EEOC sees increase in sexual harassment complaints

Workers in Tennessee and throughout the country are reporting sexual harassment more frequently, according to information released by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Since the #MeToo movement began in late 2017 with the exposure of multiple sexual assault and harassment complaints against Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, sexual harassment allegations have been filed more frequently with federal regulatory agencies. This has happened even as overall complaints of workplace discrimination and harassment on all grounds have gone down.

In the fiscal year for 2108, the EEOC saw a 13.6% increase of sexual harassment complaints over the year before with 7,609 reports filed with the federal agency. On the other hand, workers filed 76,418 overall allegations of harassment of all kinds, marking a 9.3% drop from the prior year. Experts note that this points to the continued problem with sexual harassment in a wide range of industries and work environments across the country. Despite increased attention and media awareness as well as a higher level of female executive presence, harassment and unwanted sexual approaches continue to be a significant workplace problem.

However, it also could point to a greater willingness to file complaints on the part of harassment victims. Estimates indicate that only around 15% to 20% of workers who are harassed file a complaint either inside their company or with a regulatory agency. With the increased attention to the problem that came with #MeToo, many companies launched sexual harassment training or policy reforms. This environment may encourage employees to speak up despite the fear of retaliation.

These numbers indicate that many people, especially women, continue to suffer career setbacks as a result of workplace discrimination and harassment. Individuals who have been victims of harassment at work can work with an attorney that specializes in employment law about their path to move forward and seek justice.

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