Sexual harassment in the workplace is, unfortunately, still a widespread problem. It strongly affects not only the victim’s well-being, relationships, and productivity but the overall workplace environment. Therefore, many employers strive to educate their staff on the matter and integrate prevention strategies.
The term “sexual harassment” represents any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that makes the recipient feel humiliated, offended, or intimidated. The perpetrator doesn’t necessarily have to be of the opposite sex or higher up the employment ladder — even a customer can be a workplace harasser.
Let’s take a look into some detailed sexual harassment in the workplace statistics.
Sexual Harassment Data (Editor’s Choice)
- Over 35% of men have experienced sexual harassment in their workplace or school
- A coworker was involved in four in ten male abuse cases
- Over six in ten women find a lack of sensitivity to workplace harassment
- In 2019, employers paid more than $68 million for sexual harassment violations
- As per 86% of entertainment industry unions, sexual harassment is a real concern
- In the UK, nearly seven in ten LGBT people have faced sexual harassment at work
- Almost 40% of US women feel depressed or anxious due to sexual harassment
- Due to lost productivity, sexual harassment costs a company more than $1000 per victim
Alarming Workplace Harassment Statistics
These stats will show you the disturbing percentage of both women and men who have reported sexual misconduct. They would further help you gain valuable insight into what employees think about the issue.
1. 37% of men experienced sexual harassment in their place of work or school.
A US study into sexual harassment statistics by gender showed that it is the type of abuse most common for both men and women. Around 35% of men admitted they experienced sexual assault in public, and 37% admitted it happened to them in their place of work or school.
On the other hand, half of the women experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
2. 40% of men, who have experienced sexual harassment, reported a coworker.
Sexual harassment data show men experience abuse mostly in their workplace or school. Around 50% of them reveal a classmate was involved in at least one incident. When it comes to women, 65% reported harassment and assault by a stranger.
3. In 2019, over 60% of women thought people were not sensitive enough to sexual harassment in the workplace.
The #MeToo movement influenced the general sensitivity towards the topic of harassment. Sexual harassment at work statistics show that in 2019, 61% of women considered people to be lacking sensitivity to the problem.
That is a considerable development, as in 1998, 48% of women found people too sensitive to the issue.
4. In 2019, over 40% of men found people to be too sensitive to the problem of workplace sexual harassment.
The 2019 sexual harassment statistics show that men and women have a very different perspective on the matter. Interestingly enough, men become more and more convinced of the idea of oversensitivity. In 2019, 45% of the males asked thought people were too sensitive to the problem.
Statistics on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in Europe
A recent survey asked women whether they have experienced any form of sexual harassment at work in the past year. The responses were mind-blowing — over 30% of Spanish women and 20% of German confirmed. Such was the case with 17% of UK females, 18% of French, and 21% of Italian.
5. 7% of the women working in the UK have experienced indecent proposals and received messages with sexual connotations.
Female harassment in the workplace statistics reveal that 5% of women have been offered embarrassing gifts and invitations to locations that could put them in a compromising situation. Moreover, 4% received unsolicited texts, photos, and videos of sexual nature.
6. 13% of females in the UK have received suggestive looks, whistling, rude gestures, or comments in their place of work.
Sexual harassment of women in the workplace statistics also showed that 10% of women had to deal with embarrassing comments about their clothes or body. Another 5% experienced unwanted touching, kisses, and hugs. To make matters worse, 3% of them felt pressured to give sexual favors.
Industry-Specific Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Statistics
Research shows that over 40% of women have dealt with gender discrimination during their employment. So, even though both men and women suffer harassment, it appears that female workers are in a much worse position.
7. Over 75% of women founders in the technology industry experienced sexism in the workplace.
A study on sexism in the workplace statistics compared the results from surveys done in 2017 and 2020 worldwide. The analysis showed similar results for both years, revealing little progress in preventing sexism in the industry.
Furthermore, 24% of male founders dealt with sexism.
8. Over 40% of female founders experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
Women in the workplace statistics reveal that around 11% of female founders experienced stalking. For comparison, 12% of men in the same position fell victims to sexual harassment.
9. 86% of entertainment industry unions consider sexual harassment a genuine concern for the industry.
Over half of the sexual harassment perpetrators are people in higher positions, and 50% are coworkers.
10. 40% of entertainment industry unions report awareness of sexual misconduct in the workplace.
The entertainment sectors that suffer a prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace are live entertainment (53%), film and television production (25%), and broadcasting (18%).
11. Almost 35% of entertainment unions claimed they witnessed sexual harassment at their work.
Sexual harassment at work statistics also show that workplaces with less regulated and stable payment and contract duration have more harassment instances. In addition, victims and witnesses don’t report sexual harassment primarily due to fear of losing their jobs.
