Is Sexual Harassment as Prevalent Today as in the Past?

Sexual Harassment has been around for dozens of generations, and probably much more.  However, in the far past (1940’s, etc.), no one spoke about this out loud, but in the days of Marilyn Monroe and even further back, it became known later of the actresses who were expected to be “interviewed on the sofa” (so to speak).  Unfortunately, these sexual advances and practices weren’t just in the movie industry.

(TIME Magazine: Nov. 2017)

One of the more public exposures to come about was when a woman, Anita Hill, a graduate of Yale Law School,  accused a federal supreme court judge nominee of sexual misconduct.  It is clearly unfair that those who were part these hearings automatically believed Judge Clarence Thomas and NOT Anita Hill.

Though you might think that our society has grown and become much wiser about Sexual Harassment, but we as a society still seem to believe that the men are the ones being honest. 

In today’s business world, sexual harassment still seems more apt to happen to a female victim, though some men have been known to face sexual harassment as well.  Below are some statistics that have a variety of different slants, plus more insight.

Concerns Over Sexual Harassment

  1. 64% of Americans see sexual harassment as a problem in this country.
  2. 88% of women have been harassed.
  3. 79% of victims are women, 21% are men.
  4. 27% experience harassment from a colleague.
  5. 17% experienced harassment from a superior.
  6. 12% received threats of termination if they did not comply with their requests.
  7. 66.6% of victims were not aware of the workplace policies regarding sexual harassment.
  8. 50.4% were not aware of what department or person should be contacted regarding the sexual harassment.
  9. 1 in 3 women ages 18 to 34 has been sexually harassed at work.
  10. 81% of women experience harassment in verbal form.

Top 5 Industries with Highest Sexual Harassment Incidents  (Money Magazine)

  1. Business, Trade, Banking, and Finance
  2. Sales and Marketing
  3. Hospitality
  4. Civil Service
  5. Education, Lecturing, and Teaching

How Common is Sexual Harassment?

The following data outlines recent percentages of the type of incidents that occur in the workplace regarding sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can occur with any sex and includes incidents of unwelcomed and unwanted verbal and physical force.

Is Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Still a Problem in this Day and Age?

The short answer: Yes.

Many people believe that sexual harassment in the workplace is a thing of the past; something that only occurred back in the Mad Men era of yesteryear.  But the reality is that sexual harassment in the employment setting is still remarkably prevalent, and may even be more common now in the technology age.  Sexual harassment is not limited to male employees harassing female employees; it can certainly go both ways.  More recently, same-sex sexual harassment has become a more common complaint, although this may be due to the changes in the interpretation of the employment discrimination laws.  While many employers have attempted to implement policies to better educate employees and prevent sexual harassment, the problem certainly persists. 

Another very interesting observation from the sexual harassment allegations at Fox News is the varying responses from political figures and members of the public.  As with allegations of sexual assault, there is oftentimes a sort of ‘blame the victim’ mentality.  That is why so many victims of sexual harassment are afraid to come forward.  Not only are they afraid that their story may not be believed, but in the workplace, they are fearful of retaliation and possibly losing a job. 

A new look at sexual harassment in the workplace  (USA TODAY)

The standard definition of sexual harassment, according to Title Seven of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, “is conduct that makes the workplace hostile to a reasonable person either because of the severity of a few incidents, or because of the pervasiveness of even less severe conduct,’’ says Catherine Fisk, a professor of labor and employment law at the University of California, Irvine.

Another reason sexual harassment is so pervasive is different perceptions of what it is. For those who are accused of it, “a lot of this is really a lack of understanding of how to behave in the workplace,’’ says Brascugli De Lima, the human resources consultant. “And what makes it difficult in some cases is what is harassing behavior to one person is not harassment to another. Most of these cases are not clear, bright lines. ‘’

For those who feel uncomfortable with a colleague’s behavior and want to report it, they should first follow their workplace’s protocols. They can also contact the EEOC or their state fair employment agency.

“High-profile cases certainly get people talking,’’ says the National Women’s Law Center’s Raghu, “and certainly starting a national conversation about these issues might make more people comfortable about coming forward and reporting what happened.’’

Some men who are celebrities known for sexual harassment include: Harvey Weinstein (Film Executive), Kevin Spacey (Actor), Roy Moore (Senator), Travis Kalnick (Uber CEO), Bill O’Reilly (Anchor), Bill Cosby (Actor/Comedien), etc.

So How Do Today’s Companies Address Sexual Harassment

Some companies have become aware that Compass Career Management Solutions, as a human resources-consulting firm, offers a variety of Workshops and Training, which can address specific human resources issues and questions.  Our programs are custom-designed to educate and provide insight and options on managing these difficult areas.  We have also been fortunate to help companies to approach these matters with sensitivity and to avoid any legal entanglements.  We provide insight on how to help individuals deal with such topics.  We bring together small groups in order to have healthy and productive exchanges. 

In recent times we have provided our “Positive Workforce Behavior” Workshop,   Not only do we arrange small groups for such discussions, but each group is encouraged to make everyone at ease before starting your first small group interaction.  These programs have proven to be instrumental in improving employee relations, which positively strengthening production, etc.

If your organization would find it beneficial, Compass Career Management Solutions is here and ready to help you and your organization grow and be more supportive.  Meanwhile visit our website:www.compasscareer.com.  Call with questions: 704-849-2500.

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