We Protect Workers

How pervasive is workplace sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment at work is something that often goes unreported. In some cases, people may not know how serious it was and if they can report it. In others, they may know that it’s very serious and still feel nervous that reporting it will be more trouble than it’s worth. For any reason, when cases are not reported, it seems as if harassment is less common than it is. No matter how many stories you do hear and even if it feels like harassment is constantly in the news, rest assured that it is happening even more often than you know.

To get a sense of this, studies have tried to determine how many people report that they have been harassed, even if they didn’t make official complaints or take legal action. One survey found that over eight out of every 10 women working in the United States has been harassed at some point. Some 43% of men reported that they’d been sexually harassed at work.

Sexual harassment encompasses a wide variety of behavior

You have clear cases of supervisors asking for sexual favors and things of this nature, but there are many more. For instance, a coworker could relentlessly pester a woman for a date, or they could tell the female worker that her efforts are subpar simply because she is not a man. Sexual harassment doesn’t always have to revolve around sex itself, but around gender issues.

If this has happened to you, you are not alone and you do have legal options. It’s wise to seek guidance to find out what those are.