Despite a slight drop in workplace sexual harassment cases in Fiscal Year 2019, the amount of the settlements in those cases jumped more than 20%.
After a significant increase in sexual harassment charges in FY 2018, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently reported a 1.2% decrease last year. Despite the year-over-year drop, 2019 still had the second-highest number of sexual harassment charges since 2012. And despite this dip in charges, settlements with the EEOC totaled $68.2 million in 2019, an increase from $56.6 million in 2018, and the highest settlement amount since at least 1992.
In FY 2018, the EEOC received a total of 7,609 charges alleging sexual harassment. That represented a more than 13% increase in sexual harassment charges versus FY 2017, and it was the first time the number of sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC had increased in more than a decade.
For the fiscal year ending September 30, the EEOC received 7,514 sexual harassment charges. This number represents 10.3% of all workplace charges the agency received in the 2019 fiscal year that ran from October 2018 to September 2019.
With or without all of these statistics, it’s clear that workplace sexual harassment remains an issue. Many states, including Pennsylvania, are reviewing their sexual harassment laws and requirements regarding initiatives like policies and training. In addition to taking a close look at workplace culture, employers can get ahead of the trend and these laws through reviewing policies and conducting training sessions, as well as responding promptly and thoroughly, via investigation and report, to all allegations of any type of harassment in the workplace. Barley Snyder attorneys are skilled in all aspects of sexual harassment issues and have hosted numerous harassment awareness training seminars for employers throughout the region, and regularly conduct internal harassment investigations for clients.