12. Military Services receive over 7000 reports of sexual assault every year.
(Department of Defense)
Sexual harassment reporting statistics in the US military show an increasing number of reports every year. The cases of men reporting sexual assault are also rising.
Military members feel encouraged to report the assault and sexual harassment due to a trusting relationship with their commanders.
LGBT Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Statistics
Sadly, the LGBT community is underrepresented in management positions. Research also shows that LGBT employees are usually paid less than their colleagues in the same jobs.
13. Almost 70% of LGBT people in the UK experienced sexual harassment at work.
The 2019 sexual assault and harassment in the workplace statistics for the LGBT community showed that over 40% of the participants received unwelcome comments or questions about their sex life. Furthermore, 27% suffered unsolicited verbal sexual advances.
14. 66% of the victims did not report the harassment to their bosses.
Over 10% of LGBT women have experienced severe sexual assault or rape in the workplace, but most incidents don’t get reported. LGBT male sexual harassment in the workplace statistics show that over 5% of men have been in the same situation.
The main reason why 25% of the survey participants chose not to report the incidents is fear of being “outed” at work.
Consequences of Workplace Sexual Harassment
Even though the percentage of assault victims who report the misconduct is relatively small, such charges can have severe consequences for both the perpetrator and the workplace where it occurred.
Let’s take a look at some stats on sexual harassment in the workplace and the aftermath of the incidents.
15. 38% of women in the US reported being anxious or depressed after experiencing sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment in the workplace statistics show that 14% of male victims admit feeling depressed or anxious after experiencing abuse.
16. 15% of women left their jobs after experiencing sexual harassment.
Employee turnover is among the costs of bullying in the workplace. Around 13% of men reported leaving their workplace after because of sexual harassment. However, less than 10% of the victims filed an official complaint.
17. Workplace sexual harassment statistics show that the loss of productivity due to abuse can cost a company over $1000 per victim.
To calculate that, researchers took into account short-term absences from work, reduced productivity due to the trauma, and increased staff turnover by both the victims and the perpetrators.
18. Over 6500 sexual harassment charges were pressed in the US in 2020.
Official EEOC sexual harassment statistics tell us that the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 1000 more charges in 2020 than in 2019. Unfortunately, Florida proves to be the unsafest state in that regard.
19. Employers paid over $68 million to people alleging sexual harassment violations in 2019.
As per stats on sexual harassment in the workplace, that was an increase of 20% from the year before, which by then, was the all-time record —$56.6 million. Moreover, there were over 1,860 LGBT discrimination claims filed in 2019.
20. Losing settlement lawsuits can cost businesses over $50,000 in damages.
The average settlement for workplace harassment depends on the severity of the assault, the available evidence, and the size of the business. Smaller companies are liable for $50,000 on average. More prominent organizations can lose much more money — damages could go up to $300,000.
Final Thoughts on Workplace Sexual Harassment
You might be discouraged after reading these sexual harassment in the workplace statistics. But, keep in mind that many companies nowadays are working on preventing and reducing the number of sexual harassment occurrences.
More and more companies are coming up with workshops, seminars, and lectures that teach employees how to be more mindful of that problem and the best ways to report it.
Most countries are further passing laws protecting employees in their workplace. So, if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation, make sure to report it.
People Also Ask
When it comes to regulations in the US regarding harassment in the workplace, the essential one is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It focuses on preventing workplace discrimination based on specific categories or traits, including race, color, origin, religion, and gender.
Title VII bans any form of sexual harassment against both women and men regardless of the harasser’s gender. State laws specify different kinds of misconduct and what legal options are at the victims’ disposal.
Any words or actions that are of a sexual nature and are unwelcome can be considered sexual harassment. Furthermore, anyone in distress due to those actions or words is a victim of harassment.
The answer depends on the severity of the crime. Sexual harassment is illegal, so harassers could face charges for their crimes.
However, the most significant number of harassment cases are civil suits. Therefore, most perpetrators are fined. But, in case of more serious misconduct, such as rape, molestation, or forcible touching of any kind, the harasser can face prison time.
Sometimes, making it clear that the comments or advances are unwelcome could be enough. Reporting to HR or a supervisor, however, is another recommended step the victim could take.
The employee can consult a lawyer and then go directly to the EEOC to press charges with the evidence on the harassment.
If you are unsure, you should know that any conduct that is unwelcome and against your will is harassment. As sexual harassment in the workplace statistics reveal, many people suffer not only actions but also words and propositions that are considered abuse.