How have things changed in the year since the #MeToo movement went viral?
A better question might be “how haven’t things changed?”
People around the world are discussing and reexamining their beliefs about and experiences with sexual harassment and assault. Stories related to the movement dominate the news. Those who have suffered harassment or assault feel more comfortable speaking up and taking action—as do their allies and supporters. Powerful individuals accused of misconduct have lost their jobs. Executives are changing their behavior at work. Legislators in states such as New York and California are passing #MeToo-inspired laws to hold employers to greater standards of accountability in the fight against workplace harassment.
Following the release of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s fiscal year 2018 report, we can add another item to that list: the EEOC just had one of its busiest years on record. Despite current vacancies at the Commission and general uncertainty about its role in the current administration, the EEOC is handling more harassment claims than ever before.
Take a look some of the highlights from the EEOC’s FY 2018 report:
Damages recovered by the EEOC totaled almost $70 million, up from $47.5 million in FY 2017.
Charges filed with the EEOC alleging sexual harassment also increased, by over 12%.
The EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits, 41 of which alleged sexual harassment—more than 50% above last year.
Overall, more than half (55%) of all EEOC filings this year alleged discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which protects employees against unfair treatment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), or national origin. Of those Title VII claims, the majority concerned sex or retaliation.