When there’s an inequality between seniority, issues of discrimination and harassment become much more serious. A supervisor’s comments and behavior toward a subordinate can weigh more heavily than comments between equally senior employees. This is because supervisors have a degree of power over their subordinates.
Employees may feel compelled not to complain because they don’t want to jeopardize their chances at promotion or risk their jobs for bringing accusations against their boss. They may fear retaliation: that they’ll get less favorable hours, or the desk away from the window, or a transfer to a less desirable location, if they complain.