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Workplace Sexual Harassment Statistics

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  • 1:08 Charges by Sex
  • 1:46 Reasonable Cause Determination
  • 3:06 Merit Resolutions
  • 4:19 Conciliation
  • 4:56 Administrative Closures
  • 5:41 Monetary Benefits
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is charged with investigating claims of workplace sexual harassment. It collects statistics on its investigations. In this lesson, we'll take a look at workplace sexual harassment statistics collected by the EEOC.

Charges Filed With EEOC

An employee who believes that she is a victim of sexual harassment has a right to file a charge of workplace sexual harassment with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) who will then investigate the charge. The EEOC collects statistics on its charges, so let's take a look at them.

In 2014, 6,862 workplace sexual harassment charges were filed with the EEOC. The EEOC received 7,944 charges in 2010, 7,809 in 2011, 7,571 charges in 2012 and 7,256 charges of workplace sexual harassment in 2013. As you can see, we have a downward trend in the filing of charges of workplace sexual harassment. Keep in mind, however, many victims never file charges, and the downward trend doesn't necessarily mean workplace sexual harassment is a diminishing problem in the workplace.

Charges by Sex

The EEOC also tracks the sex of the charging party, which is the person that is making a charge of workplace sexual harassment. From 2010 to 2014, males filed as little as 16.1% of the charges and as much as 17.6%. Needless to say, women filed the majority of the claims. However, we should be cautious about these numbers. It's possible that male victims simply do not feel comfortable filing a charge of sexual harassment.

Reasonable Cause Determination

At the completion of its investigation of the employee's charge, the EEOC will determine whether reasonable cause exists to believe that workplace sexual harassment has occurred. From 2010 to 2014, a little over 50% of the charges of workplace sexual harassment resulted in a determination of no reasonable cause with a high of 54.3% in 2012 and a low of 50.8% in 2010. It's important to note, however, that a charging party that receives a finding of no reasonable cause does have the right to sue in court, and the statistics reported here do not include the results of such litigation.

We also see a downward trend in reasonable cause determinations from the period of 2010 through 2014, with 8.7% of the charges resolved in 2010 finding reasonable cause but only 6.1% of charges leading to a determination of reasonable cause in 2014. You may be surprised that we find such a small percentage of reasonable cause determinations for workplace sexual harassment given that the EEOC found a little over 50% of the charges were not supported by reasonable cause. You may be wondering what happened to the rest of the charges. Let's see why the two numbers don't add up to 100%.

Merit Resolutions

Oftentimes, the EEOC's investigation is cut short before it makes a reasonable cause determination. Merit resolutions are an example, which, according to the EEOC, are charges with outcomes favorable to the charging parties and/or charges with meritorious allegations. In fact, about 25% of all charges of workplace sexual harassment result in some form of merit resolution during 2010 through 2014. Let's take a look at merit resolutions that may be reached before a reasonable cause determination is made:

Negotiated settlements are settlements facilitated by the EEOC that result in some benefit to the charging party. These settlements may occur prior to a reasonable cause determination. About 11% of charges were resolved through negotiated settlements from 2010 through 2014.

Sometimes charges are withdrawn because the charging party has gotten what it wants from her employer to resolve the claim, which is categorized as a charge withdrawn with benefits. Like negotiated settlements, a charge may be withdrawn before the EEOC concludes its investigation.

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