It’s a sad truth, but workplace harassment is a practically universal experience. Although workers in certain industries report higher numbers of incidents, harassment is not limited to a specific sector or certain kind of organization. Big or small, blue-collar or white-collar, consumer-facing or not, any company can become an environment where people experience sexual harassment or another form of discrimination based on race, disability, age, religion, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
So it should come as no surprise that employees in all 50 US states filed harassment charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or a Fair Employment Practices Agency last year. What is perhaps surprising, however, is how those charges compare from state to state.
As you can see on the first map to the left, the EEOC and FEPA tend to receive more claims from workers in jurisdictions with larger portions of the population. Hundreds of charges originate in populous states such as New York, Texas, Florida, and California.
But if you slice these statistics another way—by examining the number of charges per person—you see a totally different story.
Take Nevada, for instance: less than 1% of the nation’s population lives in the Silver State, and yet more than 2% of all harassment charges are filed there.
Or look at Missouri, which is currently the 18th largest state in terms of population, but where the number of charges per person is highest, far exceeding ratios in neighboring jurisdictions.
California is another interesting one: less than 4% of all harassment charges are filed in the state where more than 12% of US residents live.
The takeaway? Don’t count on simple geography to manage your harassment risk. From Seattle to Miami, Honolulu, HI to Caribou, ME, every workplace should be vigilant in addressing and preventing harassment.
Fortunately, employers in all 50 states don’t have to face this all-too-common problem alone. Wherever you’re located, you’re invited to join us for our next webinar: Anti-Harassment Initiative Best Practices. Reserve your spot now by signing up here. (Can’t make the webinar? Sign up anyway, and we’ll send you a recording!)