“Do you ever feel like breaking down?
Do you ever feel out of place?
Like somehow you just don’t belong
And no one understands you
Do you ever wanna run away?
Do you lock yourself in your room?
With the radio on turned up so loud
That no one hears you screaming
No you don’t know what it’s like
When nothing feels all right
You don’t know what it’s like
To be like me
To be hurt
To feel lost
To be left out in the dark
To be kicked when you’re down
To feel like you’ve been pushed around
To be on the edge of breaking down
And no one’s there to save you
No, you don’t know what it’s like
Welcome to my life” (Simple Plan, 2017)
People think that bullying/harassment is tough, it’s not tough. You want to know what tough is, it is really tough to go up to the people you tease and say you’re sorry, you want to know what tough is, go up to the people that tease you and say please stop. That’s tough. What numbers of physical, emotional, psychological/mental illnesses and suicides have to take place before society realizes that bullying and harassment kills people? How do we get through to people that pulling someone down won’t make you reach the top. It’s not funny and it’s not a game. Bullying happens way more than it should but you always have the power to make a difference. If someone is alone, will you offer to be his friend? If someone gets pushed down, will you lift them back up? If a co-employee is sad because of a mean text or message, will you send some kind words to make them smile? If someone puts you down will you believe them or choose to believe in yourself?
We, as Ministry of Business and Innovation, need to be that support network for all the employees who can’t speak for themselves; we need to be the change the whole outlook by making strict policies against bullying and harassment and also, by making sure that they are been implemented.
Bullying and harassment at workplaces
It is significant that most of the world’s population spends 1/3rd of their adult life at work i.e. they spend the major part of their adult life at the workplace (International Labour Organization Geneva, 1995; Chu, Driscoll, & Dwyer , 1997). There is a direct link between the employees’ health and their working environments (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, 2017) as “Wellbeing” goes beyond just ‘wellness’ and it is a complex blend of the physical, psychological, social and relationship aspects of employees’ working lives and in turn, their families (Great Place to Work, 2016). It includes factors such as their working environment and how they get on with their manager and colleagues. Working in a safe and healthy environment, make employees’ feel esteemed, regarded and content in their jobs and also, makes them more focused and productive to their work organization. Although, if the workplace environment is non- friendly, risky or stressful, the health of the employees’ deteriorates resulting in their frequent absence from work, thus, the organization suffers productive loss (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, 2017). Employees and employers are benefitted only if there are sound healthy working environments.
In New Zealand, according to the Health and Safety Work Act 2015, employers are obliged to provide a safe and secure work environment (Bullying in the workplace, 2014). Thus, every employee gets benefit from the policies and efforts made to reduce the work-related illnesses, injuries or disabilities as these policies help to take care of the employees and maintain healthy workforce by reducing premature deaths, reduce risks of work-related injuries and re-injuries by improving the health and safety at workplaces. Also, organisations make substantial cost savings by promoting health in the workplace and reducing sickness absence. One of the key elements in Health and Safety Work Act 2015 is that an employer has to ensure that staff isn’t exposed to hazards when in the workplace or when they’re working near the workplace and under employer control (Bullying in the workplace, 2014). “Hazard” is a broad term that includes anything which can be the actual or potential cause or source of harm and also includes a person putting others at risk of workplace stress due to bullying or harassment (Bullying in the workplace, 2014).
New Zealand has the world’s second highest rate of workplace bullying as the statistics suggest that over 350,000 (17.8% of workforce) employees are currently being bullied (ADELE, 2016), with an estimated one in five Kiwis feeling victimised (Nicola, 2016). Statistics shows that workplace bullying in Australia costs up to $36 billion a year and Worksafe general manager of high hazards and specialist services, Brett Murray, said that these figures are most likely to be similar in New Zealand as well ( Radio New Zealand, 2014).
What is bullying?
According to Worksafe NZ, workplace bullying is defined as “repeated and unreasonable behavior directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.” Bullies may scare individuals straightforwardly and in extraordinary cases making savage dangers, or really lashing out and can behave more inconspicuous, or aberrant.
Direct bullying can include disapproving without exception; scorning or assaulting, somebody’s way of life, convictions or appearance; disparaging comments etc.
Indirect bullying can include purposely failing them by not providing apt information to finish up the task, or by giving false data; by taking credit for somebody else’s’ work; by giving unrealistic and incomprehensible due dates to finish task etc.
