HR Management & Compliance, Talent

Stats About Sexual Harassment in the Workplace You Can’t Ignore

In the past year or so, in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, many organizations have been actively seeking ways to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. And over the past decade or so, statistics have revealed how deep-seated and pervasive sexual harassment is inside the workplace, regardless of one’s industry or profession.


Source: AndreyPopov / iStock / Getty

Here are some of the stats you can’t ignore when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace.

One-Fifth of American Adults Have Been Sexually Harassed at Work

According to one poll parsed by CNBC, 19% of adult Americans claim to have been sexually harassed inside the workplace. Ten percent of those adults who claim to have been sexually harassed inside the workplace before were men, and 27% were women.

Around 45% of EEOC’s Harassment Claims Are Sex-Based

In 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported that for the fiscal year 2015, nearly half of all the formal harassment complaints that it received were sex-based. Overall, most official complaints made with the EEOC are sexual harassment complaints, for both the private and the public sector.

81% of Women Have Experienced Sexual Harassment

While men have reported sexual harassment in the workplace and outside of the workplace, it’s more common for women to experience it in general during their lifetimes.
A recent study highlighted by National Public Radio found that 38% of women said that they have experienced sexual harassment at the workplace, and 35% said that they had experienced it at their residence. And a total of 81% of women reported that they have been sexually harassed during their lifetimes.

75% of Workplace Harassment Victims Experience Retaliation When They Speak Up

According to one study parsed by Vox, 75% of people who did speak out when they were harassed in the workplace experienced retaliation from their bosses or fellow colleagues.

Roughly 87% to 94% of Employees Experiencing Harassment Do Not File a Formal Complaint

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that when employees fear retaliation in the workplace, they are far less likely to officially report when they’re experiencing harassment.
In fact, studies parsed by the EEOC have discovered that only 6% to 13% of individuals who experience harassment at work file a formal complaint, while on average, anywhere from 87% to 94% of individuals choose not to file a formal complaint. And, it’s far less likely for someone to report sexual harassment than any other form of harassment experienced inside the workplace.
If you’re serious about combating sexual harassment inside your own organization, be sure to remember the statistics above as you develop your policies and programs.

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