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Sexual harassment by the numbers

Everyone can generally recognize sexual harassment in the workplace. There are some gray areas such as borderline jokes or casual conversations while at work. It is easy to cross the line however these intuitions do not mean much without some hard numbers to really understand the scope of the problem. Is it really as prevalent as the media says it is? Is it overblown? This article hopes to shed some light on this sensitive topic.

At present, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website contains data compiled up to 2011. The EEOC is the agency to which you would submit a sexual harassment complaint against your employer. The EEOC will then investigate the claim and bring any lawsuits if needed. The EEOC tracks how many complaints were filed and how they were resolved. In 2011, there were 11,364 complaints filed. This contrasts with 1997, the earliest year available for data on the website, which received 15,899. The general trend is that sexual harassment in the workplace is on the decline, but not a free fall.

Of those 11,364 complaints, the EEOC ruled that 53 percent of them had no reasonable cause. This means that it investigated the company and the complaint and determined there was insufficient proof to believe that sexual harassment had occurred. However, this contrasts with $52 million recovered for the victims with meritorious claims. This illustrates that the EEOC takes these claims seriously and will work to try to ensure that the victim is properly compensated. So, compared to the entire workforce, the EEOC does not resolve many sexual harassment disputes. But, when it does, it fights are for your rights.

If you believe that you may have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, then you may want to speak to an employment attorney. Sexual harassment is a complex and emotionally fraught matter to contend with. It takes an attorney that puts special attention into your needs as a person to manage it delicately. Take the time to sit down and speak with an attorney before you decide to retain them. The numbers are getting better but they are not great, you deserve to be heard.

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