What is not bullying?
It is important that complaints of bullying are made only where bullying has actually occurred. Therefore along with the definition of what constitutes bullying, there needs to be an understanding of what does not constitute bullying.
Specific examples of behaviour that do not constitute bullying (identified for Australian legislation) are (Bullying in the workplace, 2014):
• Reasonable action taken in a justifiable manner by an employer to transfer, demote, discipline, counsel, retrench or dismiss an employee.
• A decision by an employer, based on justified grounds whether to award or provide a promotion or not, to transfer or not, or benefit in connection with an employee’s employment.
• Rationale administrative action taken in a justifiable manner by an employer in connection with an employee’s employment.
Impact of bullying on health:
Bullying can have an adverse impact on physical and emotional health, both in the short term and later in life. It can also lead to physical injury, social problems, emotional problems, and even death (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). Mostly, those who are bullied are at increased risk for mental health problems, headaches, and faces problem in adjusting (Smokowski & Kopasz, 2005). Bullying causes damage to self-esteem in long-term. Those who are both bullies and victims of bullying suffer the most serious effects of bullying and are at greater risk for mental and behavioral problems than those who are only bullied or who are only bullies (Smokowski & Kopasz, 2005).
International evidences suggesting the impact of bullying on wellbeing:
Over the past three decades, there had been many studies comprising case-control, cross-sectional and clinical interviews, to research the consequences of workplace bullying on individuals health. The results have shown that there are possibilities of devastating effects on health and wellbeing of the exposed individuals. The studies found that exposure to bullying can cause chronic fatigue; psychosomatic, psychological and physical symptoms; general stress and mental stress reactions (Dofradottir & Hogh, 2002; Einarsen & Mikkelsen, Individual effects of exposure to bullying at work., 2003; Moayed, Daraiseh, Shell, & Salem, 2006). In many European countries, exposed individuals reported the musculoskeletal complaints, anxiety, irritability, and depression (Einarsen S. , Raknes, Matthiesen, & Hellesoy, 1996; Niedl, 1996; O’Moore, Seigne, McGuire, & Smith, 1998). Some victims even reported the symptoms indicating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Exposed individuals not only reported reduction in their self-confidence, low self-worth, shyness, sense of vulnerability, and feeling of guilt (Kile, 1990; Thylefors, 1987; O’Moore, Seigne, McGuire, & Smith, 1998; Spratlan, 1995), but also self-hatred and developed suicidal thoughts (Einarsen S. , Raknes, Matthiesen, & Hellesøy, 1994; Thylefors, 1987). Studies have reported that few of the exposed targets had a permanent deterioration of mental and physical wellbeing (Mikkelsen E. G., 2001)due to which targets had faced prolonged absence from work (Kivimaki, Elovainio, & Vahtera, 2000), risk of unemployment and also, early retirement (Matthesen, Raknes, & Rokkum, 1989).
In an interview study of Hallberg & Strandmark in 2006 (Hallberg & Strandmark, 2006), it was observed that psychosomatic and psychological symptoms appeared amongst the targeted bullied employees whenever they are at work. The symptoms comprise of loss of concentration, mood swings, anxiety, sleep disturbances, fear and depression along with throbbing headache, respiratory or cardiac issues, development of hypertension and hypersensitivity to sounds. Over the time, the symptoms can become worse and also, may result in chronic psychological ailments or mental illnesses.
The studies also showed that in order to cope up with bullying, targets may start taking sickness leaves or may even start substance abuse i.e. start on drugs/alcohol/smoking or any other such intoxicating substances. The incidence of sick leaves was 2.3 times higher amongst occasionally bullied targets ( (Høgh, Ortega , Giver, & Borg, 2007). The prevalence of drug consumption increased from an average of 5.6% to 85% amongst employees who got affected due to exposure to bullying (Traweger, Kinzl, Traweger-Ravanelli, & Fiala, 2004).
According to the studies conducted by Pompili and others in 2008 (Pompili, Lester, Leenaars, Tatarelli, & Girardi, 2008), confirmed that suicidal risk among targeted men and women at work has increased tremendously without the prior history of psychiatric disorder. 102 individuals were interviewed and it was found that 3.9% had a high suicidal risk, 16.7% had medium and 31.4% had low risk. 48% had no suicidal risk and 65% had physical complaints. The individuals with suicidal risks also reported the greater psychopathology. Targets of bullying have sleep problems and they have low sleep quality (Notelaers , Einarsen , De Witte, & Vermunt, 2006). Due to which they use sleep inducing drugs and sedatives (Vartia, 2001).
