Cases of sexual harassment have been widely reported in the media that involve politicians, celebrities and media personalities. While headlines constantly seem to emerge, sexual harassment is not limited to just the rich and famous. Research demonstrates that sexual harassment happens very frequently and in all industries. A majority of sexual harassment claims happen outside of public attention.
New data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involving private sector charges of sexual harassment shows that more than 25 percent of the charges originate from industries with large numbers of service workers. Almost 75 percent of the charges also include retaliation claims that are filed with the charges or later during the investigation. Employees are able to file charges with the EEOC when they are the victims of sexual harassment. In 2016, almost 33 percent of the charges that were filed with the EEOC was based on some type of harassment, and nearly half involved sexual harassment. From 2005 to 2015, more than 85,000 charges based on sexual harassment were filed with the EEOC across industries. The greatest number of claims originated from the food services and accommodation industries followed by the retail industry. Finally, manufacturing and healthcare rounded out the top five.
Food services and accommodation
Food services, including both fast food and full-service restaurants, together with accommodations made up 14.2 percent of the charges that were filed. A majority of the workers in these industries are female, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Recently, a survey of fast-food restaurant workers revealed that 50 percent of the males and 66 percent of the females had been sexually harassed by their managers. Seventy percent of the men and 80 percent of the women were sexually harassed by co-workers. Eighty percent of the women and 55 percent of the men reported sexual harassment by customers.
The retail industry made up 13.4 percent of the charges of sexual harassment. This industry includes florists, grocery stores, department stores, drug stores, gas stations and other retailers. Many of the lower-paying retail jobs are held by women.
Women make up a small percentage of the workforce within manufacturing. The BLS reports that women account for under 30 percent of manufacturing workers. Because women in manufacturing work in male-dominated jobs, they may be viewed as outsiders and targeted for harassment.
Health care and social assistance
Social assistance and health care cover a range of different jobs. Many of the jobs are held by women and some are low paying. For example, 89 percent of home health aides are female, and they work in settings in which they can be vulnerable.
Most sexual harassment charges are filed by women
During the 10-year period from 2005 to 2015, 80 percent of the charges were filed by women. Men also experience sexual harassment at work, however. The information shows the need for employees and employers to undergo extensive training to help to prevent sexual harassment regardless of the gender.
In addition, most of the charges also include claims of retaliation. In 2016, 72 percent of the charges that were filed included retaliation claims. This shows that people who complain about sexual harassment are often retaliated against in an effort to prevent them from complaining.
Contact the experienced lawyers at Swartz Swidler
Sexual harassment is pervasive across industries. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment or of retaliation for complaining about it, contact the experienced lawyers at Swartz Swidler. You can also complete our contact form, and we will contact you shortly.