teens often fail to support those who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Both state and federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, are accused of overlooking the most vulnerable younger workers. These agencies often pursue action against only the most egregious sexual harassment cases, which may leave many younger workers without any regulatory recourse.

Young workers are reportedly more likely to suffer long-term effects because of sexual harassment. They may be less interested in considering careers in certain industries, or they may abandon working altogether. Many youngsters suffer problems with depression and self-esteem after being subjected to harassment in the workplace.

No matter the age of the victim, those who have suffered harm because of sexual harassment in the workplace deserve justice against their tormentors. A civil court case may provide victims with the financial recompense they deserve after being forced to endure such abuse. A sexual harassment attorney in California may be able to provide more information about victims' legal rights and options.

Source: The Oregonian, "Young workers least likely to find help, yet suffer deepest scars: Teen sexual harassment" Laura Gunderson, Apr. 01, 2014

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