Evidence in New Zealand suggesting impact on wellbeing:
In August 2016 Cultural safe New Zealand director Allan Hase said that the perception towards workplace bullying is similar to the ones towards domestic violence 30 years ago (ADELE, 2016). “Understanding Stress and Bullying in New Zealand Workplaces Final report to OH&S Steering” in 2009, talked about the research study to develop and evaluate a valid and reliable methodology for the measurement of workplace stress and bullying in New Zealand (Bentley, et al., 2009). It was conducted by the multidisciplinary team from different expertise such as industrial/ organizational psychology, human factors, occupational health and safety, management and human resources. The research study highlighted the highest levels of stress and bullying in the education and health sectors, and also association of bullying with higher levels of noninterfering leadership, degraded or non-productive leadership, progressive stress, deteriorating well-being, inefficient performance, aspiration for higher turnover, increased absent rates, and lessening in assistance and assurance from organisation. One of the studies reported 90 % of the surveyed nursing students had experienced bullying during clinical placements (Foster, Mackie, & Barnett, 2004). A survey in the Public Service Association, amongst employees it was found that 43 % has reported experiencing bullying behaviours (Proctor-Thomson, Donnelly, & Plimmer, 2011). In another survey of the public service, 1/3rd of respondents reported being bullied in the last six months, and 6.2 % experiencing bullying frequently (Plimmer, et al., 2013). Another major study found that 17.8 % of employees across four main service industries reported being bullied in the last six months (O’Driscoll, et al., 2011)and these rates of reported workplace bullying are greater in comparison with international prevalence levels (Thirlwall & Haar, 2010). One investigation demonstrated the most exceedingly awful types of harassing were terrorizing, putting down comments, being overlooked and prohibited, and being set up to fizzle (Foster, Mackie, & Barnett, 2004).
According to WorkSafe New Zealand people who had been bullied within the last five years but are no longer are victimized, still report deteriorating wellbeing than those who have never been bullied (EMPLOYSURE, 2016).
RISK FACTORS FOR BULLYING:
An extensive review of literature published in 2010 in School Psychology Quarterly supported the notion that risk factors for bullying and substance abuse overlap. Risk factors for bullying and bully victimization, such as social difficulties, negative community influences and academic struggles are also risk factors for substance abuse (DrugRehab.com, 2017). Power and status are big factors in why a person becomes a bully, but there are other reasons as well – they may seek attention or have a mental health condition. Taking on a victim may be a way for them to deal with depression, anxiety, loneliness or low self-esteem; it might also be a way to get relief or self-satisfaction (AddictionResource.com). This in itself may seem very contradicting, but research has shown that people who have been bullied are more than twice as likely to become bullies themselves to use it as some sort of defense. The people who become bullies themselves usually think that they will be immune against being bullied. Sadly, it is just a double negative (AddictionResource.com).
As we know, childhood plays an important role in establishing ones character as an adult. There many influential factors, both good or bad. Influential risk factors for bullying can be classified into various categories (Gordon, 2017):
1. Family Risk Factors
- Witnessing or experiencing abuse. More likely, children from abusive homes bully more than other children because forceful behaviour/attitude, violence and conspiracy are inculcated in them due to home environment.
- Having permissive parents. At the point when guardians don’t build up rules for their youngsters or do not give sufficient supervision, their kids regularly fall back on tormenting. The absence of connection between the kid and his parent can make a wide range of issues, including bullying behaviour.
- Seeing or experiencing bullying by siblings. When an older sibling puts a younger sibling in a situation which creates a sense of powerlessness, i.e. sibling bullying; in order to regain that feeling of power, these younger siblings then bully others even imitates the older sibling.
2. Personality Risk Factors
- Exhibiting low self-esteem. Children with low self-esteem are prone to bullying because bullying gives them a sense of power and control – which is something they lack in their own life. They may also boast about their crookedness and competence to exploit in order to cover for their own low sense of self-worth.
- Relating to others negatively. Bully-prone children regularly make contrary remarks about a man’s appearance, knowledge or capacities. They may likewise be bigoted of different races, societies or ways of life. Quite a bit of this biased tormenting originates from fear, an absence of comprehension and is regularly learned at home.
