On October 4, 2018, the EEOC announced preliminary sexual harassment data for FY 2018 (which ended September 30, 2018). The end result — sexual harassment claims are on the rise.
According to the preliminary report,
- The number of EEOC charges filed alleging sexual increased over 12% in 2018
- The EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits (41 of which included allegations of sexual harassment), this is a 50% increase from 2017.
- The EEOC recovered nearly $70 million for victims of sexual harassment through litigation and administrative enforcement (an increase from $47.5 million recovered in 2017).
While this news should come as no surprise for employers, it does emphasize the need for employers to take appropriate steps to mitigate the risk of a sexual harassment charge by doing one (or more of the following):
- Providing sexual harassment training to all employees on a regular basis
- Providing training to managerial employees on how to handle (and properly investigate) a sexual harassment complaint
- Promptly investigating any sexual harassment complaint received.
- Implementing effective anti-harassment policies with several channels for reporting claims and a strong anti-retaliation provision;
- Enforcing anti-harassment policies consistently.