Sexual harassment in healthcare is unfortunately a significant issue that has been prevalent for far too long. Sexual harassment in healthcare can happen between coworkers, patients, and doctors/nurses. Statistics show that over 50% of female nurses, physicians, and students reported sexual harassment. Most sexual harassment claims are brought by females, but that doesn’t mean males don’t experience sexual harassment. There have been increasingly more cases of sexual harassment reported by men as well.
Sexual Harassment In Healthcare can include:
- Sexual Harassment In Doctors’ Offices
- Sexual Harassment In Dental Offices
- Sexual Harassment in Nursing
- Sexual Harassment Of Administrative Assistants
With offices in Red Bank, NJ, Marlton, NJ, and Newark, NJ, the experienced sexual harassment lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. help employees who have experienced sexual harassment in healthcare throughout New Jersey.
Types of Sexual Harassment in Healthcare
Women and men in healthcare can experience many different types of sexual harassment, which can be between coworkers, patients, or anyone else in the healthcare field. The different types of sexual harassment in healthcare include:
- Offensive teasing, joking, questioning
- Requests of sexual favors
- Whistling or catcalling
- Inappropriate emails, letters, memos, or telephone calls
- Comments about appearance or clothing
- Spreading inappropriate rumors
- Sexual gestures
- Looking at a person’s body type inappropriately
- Giving personal gifts
- Following someone around
- Making hand signals, winking
- Sexual exposure (including “flashing” or “mooning”)
- Showing offensive pictures such as pornography
- Sexual assault or rape
- Any type of unwanted touching, brushing against someone’s body, unwanted hugging or kissing
- Massaging neck or shoulders
- Repeated and uncomfortable invitations to social events
- Contact resulting in anxiety and stress
Potential Repercussions of Harassment Claims
Soon after internal complaints are filed, a thorough investigation is conducted by human resources. Depending on the court rules and the severity of the claims, serious consequences can take place, including:
- Civil litigation with the potential for substantial damages
- Criminal prosecution
- Licensing board action
- Termination of the harasser
It’s important that the healthcare employer take the necessary steps to investigate and remedy harassment as soon as possible.
The Effects of Sexual Harassment In Healthcare
Individuals in healthcare can develop mental, emotional, physical, and psychological issues. Healthcare workers can also experience workplace retaliation when reporting harassment. Retaliation occurs when employers fire, demote, or further abuse/harass employees who report sexual harassment to supervisors. Anyone who suffers from sexual harassment is likely to develop anxiety, depression, headaches, sleeping disorders, weight loss/gain, and lowered self-esteem.
What Are The Steps To Reporting Sexual Harassment in Healthcare?
Employers are legally responsible for investigating and remedying sexual harassment as soon as an employee reports sexual harassment. If the employer does not follow through with their legal obligation to remedy harassment and protect the employees, they can be subjected to significant financial implications if the court rules that sexual harassment occurred.
If harassment occurs, it is important to take detailed notes. This documentation can help with your sexual harassment claim. These records should include details such as:
- The nature of the harassment
- When the harassment took place
- Who was involved
- The location of the harassment
- If there were any witnesses
In addition to keeping records of the harassment, it is also important to take the following actions:
- Consult a New Jersey sexual harassment lawyer as soon as possible
- Tell the harasser that their actions are making you uncomfortable and ask them to stop
- Inform your manager and consult your employee handbook for information about formal complaints
Ways To Create A Safer Work Environment
Employers are required to promote a safe and comfortable work environment for their employees. Employees should never feel as if their job is at risk if they report sexual harassment or feel as if their statement will be ignored or not taken seriously. It is crucial to have policies in place that are constantly improving and being promoted throughout the workplace. It should contain guidelines for the standards of behavior and reporting sexual harassment. Following a complaint of harassment, there should be a quick response, which includes an unbiased, confidential HR investigation.
Human resources are also responsible for enforcing a strong anti-harassment policy. HR is responsible for ensuring that employees are aware of the zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment claims. They should clearly communicate with new hires and existing employees exactly what to do if this type of situation occurs. Training programs should be implemented for new employees on what is considered appropriate and inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
If You Have Experienced Sexual Harassment in Healthcare, Contact Our New Jersey Sexual Harassment Attorneys
Depending on the circumstances and severity of what occurred, civil litigation with claims for substantial damages, criminal prosecution, and licensing actions may result from sexual harassment in a healthcare setting. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in a healthcare setting, or are experiencing workplace retaliation for reporting sexual harassment, contact the attorneys at McOmber McOmber & Luber today to protect your career.