- Craving power. Children who dependably need to be in control are additionally inclined to bullying. They just work with others when it’s on their terms. In the event that things don’t go their direction, at that point they fall back on to bullying. Furthermore, youngsters who are endeavouring to be popular also are inclined to bullying.
- Showing little empathy. Children who have not figured out how to be sympathetic may likewise fall back on bullying. They are either unable or unwilling to understand how low a person might be feeling when cruel things are said or done. They just blame the target in some or the other way.
- Exhibiting a low tolerance for frustration. When a circumstance doesn’t turn out as expected, this can cause dissatisfaction/frustration. Most of them figure out how to adjust to the circumstance and the disappointment dies down. But for some children, not getting what they need feels unendurable. As a result, they bully others to constrain the coveted result. Commonly, compulsiveness to get perfection is at the base of dissatisfaction levels.
3. Behaviour Risk Factors
- Acting with aggression. Aggressive children usually have poor motivation control and a brisk temper. Rather than using reasoning, they fall back on compulsive behaviour and dominance. Additionally, they may hit and kick if opposed.
- Using physical strength to intimidate. Children who regularly utilize their physical strength to get what they need may turn to bullying. They control circumstances by influencing other kids to feel feeble or frail.
- Excluding other children. Every child wants to have close friends. But bully-prone children may attempt to seclude individuals. Not only they decline to give someone else a chance to take part, but also they urge different children to overlook those individuals.
- Getting harassed by others. Often children bully others because they themselves had been the victim. Thus, these children are referred as bully victims as they had been through the same circumstances as a victim. But just to compensate for their painful feelings, they often bully other children.
Relation between different addictions and bullying:
When it comes to substance abuse rates “bullying” isn’t a huge factor, but when you take the mental health impact, both parties should be taken into consideration. It is been reported that 50% of all people with mental health issues also have substance abuse problems (AddictionResource.com). There is also significant research to suggest that bullies themselves are more likely to use alcohol and drug (Partnership News Service Staff , 2012).
There is not as much research for adults at workplaces, although there had been a study which examined over 78,000 middle and high school students from 16 school districts in a large metropolitan area and found a clear link between involvement in bullying and substance abuse. The results showed higher rates of substance abuse for anybody involved in bullying in any way, i.e. as victims, bullies or a mixture of the two. The rates were higher among bullies and those who both bullied others and were bullied themselves. The study specifically focused on the rates of alcohol abuse, marijuana use and cigarettes, but found similar results across different substances. In high school, 13.3 percent of students not involved with bullying had used marijuana, in comparison to 16.6 percent of victims of bullying, 29.2 percent who were both bullies and victims, and 31.7 percent of those who were perpetrators of bullying (Promises Treatment Centers: Drug Abuse, 2015).
Other studies show that the statistics of substance abuse are higher for bullies than for victims, and are unsettling (AddictionResource.com). There are studies which support the hypothesis that aggressive behavior and substance abuse co-exist in light of the fact that every conduct is an endeavor to adapt to peer dismissal (AddictionResource.com).
According to the “The Employment Relations Act 2000” and “Human Rights Act 1993” (Employment New Zealand, 2017; Department of Labour) harassment can be characterized as any unwelcome verbal or physical conduct, lead or show of act or behaviour that has no genuine work environment work and that has the impact of culpable, mortifying or scaring someone else in the working environment; incorporates the unseemly use of gadgets, for example, telephones and computers.
Harassment can involve the actions of an individual or a group and can be from a colleague, administrator, worker, individual from people in general or a man that a representative meets in their official limit. It additionally incorporates conduct that happens at work or between work environment members in settings outside the working environment.
Sexual and racial harassment have specific definitions and are more prominent.
May occur between members of the same or opposite sex and happens in a worker’s business if their boss, or a delegate of their boss:
a) Directly or by implication makes a demand for sex, sexual contact, or other type of sexual movement that contains
i) An inferred or clear guarantee of particular treatment in the worker’s business.
ii) An inferred of clear danger of impeding treatment in the representative’s work
iii) An inferred or clear danger about the present or future business status of the representative
b) By i) The utilization of dialect (regardless of whether composed or talked) of a sexual sort; or
ii) The utilization of visual material of a sexual sort
iii) Physical conduct of a sexual sort,- straightforwardly or in a roundabout way subjects the worker to conduct that is unwelcome or hostile to that representative (regardless of whether that is passed on to the business or agent) and that, either by its temperament or through redundancy, detrimentally affects that worker’s work, work execution, or employment satisfaction.
