The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reminds employees and employers alike that sexual harassment in the workplace violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The EEOC keeps detailed records concerning charges of sexual harassment, noting that incidents increased after one famous movement took place.
The EEOC recognizes that many employees are unsure of their position with regard to incidents of sexual harassment and are uncomfortable with the idea of reporting the problem to management. For example, an employee who experiences unwelcome advances or touching from a coworker might be afraid of retaliation if she takes the issue to her supervisor.
In 2016, a report from the EEOC showed that it is common for sexual harassment to go unreported. One study within the report found that 90% of people who said they were victims of sexual harassment never filed a complaint or a charge, which makes the goal of reducing this kind of behavior difficult. Still, incidents that were reported increased. In 2018, 7,609 sexual harassment charges came into the EEOC as compared with 6,696 in 2017.
Acknowledging the #MeToo movement
The #MeToo movement left a strong impression both in the U.S. and globally. After the movement went viral in 2017, sexual harassment incidents increased. Between 2018 and 2021, the EEOC received 98,411 charges concerning any type of harassment. Of these, 27,291 charges were sexual harassment allegations. In this period, through litigation and resolved charge receipts, the EEOC recovered almost $300 million for people who filed sexual harassment claims. Although anyone can experience this kind of aggression or intimidation, it is not surprising to note that women filed 62.2% of all harassment charges.