How Prevalent Is Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
by cjleclaire
 Stephen Hans Blog
Oct 17, 2016 | 16173 views | 0 0 comments | 610 610 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

As an employer, being knowledgeable about sexual harassment and the types of challenges you can potentially face is to your advantage. With proper insight, you can take preventative measures against having harassment arise in your work environment.

EEOC Study on Sexual Harassment

In 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received an estimated 28,000 charges that alleged sexual harassment from employees who worked for private employers or state or local government employers.

Of all the harassment charges filed, the greatest percentage (45%) was based on sex.

Other discrimination harassment incidents broke down percentage-wise as follows:

  • Racial — 34%
  • Disability — 29%
  • Age — 15%
  • National Origen— 13%
  • Religious — 5%

Sexual Harassment Definition and Examples

The EEOC did not limit its investigation to workplace discrimination that would be legally actionable because it geared the study to understanding why the behavior was occurring and sought to come up with preventative strategies. The study considered unwelcome or offensive workplace conduct based on sex (sexual orientation, pregnancy and gender identity), race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability and/or genetic information. It also considered behavior that was detrimental to an employee’s work performance, professional advancement and/or mental health.

Examples included (but were not limited to): offensive jokes, slurs, name calling, undue attention, physical assaults or threats, unwelcome touching or contact, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, constant or unwelcome questions about an individual’s identity and offensive objects or pictures.

Study Findings

The EEOC Select Task Force discovered that women who experienced sexual harassment ranged from 25% to 85%. The main difference in responses was because some workers did not label the experience as “sexual harassment.” However, when behavior examples were used, the incident rate rose to 75%. Some examples described a sexual advance and other behaviors pointed to sexually crude terminology or displays (posting pornography for example). The two categories broke down into behavior that was a “come on” or a “put down.” With these types of examples, close to 60% of the women surveyed reported they had experienced harassment.

Based on these statistics, every business should be concerned about preventing sexual harassment.

Stephen Hans & Associates is an employment litigation firm that has assisted small and medium sized businesses with employment law for more than 20 years.

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