Sexually inappropriate comments rife in US workplaces

The number of sexually inappropriate comments in US workplaces rocketed last year, according to an annual survey.

Research by consultancy Novations Group of 546 workers found such remarks were heard by 38% of women in 2007, up from 22% in 2006.

The increase, however, was not noticed by their male colleagues – 45% reported such comments in 2007, which was almost the same percentage as 2006.

Improper sexual comments continued to be the most common type of remark, followed by racial and ethnic slurs, which were reported by 35% and 33% of respondents respectively.

Novations chief executive and president Mike Hyter said: “The big jump is hard to explain unless it’s also a matter of reporting, and that women are becoming more sensitive or impatient in this respect.

“Any type of wisecrack, taunt or ridicule can threaten another’s self-respect or sense of safety at work. Unchecked, harassment can undermine productivity and lead to all sorts of problems,” he added.

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