Poll: African-Americans, Women in IT Top Targets of Workplace Sexual Harassment

Workplace sexual harassment has always been a problem. But it’s just recently that we are fully learning how pervasive sexual harassmentharassment is. We’ve all heard the anecdotes on social media and in the news. But the data paints an even clearer picture of a problem that is out of control across all walks of life.

A recent report from Comparably explores not only the scope of harassment, but also gives us a clearer picture of demographics that are most vulnerable. Women in IT at tech companies and African-Americans topped their respective charts as key targets.

Comparably polled more than 22,000 employees over a cross section of all industries. The results showed more than a quarter (26 percent) of women report having been sexually harassed at work. In tech fields, that number goes up to 28 percent of women surveyed. 

This number further escalates to 33 percent when the pool is focused on women in IT working at a tech company, the largest percentage of any of the subcategories in the survey. Also topping 30% were women in operations, business development, and product.

When broken down by race, African-American workers (all genders) appear to be most negatively affected, with 19% reporting sexual harassment. Hispanic/Latino respondents followed with 17 percent. Caucasian respondents came in next at 14 percent.

Sexual harassment rates seem to drop the longer a person has worked at a company. Entry level respondents reported sexual harassment at a rate of 17 percent, while those at a job for 10 years or longer were at 11 percent. This could speak to the effect sexual harassment has on a company’s ability to retain talent, making sexual harassment not only an ethical, legal, and moral issue, but one that could be affecting a business’s bottom line.

The poll also broke down respondents by age. Those ages 56-65 had the highest percentage rates, with 16 percent reporting having ever experienced workplace sexual harassment. Respondents ages 18-50 reported sexual harassment at an average closer to 13 percent. This difference could be a reflection of the fact that the 56-65 sector has been in the workplace longer with more time to experience a negative encounter at work. They also were more likely to be part of the workforce during an era where harassment was even more prevalent and blatant than today.

Men, too, were included in the overall numbers for race, age, and length of time at a company, though the vast majority of those who reported incidents of sexual harassment were women. Overall, men reported having experienced workplace sexual harassment at a rate of 7 percent. Men in certain career fields, however, seemed to be the target of sexual harassment more than others. For example the poll showed, 20 percent of men in legal positions and 17 percent of men in administrative jobs reported being the victim of sexual harassment.

Our Orange County sexual harassment attorneys can’t say these numbers are very surprising given our years of experience handling cases of harassment in the workplace. We can, however, say they are appalling, and that any occurrence of sexual harassment would be one too many. That’s why the knowledgeable employment lawyers at our firm will guide you to the best legal solution for your case and will fight for your right to a safe and harassment-free workplace.

Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.

Additional Resources:

#MeToo: 1 in 4 Women Have Been Sexually Harassed at Work, Oct. 18, 2017, Comparably

More Blog Entries:

Recent Focus on Sexual Harassment Leads to More Complaints in LA, Nov. 21, 2017, Orange County Employment Lawyers Blog