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How common is sex-related harassment at work?

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If you have heard reports about people saying they have been harassed at work because of their gender or that they have encountered sexual harassment in the workplace in California, you may have wondered how often this actually happens. Maybe you have known someone who has experienced this type of harassment. Perhaps you have even been on the receiving end of such inappropriate and illegal behavior. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission collects and reports data on the number of reports of sex-based harassment filed around the nation and that can give some insight into how broadly spread this problem is.

In 2016, there were 12,860 total reported cases of harassment involving sex. That is more than in 2015 when there were 12,573 such reports. The number of those cases that involved sexual harassment allegations was 6,758 in 2016 and 6,822 the year before in 2015. A total of 16.6 percent of the 2016 cases were settled while only 11.4 percent of the 2015 cases were settled.

The amount of monetary benefits associated with the 2016 cases was lower than in 2015. In 2015, the amount was $46.7 million. That dropped in 2016 to $40.7 million. In addition to settlements, some cases involved administrative closure, the withdrawal of benefits, reasonable cause or no reasonable cause.  All in all, every year from 2010 to 2016, more than 12,000 people reported alleged instances of sex-based harassment around the United States.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give California workers an idea of just how many people in the United States may experience instances of harassment related to sex.

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