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Sexual harassment at work: San Diego teens more likely to be victims?

Parents of teenagers who are encouraging their kids to find part-time or summer jobs should also consider explaining to their teens some of the basic rights workers have in California in order to protect their children from being taken advantage of in the workplace by their employers.

Young workers need to understand that they deserve to be compensated fairly for their work. They should also make sure that the environment they work in is safe. Teenagers who work also need to know that they are protected by anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws. When young workers believe they have been harassed or discriminated against, they have every right to report the wrongdoings.

According to researchers, teens are more likely to encounter sexual harassment in the workplace compared to older workers, especially when teens work low-opportunity jobs. Researchers believe this is because young workers are viewed as powerless individuals in the workplace as a result of their age and inexperience.

Researchers at Illinois State University surveyed 116 high school students who held jobs within the past two years of when the study was conducted. The young workers were asked about whether they had been sexually harassed at work, and many workers said that they were harassed at least once. More than 50 percent of the female workers surveyed said they had been harassed. Thirty-seven percent of male workers admitted to being sexually harassed, too. Sexual harassment included unwanted advances, lewd and sexist comments, and even sexual coercion.

This type of behavior is illegal in the workplace, but it can also be very damaging. Researchers said that young workers who do not report sexual harassment could be at risk of facing performance issues at school and work due to the negative effects of being harassed by others in a place where all should be respected. When a worker is harassed, it is not only important to seek legal counsel, it is also important to seek support from others in order to prevent the incident from destroying one's self-worth.

Source: Yahoo! News, "Teens more likely to face sexual harassment on the job," Chad Brooks, Dec. 26, 2012