An employee is also sexually harassed in their employment (regardless of whether by a co-worker, or a customer or client of the business) if the worker has made a grievance about conduct, and the business has not made whatever strides are practicable to keep the reiteration of such conduct.
Conduct, dialect or visual material that straightforwardly or indirectly:
a) Expresses threatening vibe against, or brings into scorn or criticism, some other individual on the grounds of shading, race, or ethnic or national starting points of that individual; and
b) Is harmful or hostile to that other individual (regardless of whether that is conveyed on to the employer or delegate); and
c) Has either by its tendency or through redundancy, an adverse impact on the worker’s business, work execution, or job satisfaction.
An employee is also racially harassed in their employment (regardless of whether by a co-representative, or a customer or client of the business) if the representative has made a protest about conduct, and the employer has not made whatever strides are practicable to keep the redundancy of such conduct.
Other forms of harassment
General harassment could include any unwanted and unjustified behaviour which another person finds offensive or humiliating and because it is serious or repeated it has a negative effect on the person’s employment, job performance or job satisfaction.
Specific protection from other forms of harassment at work isn’t included in legislation, but if an employee is subjected to another form of harassment, they may be able to bring a personal grievance, for example, if
- other forms of harassment are included in workplace policies or employment agreements, or
- the harassment leads to unjustified disadvantage or constructive dismissal.
Examples of other forms of harassment:
- comments or behaviour that express hostility, contempt or ridicule, repeated put-downs for people of a particular age, body shape, gender based identity, sexual orientation based identity, race-based and ethnicity-based, disability-based, religion/cultural based, intersectional Harassment etc
- a general work atmosphere of repeated jokes, teasing, or ‘fun’ at someone else’s expense because of a particular characteristic they have.
Impact of harassment on health:
According to the article by Marek Bendyk, Chris Tippett, Cameron Wright (Bendyk, Tippett, & Wright, 2004); the effects of harassment can often drive the victim to feel considerations of discouragement, low self-assurance, and minimal confidence. Aside from being physically harmed, they need to manage the persistent dread of the next attack, which is practically sure to come unless some help is taken. The victim’s life can turn can transform into a wretchedness, and working environment turns into a place to be maintained a strategic distance from. The ridiculous assaults can prompt sentiments of dispiriting and embarrassment, causing loss of fearlessness and confidence. Casualties may encounter side effects, for example, cerebral pains, stomach throbs, bad dreams and uneasiness assaults. Other impact can be (University of the Fraser Valley, 2017) disbelief, Anger, Self-blame, isolation, withdrawal, illness, depression, loss of sleep, increased anxiety or panic attacks, loss of appetite, inability to concentrate on work or school, intimidation from the harasser, outbursts of misplaced anger, increased absenteeism and sick leave.
In Denmark, a cross-sectional multilevel analysis was conducted to analyse the impact of harassment from clients or customers and harassment from other employees amongst 7603 Danish employees from 1041 organizations (Friborg, et al., 25 September 2017). The research study reported that workplace sexual harassment has negative consequences such as decreased job satisfaction, long-term sickness absence, and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety (Cantisano, Domínguez, & Depolo, 2008; Nielsen & Einarsen, 2012; Santaularia, Johnson, Hart, Haskett, & Welsh, 2014; McDonald, 2012; Willness, Steel, & Lee, 2007). One of the most commonly studied consequences of sexual harassment is its effects on mental health (Cantisano, Domínguez, & Depolo, 2008; Nielsen & Einarsen, 2012; Santaularia, Johnson, Hart, Haskett, & Welsh, 2014; McDonald, 2012; Willness, Steel, & Lee, 2007). Another study of occupation-specific samples find associations between sexual harassment by clients or customers and adverse mental health conditions including depression and burnout (Hanson, Perrin, Moss, Laharnar, & Glass, 2015; Clausen, Hogh, Carneiro, & Borg, 2013; Geiger-Brown, Muntaner, McPhaul, Lipscomb, & Trinkoff, 2007; Gettman & Gelfand, 2007; Harris & Leather, 2011; Magnavita & Heponiemi, 2011).
