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Study finds less sexual harassment, more gender harassment

For Florida women, there might have been a drop in the amount of sexual harassment they experience at work. However, they might be experiencing a higher rate of sexist remarks and sexist discrimination. Researchers at the University of Colorado found that while 66% of the hundreds of women they surveyed reported sexual harassment at work in 2016, that number dropped to 25% in 2018. However, the percentage of women who experienced what researchers called "gender harassment" increased from 76% to 93%.

Experts in the field said that understanding what these numbers mean is complex. For example, an attorney with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that sexual harassment at work is largely under-reported. The EEOC did see a rise in sexual harassment claims in 2018 compared to 2017, but there might not have been an actual increase in sexual harassment. Women might be more aware of their rights and more likely to report harassment.

Companies are also increasingly aware of and sensitive to sexual harassment. The firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports that the #MeToo movement led 51% of companies to review their policies on sexual harassment. One in five companies said that #MeToo had led to a more respectful workplace, and nearly three-fourths of companies that reviewed their policies also made updates.

People in Florida who are dealing with workplace sexual harassment might want to talk to an attorney about how to best proceed. An attorney might be able to explain whether the behaviors the person is experiencing, which may include lewd comments and unwanted touching, constitute sexual harassment. The best option might be for the person to report the harassment at work. If the company does not launch an investigation or respond in a satisfactory manner, the attorney might step in. It may be necessary to file a lawsuit against the employer.

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