While sexual harassment cases in New York and across the country may be declining, African-American women are continuing to face escalated amounts of harassment on the job. According to one study, white women and younger women have benefited primarily from campaigns against sexual harassment in the workplace. Instead, researchers say, workplace harassers are targeting women of color and specifically black women. The study gathered data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) stretching from 1997 to 2016.
The study’s results highlight concerns that many worker advocates and legal scholars have brought to the fore: The particular type of discrimination experienced by black women. Black women may experience workplace harassment that is tinged both with sex and race discrimination, leading to a different experience than that of black men or white women. Analysts emphasized the importance of including anti-racist and race-aware curricula as part of sexual harassment education and training programs on the workplace. When training classes do not focus on the increased risks to African-American women in the workplace, they may be ineffective in creating a management culture that responds specifically to the problems suffered by black women. Some experts recommended training on implicit biases as a way to promote a more inclusive approach.
In addition, the research also found that increased harassment was linked to economic insecurity. When unemployment rates would rise in a particular month, the next month would also see a rise in reports of sexual harassment. The researchers highlighted the connection between economic threats and mistreatment of women at work.
Sexual harassment continues to be a significant problem for many people at work, whether in hospitality or restaurants or working as an executive in the tech industry. An employment law attorney might be able to work with people subjected to harassment on the job who wish to pursue justice and accountability.