Despite clear laws designed to prevent it, workplace sexual harassment is a serious problem that continues to plague the American workforce. Here are 5 scary facts from the American work environment from reputed sources analyzing the pervasive issue impacting workers everywhere:


50% of Workplace Harassment Falls Under Sexual Harassment

This Hicox study found that when compiling all workplace harassment data, gender and sex composed practically half of it. Sexual harassment was defined as offensive and sexual remarks or comments, unwelcomed sexual advances and physical harassment. The survey also showed that over a third of workers in general feel they have been harassed at their workplace in one way or another. Among women specifically, the figure is significantly higher as it tallies up from 1 to 3 to 1 to 4 across various studies.


38% of All Women Said They’ve Experienced Sexual Harassment at Work

According to the findings, one in four women has been sexually harassed at work. One in six respondents said they had been assaulted at home. These incidents are more likely to be assaults and “most serious” forms of harassment, according to Anita Raj, director of the Center on Gender Equity and Health at the University of California, San Diego.

Sexual harassment has typically been considered a component of what individuals go through. Raj contends that “as a result, public health researchers have neglected it. Because it isn’t as bad as sexual assault or rape, it’s often been overlooked.” While other studies show that 1 in 4 women undergo sexual harassment in general, the fact that more go through it at work according to this study says a lot. Anita Raj continues her research at UCSD to get even more accurate data of an already grim picture.


71% of Female Restaurant Employees Experienced Sexual Harassment, a non-profit group that researches and advocates for better work environments for service workers, recently launched a study that showed an alarming rate of sexual harassment in the service and food industry. About half of the studied group chose not to submit a report or complaint regarding the harassment. About a third claimed they simply didn’t know who to report it to, another common issue in the workplace, and others feared retribution, problems, issues or creating “a fuss” as one person put it.

Even if a victim reports the attack, they may still be extremely vulnerable to retaliation — from enraged and vengeful offenders, as well as coworkers who take their side and/or supervisors and managers who don’t want “the hassle” of resolving it. Retaliation is illegal in California under Labor Code section 230(e) which, granted that the employee has given notice to a supervisor, “prohibits an employer from discharging or retaliating against an employee because of his or her status as a victim of crime or abuse.” Regardless, a lot of the surveyed persons simply did not know their rights or feared retribution regardless. Kirakosian Law has helped many victims of retaliation in the past. You can get more info by contacting us directly. We’d love to help if you have found yourself in this scenario.

75% of Cases Go Unreported

A Vox article following the Harvey Weinstein scandal cited an study that showed a frightening statistic: 75% of sexual harassment cases go unreported. Harvey Weinstein, for example, would threaten up-and-coming actresses’ careers if they refused to meet with him, or submit negative stories about them in the press to taint their reputations. These methods are intended to isolate and silence victims.

When individuals do come forward, it’s usually when others around them have done so as “strength in numbers” helps encourage it. When some of Weinstein’s accusers went public, more followed. Formal reporting was the “least popular reaction” among men and women who had experienced workplace harassment, according to the EEOC study. Some industries are definitely more affected than others but in general the situations seem to be similar across the board, study to study.


1 in 4 Women Experience Sexual Harassment, a workplace and hiring data aggregator, ran various surveys and studies that showed that, in general and on average, approximately 1 in 4 women experience sexual harassment across various industries. The study was answered by over 10,000 people across all industries and showed some alarming figures.

1 in 4 women across all industries in a study of thousands said yes to the question, “Have you ever been sexually harassed at work?”

Men also face sexual harassment in the workplace. According to a Washington Post poll, 10% of males have experienced sexual misconduct at work. This aligns with the comparably data that shows a little under 8%. Between 1990 and 2009, reports by the EOCC show that male employees experiencing workplace sexual assault have almost doubled in some industries, from 8% to 16%.


Why Does the Data Vary and How To Interpret It?

When it comes to workplace sexual harassment, no two studies will align perfectly. However, the variances in many surveys and polls done by both government institutions and advocate groups vary, for the most part, by single digits. What does this mean? It means that workplace sexual harassment is a real thing and is happening every day across various industries.

Some industries, like the food and service environment, tend to have higher numbers while others, the medical field for example, tend to have lower ones. Factors like age, education and region definitely impact the data and it helps one understand why a younger, lower education demographic in one industry would have more incidents than the medical field. That being said, the averages and the presence of workplace sexual harassment is constant across practically every industry.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual misconduct in or out of your place of employment, don’t leave it to chance or live with doubts. Give us a call or send us a message via chat and we’ll get back to you. The first conversation is short, the peace of mind of know what is what is impactful – whatever the outcome.