• Introduction
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
Sexual Harassment & Violence

Research & Articles

Research (2018)

Harassment-Free Workplace Series: A Focus on Sexual HarassmentSociety for Human Resource Management (SHRM), January 31, 2018

With increased attention on sexual harassment in the workplace, organizations have begun to reassess and revise their sexual harassment policies. Many HR professionals believe they have a clear picture of what is happening in their organization. However, much of the sexual harassment that employees experience or observe goes unreported. In addition, employees may be unaware of their organization’s sexual harassment policy, even though many organizations have policies in place.

To help organizations address the serious issue of workplace harassment, SHRM launched its year-long research initiative, the Harassment-Free Workplace Series. The first part of this series focuses on the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace.

How To Hold Employers Accountable During The #TimesUp and #MeToo Movements, Forbes, January 26, 2018

During her Golden Globes speech, Oprah Winfrey famously declared “‘a new day is on the horizon” for women and girls. As this powerful message and the sexual harassment legal defense fund Time’s Up gain traction, the Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence initiative of the DC-based non-profit Futures Without Violence is tackling sexual harassment at its core—company culture.

If 2017 showed us anything, it’s that a company’s standard reaction of firing a harasser as soon as a news outlet discloses allegations doesn’t address that organization’s systemic problem. Yes, the harasser needs to be accountable; so does the employer.

Articles (2018)

When Harassment Is the Price of a Job, The Nation, February 7, 2018

This is the bind that so many women who work in the country’s bars and restaurants find themselves in: The jobs are relatively easy to secure, offer a creative, unconventional work environment, and can even net them a sizable income. But far too often, that culture and that income are tied to putting up with sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is a fact of life for far too many women across the economy, with about 60 percent saying they’ve experienced it. But the food-service industry is in a category all its own. In interviews with The Nation, many industry veterans struggled with how to describe the harassment or even where to begin, given how pervasive it was. (Several of the women whose stories are recounted below are referred to by first name only, due to privacy concerns.) Asking them to talk about it was like asking a fish to describe water. For the people who serve us dinner and drinks, it’s all but a way of life.

Research (2017)

#MeTooWhatNext: Strengthening Workplace Sexual Harassment Protections and Accountability, National Women’s Law Center, December 21, 2017

This is a critical moment to advance key policy initiatives to better protect workers, promote accountability, and prevent harassment. These initiatives, which many states have already implemented or begun to explore, would expand protections to greater numbers and types of workers, improve victims’ ability to hold employers and individual harassers accountable, redress victims’ harm by improving recovery of monetary damages, restrict employers’ efforts to impose secrecy regarding harassment, and emphasize prevention strategies. 

The Cost of Sexual Harassment, Gender & Society, June 7, 2017

How many women quit and why?  Combining survey and interview data, our study shows how sexual harassment affects women at the early stages of their careers. Eighty percent of the women in our sample who reported either unwanted touching or a combination of other forms of harassment changed jobs within two years. Among women who were not harassed, only about half changed jobs over the same period. In our statistical models, women who were harassed were 6.5 times more likely than those who were not to change jobs. This was true after accounting for other factors – such as the birth of a child – that sometimes lead to job change. In addition to job change, industry change and reduced work hours were common after harassing experiences.

Articles (2017)

How Tough Is It to Change a Culture of Harassment? Ask Women at Ford, New York Times, December 19, 2017

The jobs were the best they would ever have: collecting union wages while working at Ford, one of America’s most storied companies. But inside two Chicago plants, the women found menace.

Bosses and fellow laborers treated them as property or prey. Men crudely commented on their breasts and buttocks; graffiti of penises was carved into tables, spray-painted onto floors and scribbled onto walls. They groped women, pressed against them, simulated sex acts or masturbated in front of them. Supervisors traded better assignments for sex and punished those who refused.

This Moment Isn’t (Just) About Sex. It’s Really About Work, The Cut, December 10, 2017

It would be easy — a hard kind of easy — to understand the painful news happening all around us to be about sexual assault. After all, for weeks now, each day has brought fresh, lurid tales. And if our typically prurient American interests have led us to focus on the carnal nitty-gritty, the degree of sexual harm sustained, the vital questions of consent, that’s fair enough; there has been, we are really absorbing for the first time, a hell of a lot of sexual damage done.

But in the midst of our great national calculus, in which we are determining what punishments fit which sexual crimes, it’s possible that we’re missing the bigger picture altogether: that this is not, at its heart, about sex at all — or at least not wholly. What it’s really about is work, and women’s equality in the workplace, and more broadly, about the rot at the core of our power structures that makes it harder for women to do work because the whole thing is tipped toward men.

Training Programs and Reporting Systems Won’t End Sexual Harassment. Promoting More Women Will, Harvard Business Review, November 15, 2017

We already know how to reduce sexual harassment at work, and the answer is actually pretty simple: Hire and promote more women. Research suggests that this solution addresses two root causes of harassment.

Women’s Whisper Network Raises Its Voice, New York Times, November 4, 2017

They called themselves the Glass Ceiling Club.

A group of young and ambitious women in the 1990s from the investment bank Bear Stearns would gather at local restaurants every couple of months to discuss how to make the workplace more female friendly. The conversations would inevitably turn to their male colleagues, including the ones who behaved badly, said Maureen Sherry, a former managing director, who met regularly with the other women.

Research (2016)

Report of the Co-Chairs of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, June 20, 2016

Almost fully one third of the approximately 90,000 charges received by EEOC in fiscal year 2015 included an allegation of workplace harassment. This includes, among other things, charges of unlawful harassment on the basis of sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy), race, disability, age, ethnicity/national origin, color, and religion.