Given the considerable legal implications of harassment and discrimination claims, the focus is often on the legal outcomes and consequences of these types of claims. However, there are a host of other ways these claims can impact victims.
Physical and mental health
Research shows that victims of harassment and discrimination can experience a range of mental and physical health issues as a result of the mistreatment. These issues can include:
- increased stress,
- difficulty sleeping,
- lower self-esteem,
- high blood pressure, and
- post-traumatic stress disorder.
These and other symptoms can be highly distressing. As a result, individuals may also struggle with poor eating habits or substance use to cope, which could exacerbate their mental and physical health problems.
There can also be a financial toll of workplace harassment and discrimination. In fact, some studies estimate that the financial costs and economic consequences to a victim of workplace harassment can range anywhere from hundreds of dollars to over $1 million over a lifetime. These costs can stem from:
- lost wages,
- lower earnings,
- missed employment opportunities,
- medical costs related to treating physical and mental damages,
- loss of benefits, and
- legal expenses.
The financial toll of mistreatment on the job may not always be immediately apparent, but it can be far more significant than individuals realize.
The damage that these behaviors have on a person’s employment opportunities and career can be dramatic. Poor treatment can cause victims to struggle with their performance or accept less than they deserve in terms of wages and benefits.
Further, victims can experience setbacks in their careers when they are denied the promotions they deserve or if they are wrongfully terminated. In some cases, victims can wind up leaving the workforce altogether.
The importance of getting the complete picture
Appreciating the full extent of the effect of harassment and discrimination at work on individuals can help employers and employees understand why it is so crucial to hold perpetrators accountable through lawsuits.
These claims are about more than monetary compensation: They are also about protecting a person’s health, career, and economic resources. Thus, talking to an attorney about the legal remedies can be vital for individuals subjected to workplace mistreatment.