Stat of the Week: Sexual Harassment Charges and EEOC Outcomes
Do your employees think you’re serious about your anti-harassment policy?
We posed that question to attendees at our recent webinar about employment law trends. Here’s how our audience responded:
- 40% said, “Yes, we walk the walk and talk the talk.”
- 54% said, “Kind of—we have a policy and training, but we could do better.”
- The remaining 6% said, “Nope, our policy and culture are not aligned.”
I don’t know about you, but those weren’t the numbers I had hoped to see. Harassment, sexual and otherwise, is a profound issue: it not only harms the women and men who experience it, but drags down workplace culture and performance as a whole. No one wants to work at a company that “kind of” takes harassment seriously, right? (Not to mention that 6%…).
Well, here’s another reason to commit to a no-tolerance approach to harassment: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Last year, the EEOC represented claimants in 11,364 charges—take a look at how they panned out:
Please share if you know someone who would benefit from seeing these stats.
You’ll notice that over half of all sexual harassment charges in 2016 ended in a “No Reasonable Cause” determination, which means that the EEOC has “no reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred based upon evidence obtained in investigation.” There are plenty of reasons why this might happen: employees may misunderstand what constitutes sexual harassment, the investigation didn’t turn up enough evidence, or the system may generally favor respondents (who typically have greater legal resources than the charging party).
When you consider that 75% of people who experience sexual harassment don’t report it, the “No Reasonable Cause” figure seems to indicate a systemic problem rather than a bunch of opportunistic or vengeful non-victims. There’s so much to lose from even alleging sexual harassment that only a minute percentage of people would risk making a false claim.
But looking for reasons “why” is beside the point. The way I see it, you can expect the EEOC to get involved whether you believe an allegation has merit or not. And that means lowered morale, legal fees, and negative PR for your brand regardless of the eventual outcome of the case.
Don’t let your organization or your employees become another piece of data on a chart. You can find guidance and answers about ending workplace harassment in several of our latest articles and webinars.
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