Far too many California employees are subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. The behavior interferes with making a living, and victims are usually afraid to report it because they are unsure about how their superiors or human resources will handle the situation. This is possibly why some sexual harassment statistics are so depressing according to a variety of polls and research.
In 2014, the Restaurant Opportunities Center issued a report on the epidemic that sexual harassment poses for female waitresses. It surveyed 688 women who previously or currently worked for tips and found that 90 percent of them felt forced to do and say things that would earn their customers’ favor. This often meant dealing with any inappropriate behavior that their customers displayed.
Cosmopolitan magazine took a poll of 2,235 women in February 2015 and found that one-third of female workers aged 18 to 34 have encountered sexual harassment during their careers. In a survey that Fast Company took at the South by Southwest conference in March 2016, 60 percent of the women who responded said that they have experienced unwanted sexual advances in the workplace.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics has reported that more than 43,000 assaults and rapes happen in work environments every year. However, it is likely that this number is even higher because of the many people who do not report these incidents. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that 70 percent of women who are sexually harassed at work do not report it because they are afraid of personal and professional retaliation.
Although most workers who experience sexual harassment are women, men are also victims. Federal and state laws protect employees from sexual harassment no matter their gender. People who are subjected to hostile work environments and who have exhausted their remedies with their employer may want to have legal assistance in filing a claim with the EEOC.