According to a recent Washington Post and ABC News poll, one in four women say that they have been sexually harassed in the workplace. Two in three Americans say that sexual harassment is a problem in the U.S. The realization that sexual harassment is a problem is an important step for employees and employers to raise awareness of the harm caused by sexual harassment.
National scandals including the news about presidential candidate Herman Cain’s alleged harassment is again bringing attention to the problem of sexual harassment. The trend, however, is a decline in the number of sexual harassment claims since the 1980s. While this is positive, it doesn’t mean that workplaces are free from sexual harassment.
The most recent changes in sexual harassment involve the technology used to harass. From computers, chat, email and texts, the court and sexual harassment laws have had to adapt to the growing modes of communication. Sexual harassment is increasingly done through technology, not face-to-face.
Same-sex harassment claims have grown in recent years, too. This change is likely due to the new laws regarding same-sex harassment and sexual orientation harassment. Women may harass other women and men may harass other men. This is illegal harassment in California and the law offers protections to anyone who is being harassed.
Source: Star Tribune, “Sex harassment neither gone nor forgotten,” Kristin Tollotson, 11/27/2011