New York law protects employees from sexual harassment in the workplace as does federal law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the federal law, but it only applies to workplaces with at least 15 employees. New York City law is similar in coverage.
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.
New York residents interested in business news or employment issues might want to know about the lawsuit and allegations levied at a Washington, D.C., law firm called Jones Day. One suit brought by a former partner alleges that the firm uses a system to pay women less than their male peers. A second suit filed on April 3 addressed the compensation system and a "fraternity culture" that harms women.
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.
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.
A report released in late 2017 showed that at least 38 percent of Interior Department employees reported facing harassment or discrimination at the workplace. As a result, the Interior Secretary announced a zero tolerance policy regarding this type of behavior by agency staff. The mandate is expected to face its first test with the admission of inappropriate behavior by a top-ranking official at the National Park Service.
New York employers that fail to adequately address sexual harassment complaints could leave themselves open to gender discrimination lawsuits. In fact, one law professor says that the current sexual harassment scandal at Nike illustrates the dangers of ignoring such claims.
While federal statistics show that sexual harassment complaints are going down, many women in New York City and across the country continue to experience unwanted advances and other forms of harassment on the job. In 2017, the number of official sexual harassment complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state agencies was approximately 9,600, a 41 percent drop from 16,000 in 1997. From a high of 24 complaints per 100,000 women employees, in 2017, the number hovered at around 9 per 100,000.
One of the most notable phrases from U.S. Supreme Court decisions to have filtered into the broader culture is "I know it when I see it."