A survey published by Plos One found that workplace sexual harassment complaints had gone down in New Jersey and throughout the country between 2016 and 2018. It is believed that the #MeToo movement played a role in this occurring. Women who took part in the survey said that they felt more confident in reporting instances of harassment. They also said that they felt better about confronting their abusers than they had in the past.
The study included 500 women who were between the ages of 25 and 45. Between 2016 and 2018, reports of sexual solicitation from colleagues went down by 10%. Those who are victims of sexual harassment may experience negative career and emotional consequences. For instance, they may doubt whether they got a job because of their qualifications or because someone thought that they were attractive. Study participants said that they felt less shame after hearing others share their stories as well.
In the past, a woman may have felt like she could have taken steps to avoid being a victim or that she was the only target. However, the study authors did note that gender discrimination has increased even as sexual harassment cases have declined. This could be a backlash against what are perceived to be new rules or standards of conduct in the workplace.
If a worker is harassed because of their gender, it may be a violation of employment law. An individual may be entitled to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or file a lawsuit. An attorney may also help a worker resolve the matter without the need to go to court. Possible outcomes of an EEOC charge or lawsuit include obtaining financial compensation or requiring an employer to update its harassment policies.