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Almost two-thirds of scientists say they were sexually harassed

Sexual harassment is a degrading and embarrassing action that leaves the victim feeling uncomfortable at work. One of the most upsetting elements of some sexual harassment incidents is that the offender is a supervisor. They may use their workplace clout to try to curry sexual favors from an individual who works for them, and they may even say that their job depends on it, or that if they perform the sexual act they will get a promotion.

These are truly nefarious actions and the offending employee deserves to be held accountable for his or her behavior.

However, sometimes the sexual harassment won't be as blatant as we outlined above. It can be as "minor" as a tasteless email or an inappropriate comment. These things can still affect other employees, and it can lead to a disrupted and uncomfortable work atmosphere.

With this in mind, consider the many fields of science out there. These are very intelligent people who are working hard to learn and discover new things. And yet, they appear to be just as prone to sexually harassing behavior as anyone else.

A new study found that roughly 64 percent of the respondents to a sexual harassment survey -- specifically handed out to scientists in numerous fields -- said they had been sexually harassed before, and a staggering 20 percent said they had been sexually assaulted at work. These are scary and unacceptable figures. No one should have to fear going into work, regardless of whether they are working in the sciences or at a fast food restaurant. We all have a right to a safe and pleasant working environment.

Source: Washington Post, "Study: Young female scientists face sexual harassment, assault while in the field," Caelainn Hogan, July 17, 2014

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