In Canada, according to a 2016 report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, about 85% of women reported sexual harassment at work, and also, according to data collected by sociologist Heather McLaughlin and others, about 80% of women who’ve been harassed leave their jobs within two years (Merchant, 2017).
In 2016, in United States (Golshan, 2017), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a comprehensive study of workplace harassment in the United States, which stated that 25% to 85% of women report to have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s a strikingly broad range, statistically predicting one in four people are affected by workplace sexual harassment. It is found in EEOC Report that one study, in 2003 found that 75% of employees who spoke out against workplace mistreatment faced some form of retaliation. According to the EEOC, in 1994, the Merit Systems Protection Board- a federal agency that oversee the abuses targeting federal employees, roughly estimated that due to sexual harassment, job turnover ($24.7 million), sick leave ($14.9 million), and decreased individual ($93.7 million) and workgroup ($193.8) productivity had together cost the government a total of $327.1 million. Since 2010, employers have paid out $698.7 million to employees alleging harassment through the Commission’s administrative enforcement pre-litigation process alone, although comparable cost data of other various agencies of the federal government is unavailable, but it would likely to be similar.
We do not know about the prevalence of harassment that occurs because of an employee’s race, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Although, there have been reported numerous charges and complaints claiming harassment on such grounds. The need more funded research to collect data for estimation of prevalence of harassment on these grounds as well.
New Zealand/Australia based evidence
In New Zealand, the survey was conducted amongst Member of Parliament (Every-Palmer, Barry-Walsh, & Pathé, 2015), with the purpose to establish (1) the nature, frequency and severity of harassment of New Zealand MPs; (2) what impact this harassment had upon individual MPs; and (3) the likely contribution of mental illness. Out of 121, 102 responded and 87% percent of politicians reported unwanted harassment ranging from physical violence, with most experiencing harassment in multiple modalities and on multiple occasions. Cyberstalking and other forms of online harassment were common, and made politicians and their families to feel more exposed. Half of MPs had been personally approached by their harassers, 48% had been directly threatened and 15% had been attacked. Some of these incidents were serious, involving weapons such as guns, Molotov cocktails and blunt instruments. One in three politicians had been targeted at their homes. Respondents believed the majority of those responsible for the harassment exhibited signs of mental illness.
Bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment (BDSH) in the medical profession, particularly in surgery, were widely reported in a survey in college of intensive care medicine (ICU) of Australia and New Zealand (Venkatesh, et al., 2016). The overall prevalence of bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment were 32%, 12% and 3%, respectively. The proportions of Fellows and trainees who reported being bullied and discriminated against were similar across all age groups. Women reported a greater prevalence of sexual harassment (odds ratio [OR], 2.97 [95% CI, 1.35-6.51]; P = 0.006) and discrimination (OR, 2.10 [95% CI, 1.39-3.17]; P = 0.0004) than men. Respondents who obtained their primary medical qualification in Asia or Africa appeared to have been at increased risk of discrimination (OR, 1.88 [95% CI, 1.15-3.05]; P = 0.03). Respondents who obtained their degree in Australia, New Zealand or Hong Kong may have been at increased risk of being bullied. In all three domains of unprofessional behavior, the perpetrators were predominantly consultants (70% overall), and the highest proportion of these was ICU consultants.
In a pilot study conducted in Australia (Birinxhikaj & Guggisberg, 2017), it was found that sexual harassment can have severe impacts on victimised individuals’ health and wellbeing (Cortina & Berdahl, 2008; Glicken & Robinson, 2013; Hills & Joyce, 2012). Cortina and Berdahl’s (2008) systematic review of the literature found that physical health problems experienced as a result of sexual harassment in the workplace were chronic headaches, weight fluctuation, exhaustion, sleep problems, gastric problems, respiratory problems, nausea, musculoskeletal pain and cardiovascular problems. Mental health problems were reported as a result of sexual harassment in the workplace. Hills and Joyce (2013) conducted a meta-analysis using 21 journal articles published between 2000 and 2011 and found that victims of sexual harassment experienced a multitude of psychological consequences such as anxiety, stress, frustration, anger, and self-blame. Consequently, it is not surprising that sexual harassment was found to be responsible for high turnover intentions, counter productive work behaviours and job performance (Bowling & Beehr, 2006).
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