#MeToo drove 18% jump in sexual harassment complaints
- Employee harassment reports rose by 18% during 2017 and 2018, according to the 2019 Ethics & Compliance Hotline Benchmark Report from NAVEX Global. Of those reports, 41% were substantiated.
- Analyzing more than 1 million employee reports, the report found businesses that track complaints from a range of intake methods — such as anonymous hotlines, web forms and open door policies — saw a higher reporting rate than companies that tracked only complaints filed via phone and the web. "Organizations in the latter category are missing a significant percentage of concerns and risks that employees could be raising," according to NAVEX.
- "These findings reflect strong growth in the number of employees willing to speak out against harassment – and they should serve as notice to employers that #MeToo is a fundamental shift in employees’ willingness to tolerate harassment," said Carrie Penman, chief compliance officer and senior vice president, advisory services, NAVEX Global, in a statement.
Despite an increase in complaints perhaps spurred by the #MeToo movement, most women say little has changed in the workplace. A recent survey said that 57% saw no change in behaviors or climate on the job. The sexual harassment problem persists, with an estimated 5 million people experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. Of those, 99.8% never file a complaint, according to recent research.
Awareness has driven some change, however. More companies, including Google and Uber, are eliminating policies requiring mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment claims, some following employee pushback. And lawmakers have pursued legislation, some prohibiting businesses from forcing arbitration and some requiring sexual harassment training.
From the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's perspective, workers are filing more claims than ever. The agency filed 50% more harassment lawsuits in 2018 than in the year before.
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