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How common is sexual harassment at work?

It probably will not surprise you to learn that women file more claims for sexual harassment at work than men. Over recent years many men have begun to realize just how much a part of life sexual harassment is for women of all ages. Most women and girls already knew this from first-hand experience.  

What might be more of a surprise to everyone, regardless of gender, is the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment against men. 

Men file one-fifth of workplace sexual harassment complaints  

Figures from the EEOC show that one-fifth of the complaints about sexual harassment at work they received in 2017 came from men. You can file a sexual harassment complaint with your state authorities or with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), so while that statistic does not tell the whole story, it does help make clear that anyone can face sexual harassment. Transgender people and those who shun the notion that you can only be male or female are also at high risk of sexual harassment at work.  

Many employees do not report sexual harassment 

One of the biggest problems with determining the frequency of workplace sexual harassment is underreporting. Some studies suggest that almost three-quarters of incidents do not get reported. In many cases, workers fear retaliation if they do so, and in other cases, a victim does not believe speaking up about it will achieve anything. Another reason is that people sometimes feel ashamed about it, despite the fact they are not to blame. 

If someone in your workplace has sexually harassed you, it is essential to understand your options to make it stop, hold them responsible and claim for the harm done. You are entitled to a safe working environment, and your employer has a responsibility to ensure you get one.