After the #MeToo movement drew attention to issues of sexual harassment in the workplace, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) signaled it would increase enforcement of sexual harassment claims. Now, data released by the agency reveals a dramatic increase in enforcement in 2018.
Here are some of the key statistics:
- The EEOC filed more than 50 percent more lawsuits alleging sexual harassment than in 2017, totaling 41.
- Charges filed with the EEOC alleging sexual harassment increased 13.6 percent over 2017.
- The EEOC successfully resolved 498 charges alleging harassment, which was a 43 percent increase over 2017.
- The EEOC recovered nearly $70 million for victims of sexual harassment in 2018, an increase of more than $22 million from the year before.
- Traffic to the sexual harassment pageof the EEOC website increased by more than 50 percent in 2018.
As part of this increased enforcement, the EEOC also developed tools to help both employees and employers combat sexual harassment. The “What to Do if You Believe You Have Been Harassed at Work” guide helps employees understand their rights and provides information about how to file a charge of harassment with the EEOC. For employers, the “Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment” guide helps businesses develop leadership and accountability, a comprehensive and effective harassment policy and effective policies and compliant systems. The commission also held more than 1,000 outreach events and revised its own internal sexual harassment policies.
Employers should expect increased enforcement to continue in 2019. Sexual harassment continues to be a hot topic, with several states, including New York, updating or passing new legislation governing the types of policies and training employers need to have in place.
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