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Promoting respect as a solution to workplace harassment

Kathrina Robotham (Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)
Lilia Cortina (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 24 September 2019

Issue publication date: 18 May 2021




Despite organizational policies aimed at harassment prevention, harassment based on gender and ethnicity remains pervasive in places of work. Although previous research has identified other antecedents such as harassment climate, the purpose of this paper is to consider whether a climate of respect leads to reductions in identity-based harassment.


In a military sample of active duty men and women (Study 1) and a sample of working adults (Study 2), the authors use survey methods to test whether a climate of respect predicts the occurrence of two forms of identity-based abuse: sexual harassment (Study 1) and ethnic harassment (Study 2).


The authors find that a climate of respect uniquely predicts harassment based on sex and ethnicity, above and beyond effects of climate for harassment.


These results suggest that, while traditional harassment prevention efforts remain important for deterring identity-based harassment, promotion of a respectful work environment is also an effective tool.



Robotham, K. and Cortina, L. (2021), "Promoting respect as a solution to workplace harassment", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 40 No. 4, pp. 410-429.



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