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Workplace Sexual Harassment

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Paul R. Bedard, EsquirePaul R. Bedard, Esquire

Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose are all making news headlines for reasons they wish they were not. Reported incidents of workplace sexual harassment, allegedly committed by various celebrities and top executives, are generating news headlines on a daily basis. Although most incidents of workplace sexual harassment involve neither a celebrity nor a top executive, current news headlines are shining a spotlight on this issue regardless of positional rank or celebrity status.

Workplace sexual harassment is a complicated and sensitive legal issue. This article is intended to provide an overview of this issue and is not intended as legal advice. Widely varying laws specific to each jurisdiction prohibit one-size-fits-all recommendations. Please consider these comments as an educational guide to assist you when you consult your own attorney for specific direction.

Some Statistics

A recent ABC News-Washington Post poll found that 54% of American women have experienced "unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances" at some point during their lives; 38% of women have experienced this type of conduct from male colleagues, and one-quarter of the male offenders were males with influence over the careers of the female victims.

Although at a far lower rate of occurrence, men have reported experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, too. It was recently reported that one in ten men have experienced workplace sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency responsible for investigating federal sexual harassment claims, reports that 16.6% of charges of sexual harassment are filed by males.

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