The growth of the #MeToo movement has led to more research in the area of workplace harassment. To those in California, it probably comes as no surprise that the media industry has a very high rate of harassment. However, a recent study shows that other white-collar sectors also allow unwanted sexual advances far too frequently.
The research was conducted over eight office environments, from telecom and pharmaceutical industries to architecture and engineering. The study sought the number of individuals, male and female, who were subjected to unwanted harassment in the workplace. The study focused not on the number of incidents but on the number of people who were harassed at least once.
In every field except the legal professions, more than one in four women had a harassment situation. In four of the eight groups, more than one-third of women have been subject to sexual advances. The percentages ranged from 41 percent in the media industry to 22 percent in the legal industry.
Men were also victims in surprisingly high numbers. The percentages were over 15 percent in half of the groups, and double-digit numbers in six of the eight groups. The authors speculate that blue-collar professions such as manufacturing and construction might have more frequent situations, but no research was performed in these professions.
The preliminary research makes clear that both women and men can be the victims of undesired advances. And this conduct can occur in professions dominated by highly educated individuals. In today’s workforce, no one in such a situation is required to accept such conduct. Those who are targets of this conduct have a right to seek the counsel of an experienced employment law attorney for redress.