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Are Women in Powerful Positions Targeted for Sexual Harassment?


Women suffer a disproportionate amount of harassment than their male counterparts. In the last reporting year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) processed over 6,500 sexual harassment claims. According to a select task force on the study of harassment in the workplace:

  • 85% of women have reportedly experienced workplace sexual harassment
  • 19% of men admitted to experiencing sexual harassment on the job

Movies and television generally show male executives as perpetrators of the sexual harassment of subordinate women. However, a recent study from the Stockholm Institute for Social Research at Stockholm University showed women in positions of power are often targeted.

Data from the working conditions in Sweden, America, and Japan between 1999 and 2019 was used to conduct a study on women in supervisory positions. In their findings:

  • Women in authority experienced 30-100% more sexual harassment than their subordinate women counterparts
  • Women were more likely to face retaliation if they reported the harassment, including denials of promotions and demotions

Another study from McKinsey found that 55% of women in senior leadership roles have experienced sexual harassment.

We strive to progress as a society and eliminate these hostile working conditions, hoping it will ease with more women in power. This data is a reminder to put aside assumptions and biases and focus on facts that flow through a reporting structure communicated to all employees.

What an Employer Should Expect When Facing Allegations of Sexual Harassment

If an employee files a claim against you or someone in your company alleging sexual harassment, it is important to act quickly. Failing to follow the proper steps will expose you to more liability:

  • First, consult Attorney Stotler to protect your business and ensure you follow the appropriate steps.
  • If you have a comprehensive sexual harassment policy, make sure you follow it consistently. If not, ask our employment lawyer to help draft a new policy, implement it, and train employees.
  • You have a duty to investigate the allegations. Neva Stotler Law has extensive experience defending sexual harassment accusations and can help you navigate the process

Once the investigation is completed, it is best to seek advice on how to handle the next step. If you have determined there was no wrongdoing, you need to inform the complainant first. If you have found the allegations to be valid, the company must take action to remediate the complaint and prevent future sexual harassment.

Consult an Experienced Employment Law Attorney in Pittsburgh Today

When an employee alleges sexual harassment against you or one of your managers, it can be difficult to know where to turn. At Neva Stotler Law, our Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania employer defense lawyer has the skills, knowledge, and experience to handle this sensitive issue.

We will advocate for your best interests and guide you through the complex process of employee-initiated claims. Consult us today and schedule a case evaluation by clicking here or calling 724-841-5565.

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