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Nearly one-third of female doctors report sexual harassment

Category: Hostile Work Environment, Sexual Harassment

Some California female doctors may be among the 30 percent that researchers say have faced sexual harassment on the job. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was based on a survey of 1,066 male and female doctors who were asked about their experiences including gender bias and inappropriate sexual advances. In contrast, only 4 percent of males reported sexual harassment. All of the participants had received an award from the National Institute of Health for career development.

Almost half of the women who said they had experienced harassment also said it affected their advancement, and nearly 60 percent said it affected their confidence. One of the study authors said that although older studies showed high levels of sexual harassment in the profession, she had expected lower numbers due to the growing parity in the field.

The researcher said that unconscious bias and more blatant forms of sexual harassment in the workplace would require further work to eliminate. She called for a greater effort to assist people in reaching their potential.

There may be a number of reasons that a person hesitates to report sexual harassment on the job. Despite the laws that protect a victim, there could still be subtle or blatant career repercussions. People who have been experiencing sexual harassment at work or who believe that they have faced employer retaliation as a result of reporting the behavior may want to consult an attorney to see what recourse is available. Employees may not always know their rights or realize that laws protect them against harassment by clients or customers as well as by their co-workers or supervisors.

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