Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
#MeToo, represents the social media stand of solidarity among women who have experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault. The hashtag gained traction earlier this week on the heels of the numerous sexual harassment allegations against the powerful film producer Harvey Weistein.
On Sunday, actress and producer Alyssa Milano, at the suggestion of a friend, tweeted:
“[I]f all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me Too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem."
And, boy did it ever! Hundreds of social media users across platforms started writing “Me Too” on their statuses. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines “sexual harassment” as harassing a person –an applicant or employee –because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
While sexual harassment in the workplace is not a new phenomenon, it gained serious media attention in 1991 when Anita Hill accused then U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Clarence Thomas, of sexual harassment.
According to a study done by Cosmopolitan Magazine (a popular women’s magazine), in 2015, approximately 1 in 3 women, between the ages of 18 to 34, have been sexually harassed at work.
Even still, 16 percent of women said “No” when asked whether they had been sexually harassed at work, but said “Yes” when asked whether they had experienced explicit or sexist remarks.
There are multiple ways an individual can experience sexual harassment. Here are some examples:
- Harassment in Verbal Form –approximately 81% of women have reported experiencing verbal harassment, such as being called a ‘slut.’
- Unwelcome Advances – approximately 44% of women reported experiencing unwanted touching or sexual advances.
- Harassment in Writing – approximately 25% of women reported receiving lewd text or email messages.
Sexual harassment is a serious offense that can cause extreme discomfort and create a hostile work environment. Victims often feel like they do not have a voice or that they will be fired or “blackballed” if they speak up.
There are steps that you can take if you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Contact an experienced litigation attorney at Susan E. Loggans & Associates for more information about your legal rights and protections regarding sexual harassment.