New York employees who have been sexually harassed in the workplace might take solace in the increased attention and scrutiny to put a stop to it. Research indicates that there has been a reduction in sexual harassment on the job since the #MeToo movement gained prominence. Still, the news is not completely positive as research shows that gender harassment increased in the two years since the #MeToo movement. Those who are still facing sexual harassment or are now dealing with gender harassment should remember they might have the right to file employment claims because of it.
A study from the University of Colorado says that women reported a reduction in sexual harassment from 2016 to 2018. This reduction directly coincided with the #MeToo movement. More than 500 women took part in a survey in September 2016 and again two years later. They stated that various forms of harassment including unwanted looks, touches and general attention had reduced in that time. 25% said they received this type of attention in 2018. 66% said the same in 2016. There was a reduction in sexual coercion to 16% in 2018 compared to 25% in 2016.
However, gender harassment, including sexist comments and sexism in general, rose to 93% of women stating they experienced it. Before, it was at 76%. With the #MeToo movement, women were more willing to report sexual harassment as they had a greater awareness of what sexual harassment was and the behaviors it encompassed. The study might appear to contradict the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which said there was a 14% increase in sexual harassment allegations in 2018 when compared the 2017. However, it does not automatically mean there was an increase in the behavior. It could signify a greater willingness to report it.
Workplaces are showing greater vigilance toward sexual harassment. 51% of companies across the nation stated they were examining and altering their policies as needed. 72% created updates. 20% said their workplaces showed more respect from the outset of the #MeToo movement. The increase in sexism is believed to be due to men feeling fearful of sexual harassment allegations when they are alone with women or mentoring them.
Despite increased attention and oversight, sexual harassment is still a problem in the U.S. Those who are dealing with unwelcome sexual advances, comments, sexual coercion, touching and more should remember their employee rights. A law firm with experience in employment law for employees and with a history of helping workers who have been sexually harassed can explain how to proceed with a claim for compensation.