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Study says up to 54 percent of teen girls are harassed at work

Many teenagers in Miami work part-time jobs, either to earn their own spending money, save money for college, or help support their families. Many people think it is beneficial for teenagers to work a bit when they are young, to gain work experience and learn about the value of a dollar, among other things. A new study, unfortunately, shows that a number of teenagers are having very poor first work experiences.

Researchers found that an astonishing number of teenagers interviewed had been sexually harassed on the job. Of 116 high school students interviewed, 54 percent of the girls said they had experienced lewd comments or behavior at work, or sexist and unwanted comments and jokes, or unwanted sexual attention or even sexual coercion. A large number of males, 37 percent of those interviewed, also said they experienced the types of harassment mentioned above.

Particularly among females, researchers found that sexual harassment led to poor job satisfaction as well as diminished skill development. And, the experience of harassment may affect the teens outside of work as well. Researchers believe that being sexually harassed in the workplace can lead the boys and girls to struggle in the classroom-developing absenteeism and tardiness as well as poor performance on schoolwork.

The internal effects of sexual harassment may become magnified in the teenagers, researchers hypothesized, because they are unlikely to report the harassment and are then left to deal with it internally. Teenagers may be less likely to report harassment because of their low-ranking positions as well as the age difference between themselves and the harassers or the boss.

Parents may think about talking to their teenagers about their workdays and the culture of their workplaces. It is important that teenage workers are aware that certain behaviors are not only inappropriate, but that they are actually illegal. When parents feel their children may have been harassed at work, it may be beneficial to talk to an employment law attorney.

Source: Yahoo News, "Teens More Likely to Face Sexual Harassment on the Job," Chad Brooks, Dec. 26, 2012

  • To learn more about your rights as an employee here in South Florida, take a look at our Broward County law firm's Employment Law page.

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