By D. Sharmin Arefin, Esq.
2018 has been a busy year for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). In light of the #MeToo movement, the EEOC has experienced a substantial uptake in sexual harassment-based discrimination charges. Sexual harassment is defined by the EEOC as “[u]nwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.”
Based on its preliminary fiscal year 2018 sexual harassment data,
- The EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits, including 41 that included allegations of sexual harassment. This is more than a 50% increase in suits challenging sexual harassment over fiscal year 2017.
- The charges filed with the EEOC alleging sexual harassment increased by more than 12% from fiscal year 2017.
- The EEOC recovered nearly $70 million for the victims of sexual harassment through litigation and administrative enforcement in fiscal year 2018, up from $47.5 million in fiscal year 2017.
Employers beware. The EEOC has ramped up its litigation and enforcement in all areas of workplace discrimination. Employers should review, revise, and enforce their EEO policies.
Contact the Arefin Law Office, LLC for EEO compliant policies and procedures, as well as on-site Diversity and Inclusion training for your employees.