With October being the one-year anniversary of the #MeToo Movement going viral, the EEOC released FY 2018 preliminary data on the impact of the #MeToo Movement and sexual harassment claims in the workplace.
- The EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits, including 41 that included allegations of sexual harassment. That reflects more than a 50 percent increase in suits challenging sexual harassment over FY 2017.
- In addition, charges filed with the EEOC alleging sexual harassment increased by more than 12 percent from FY 2017.
- Overall, the EEOC recovered nearly $70 million for the victims of sexual harassment through litigation and administrative enforcement in FY 2018, up from $47.5 million in FY 2017.
According to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), more than 1/3 of Americans still believe their workplace fosters sexual harassment.
The EEOC reported that hits on the sexual harassment page on its website (https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm) have more than doubled this past year.
While the Florida Commission on Human Relations is not reporting as sharp of an increase in sexual harassment claims as many other states’ employment agencies, #MeToo claims with the EEOC and FCHR are expected to steadily increase.
Employers and HR Professionals should review their company’s policies to protect workers against sexual harassment. It is critical for employers to ensure that anti-harassment policies are in place, well-disseminated and followed. A well-drafted policy will provide clear direction on reporting potential claims. Any reports of sexual harassment must be promptly and appropriately investigated. If a claim is substantiated, prompt remedial action should be taken by the employer to address the inappropriate behavior.
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