Sexual harassment has affected the lives of many workers in Texas. It has been the subject of nationwide controversy during the last several months. One year after the New York Times released its first investigation on Harvey Weinstein, the EEOC reports that sexual harassment complaints have increased by 12 percent.
The EEOC announced in a press release that it filed 66 sexual harassment claims in 2018, which represents a 50 percent increase over the number of claims filed in 2017.
Prior to the last year, harassment claims filed with the EEOC had been declining. The number of claims had decreased from 7,944 in 2010 to 6,696 in 2017. The numbers in 2018 are the highest they have been since 2012.
This is not the first time in United States history that a national media story has preceded a rise in the number of sexual harassment claims. After the Anita Hill hearings in 1991, the EEOC reported an increase of 52 percent in the number of claims filed.
Employees who have experienced sexual harassment at work may benefit from talking to an attorney with experience in employment law. It may be important to report an incident and speak to an attorney if there are short deadlines for reporting an incident of sexual harassment and filing a claim. In some cases, it may be a good idea for the employee to make a report to their company's human resources department.
Sexual harassment claims must usually be reported to the EEOC prior to the claimant filing suit. The number of cases filed by the EEOC do not represent the total number of sexual harassment claims filed nationwide. After an incident has been reported to the EEOC and investigated, the EEOC might issue a notice of right to sue to the claimant. The claimant may then proceed with filing suit in federal court.