Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Percentage of EEOC Sexual Harassment Claims Filed by Men on the Rise, But . . .

The EEOC recently announced a $600,000 settlement in a male-on-male sexual harassment case. The press release included an interesting note that "[t]he percentage of sexual harassment complaints filed by men has been steadily growing." And sure enough, the data does not lie. Nerd alert - I made a chart:

Yup, the percentage of EEOC sexual harassment claims filed by men has been increasing over the last 15 years. But, I decided to create a second chart (supernerd alert?), an area chart showing the claims filed by men as a portion of the total sexual harassment charges. When I did this, a funny thing happened:

The number of sexual harassment claims filed by men is practically a straight line! The number barely fluctuates at all. From this, I concluded that the changes in percentage of claims filed by men is almost entirely a result of fluctuations in the number of claims filed by women.

I'm not really sure what to make of this, and invite comments. My best guess (and I emphasize the word guess) is that employers have made a concerted effort to combat sexual harassment through training and awareness, but they're focusing almost entirely on harassment of women. Note that the chart still shows that the vast majority of claims are filed by women, so this is not entirely irrational. However, the result is a decrease in sexual harassment of women with no impact on the claims filed by men.

What's your theory? Drop a comment or hit me on Twitter (@PhilipMiles).