Study finds drop in workplace sexual harassment

Some women in Tennessee might be facing less sexual harassment in the workplace than in recent years, but they may be facing greater discrimination. These were the findings of a study conducted by University of Colorado researchers in the Leeds School of Business.

Hundreds of women were polled in September 2016 and then again two years later. In that time, there was a substantial drop in harassment, including such behaviors as staring and fondling. In 2016, 66% of women said they had experienced unwanted sexual attention while in 2018 just 25% said they had. 

The quarter of women who reported sexual coercion in 2016 dropped to 16% in 2018. However, in 2016, 76% of women said they had experienced sexism and sexist remarks. In 2018, that number had risen to 93%. Another study found that offices are updating sexual harassment policies.

Researchers say that the workplace effects of the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements are complex. Complaints about sexual harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission increased 14% from 2017 to 2018. However, this does not necessarily indicate a rise in actual incidents. It is possible that women are more willing to report as a result of those movements. According to an attorney at the EEOC, sexual harassment incidents are only reported between 15% and 20% of the time.

People who are facing sexual harassment in the workplace or other workplace discrimination may want to consult an attorney to ensure that they understand their rights. This may be helpful even if the employee initially wants to try to go through workplace channels to address the harassment.

An attorney may be able to explain how the employee might best approach this as well as provide help if the workplace does not investigate the harassment or retaliates against the employee.

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