ILR study: Workplace sexual harassment impacts 1 in 10 in NY

Quid pro quo workplace sexual harassment impacts about 1 in 10 New York state residents, according to “Findings on Workplace Sexual Harassment from the 2018 Empire State Poll,” being released this spring by the ILR School’s Worker Institute.

Linda Barrington, ILR associate dean of outreach and sponsored research, submitted preliminary report numbers for the Feb. 13 New York State Senate and Assembly hearing in Albany on sexual harassment in the workplace. Among the findings: 

  • One in 10 adult New Yorkers (10.9 percent) report experiencing quid pro quo workplace sexual harassment at some point during their working careers. 
  • Workplace sexual harassment is a women’s issue, but men are not immune. Nearly 1 in 8 New York women (12.2 percent) report quid pro quo sexual harassment at work, while 9.5 percent of New York men also report it. 
  • In New York state, people of color are more likely to experience quid pro quo sexual harassment than their non-Hispanic white counterparts – 13.9 percent for people of color and those of Hispanic origin, compared with 8.5 percent for non-Hispanic whites.

The ILR School, Barrington said, addresses workplace sexual harassment across several disciplines – including economics, industrial psychology, labor studies, law and statistics – and from the perspectives of individuals, worker groups and management.

“Because workplace sexual harassment is both prevalent and complex, efforts to respond will need to be broad-based, enlisting the support and engagement of a range of constituencies including employers, unions and worker centers, lawyers, educators, policymakers and anti-violence advocates,” Barrington said.

In her submitted testimony, Barrington shared insights from ILR colleagues Esta Bigler, Susan Brecher, Interim Dean Alexander Colvin and KC Wagner. Their work includes expertise on a range of workplace sexual harassment areas, including legal accountability, organizational struggles, training for workplace culture and behavior change, and implications for prison workers and for people re-entering work after incarceration.

Mary Catt is assistant director of communications for the ILR School.

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Rebecca Valli