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Poll looks at changing attitudes toward sexual harassment

Some male employees in New York may be less concerned about sexual harassment in 2019 than they were in 2017, according to a Gallup Poll. More male employees are also more likely to say they believe people are too sensitive about sexual harassment in the workplace compared to 2017. The number of women who believe people are too sensitive increased as well but less dramatically compared to men.

In 2017, around the time the #MeToo movement broke, 69 percent of all adults said they thought workplace sexual harassment against women was a major problem. By February 2019, that number had dropped to 62 percent. Among women, the number dropped from 73 to 70 percent and among men from 66 to 53 percent.

It is unclear why the numbers have declined, although there are a few theories. One could be that men simply were more aware of the problem in the immediate wake of #MeToo and have become less concerned about it since. Another could be the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. The drop among Republican men since 2017 is significant with only 35 percent of male Republicans and independent men who lean toward Republican agreeing sexual harassment is a serious problem compared to 54 percent in 2017. However, overall, most employees still believe workplace sexual harassment remains a serious problem.

Individuals who believe they are facing sexual harassment in the workplace might want to consult an attorney about their rights. Employees often fail to report sexual harassment because they are concerned about the impact such a report will have on their career even when their workplace has a sexual harassment policy in place. A lawyer may be able to explain strategies for documenting the behavior, what to expect from an employer investigation, what to do if the employer attempts to retaliate and when to consider legal action.

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