Despite the #MeToo movement and the increased spotlight on sexual harassment, employees in California are still at risk on the job. The acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission noted that the federal agency deals with large numbers of sexual harassment complaints and can be nearly overwhelmed with the frequency of these issues. She noted that harassment continues to be a persistent, pervasive problem in many American workplaces, despite awareness-raising efforts and media exposure.
Following the widespread attention to sexual harassment in industries like news and filmmaking, the EEOC noted that human resources departments have a major role to play in reducing the risk of harassment in the workplace. According to the EEOC, employee training can play a major role in decreasing incidents of harassment. In June 2016, the EEOC released a report on workplace harassment, noting that there are three principles that employers can enforce. These include introducing firm guidelines on how workers treat one another, promoting bystander intervention and enhancing employee education.
In a 2017 study of executives, 24 percent said that they were now more careful about their workplace conduct; 16 percent said that they avoided inappropriate jokes while 9 percent said that they now refrain from touching employees at work. The EEOC chair also noted that more employers have sought out training materials from the agency. Despite the attention, 70 percent of respondents to one study said that they were themselves subject to unwanted sexual behavior on the job or witnesses to the harassment of others.
Unfortunately, some companies foster an environment in which sexual harassment flourishes. An employee who has been subjected to workplace harassment can consult with an employment lawyer. The attorney can file an appropriate complaint and take legal action to fight for the client’s rights.