A recent study from the New York-based nonprofit group Center for Talent Innovation suggests that the entertainment business is not a very friendly place for women. After polling 3,213 college-educated men and women working white-collar jobs in eight industries, the think tank discovered that sexual harassment and discrimination was particularly prevalent among women employed in the media and entertainment sector.
About 41 percent of the women working in media and entertainment said that they had received unwelcome sexual advances or been exposed to inappropriate language or behavior while at work. The financial services sector, which has earned a reputation for being hostile to women, emerged as the industry with the lowest number of sexual harassment complaints. The study also reveals that harassers are usually managers or supervisors and are predominantly men. Almost three-quarters of the women who reported being treated inappropriately by colleagues said that their bosses had harassed them, and more than half of the male victims said that their abusers were men.
The researchers say that this kind of behavior may be more common in the entertainment business because of the influence that powerful industry executives can wield over careers. In addition to providing data about workplace discrimination and sexual harassment in several key industrial sectors, the report contains a list of steps that employers can take to prevent and address this kind of behavior.
Allegations of workplace discrimination and harassment with sexual or racial overtones can greatly tarnish brand names and damage corporate reputations; attorneys with experience in this area may urge employers to avoid possible embarrassment by settling these cases discretely. Workers who have been treated unfairly may add weight to these arguments by keeping accurate records of their workplace experiences and gathering evidence such as company emails, policy and procedure documents and training manuals.