Once, Twice, or Three Times as Harmful? Ethnic Harassment, Gender Harassment, and Generalized Workplace Harassment
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Despite scholars’ and practitioners’ recognition that different forms of workplace harassment often co-occur in organizations, there is a paucity of theory and research on how these different forms of harassment combine to influence employees’ outcomes. We investigated the ways in which ethnic harassment (EH), gender harassment (GH), and generalized workplace harassment (GWH) combined to predict target individuals’ job-related, psychological, and health outcomes. Competing theories regarding additive, exacerbating, and inuring (i.e., habituating to hardships) combinations were tested. We also examined race and gender differences in employees’ reports of EH, GH, and GWH. The results of two studies revealed that EH, GH, and GWH were each independently associated with targets’ strain outcomes and, collectively, the preponderance of evidence supported the inurement effect, although slight additive effects were observed for psychological and physical health outcomes. Racial group differences in EH emerged, but gender and race differences in GH and GWH did not. Implications are provided for how multiple aversive experiences at work may harm employees’ well-being.