Workplace sexual harassment by the numbers

| Dec 21, 2020 | employment law |

Workers should never have to face any sort of discrimination on the job, but the sad truth is that they often do. Sexual harassment is a common form of workplace discrimination that can make a worker feel humiliated, unsafe or depressed. The recent “Me Too” movement highlighted the fact that this is a problem in many different types of workplaces that the world can no longer ignore.

A recent study conducted by a think tank reported several surprising statistics about workplace sexual harassment. Those findings reinforce several facts you likely already knew about this subject, but there is still much to learn. If you are concerned about sexual harassment at your North Carolina job, these results may help guide you to your next steps.

What the numbers show

It probably comes as no surprise that women are much more likely to experience sexual harassment at work. However, women perpetrate sexual harassment more often than you may think, with 13% of female respondents and 68% of male respondents who say they experienced harassment from a woman. This doesn’t let men off the hook, as men were harassers for 97% of female victims and 57% of male victims. Even less surprising, non-white people and non-heterosexual people were more often victims of harassment.

You might think that this harassment always comes from specific people or only in certain industries. A common scenario may be someone in a senior position abusing an underling, and while that is certainly the truth a majority of the time, it’s not an absolute. Subordinates harassed 16% of female victims and 22% of male victims. Even when looking at the types of industries with the highest reports of sexual harassment, both men and women who work in media are the most likely to experience harassment.

The impacts of sexual harassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment affects more than just the safety of victims. For example, having a witness to harassment may not be a guarantee that it won’t occur. Less than a third of workers say they have reported sexual harassment of a coworker. The fears of retaliation may extend to witnesses as well as victims, which can cause many workers to disengage and reduce company morale. Another regrettable effect is that men may feel more reluctant to mentor or champion fellow female workers, hurting their chances of career advancement.

No matter what, no employee should ever have to suffer in silence as a victim of sexual harassment. If you’ve experienced any kind of workplace discrimination, you have legal rights of which you may be unaware. Discussing your options with an attorney may be the first step to standing up for yourself.