7 Statistics You Need to Know About Workplace Harassment

by Oct 10, 2019

As a small business owner and poster child (no seriously, I am literally on a poster) for Hiscox Business Insurance, I thought I’d share this Workplace Harassment Study they published last year.

(So it’s a year old, but I think we can all agree it’s still relevant. I was a little slow on the uptake on this one.)

 

Statistics You Need to Know About Workplace Harassment

Some of the statistics are shocking, and I thought you might be interested in them. Are you sitting down?

  • While reported harassers were typically men (78%) and employees in senior positions (73%), other patterns also emerged. For example, 17% of survey respondents reported vendors or clients as the harasser. Remember the employer is still liable even if the harassment comes from outside of the organization!
  • 45% of respondents had witnessed the harassment of a co-worker. (I bet no one reported it either.)
  • 53% of employees who experienced harassment were so afraid of a hostile work environment that they didn’t report the behavior.
  • 46% of employees said fear of retaliation was the main reason for not reporting. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found the fear of retaliation to be the main reason in their research as well.
  • Both large and small companies had the same percentage of employees who claimed to be on the receiving end of harassment: A too large 32%.
  • Between 2010 and 2017 employers paid out over $1 Billion to settle harassment claims filed with the EEOC. Keep in mind that this was before the #MeToo movement exploded in early 2018, which of course increased reports to the EEOC.
  • Out of the employees surveyed, 46% of Millennials reported being harassed which was the highest of the age groups. *Insert cheesy quote about how the next generation is our future* Seriously though, they make up most of the workforce.

 

These statistics tell me two things.

First, harassment can happen to anyone in any organization. While there are generalities around harassers and organizational risk factors that can foster a culture of harassment, harassment and toxic behaviors are not exclusive. If you’re thinking your business is too small to have a harassment problem, or that it could never happen here, think again.

Second, there is a larger organizational issue here. When employees are afraid of retaliation it’s a sign that your culture is sending that message. Employees will keep quiet and allow the behavior to fester and grow, or go straight to an attorney for legal advice.

Food for thought: What can you do to make speaking up comfortable for your workforce? 

You might check out any one of my LinkedIn Learning courses for tips, and of course, there’s my book, Seeking Civility: How Leaders, Managers, and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying. 

 

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

Do you have formal buddy system in place for your new hires?

New hire buddy systems fail when expectations of buddies are not clear, and agendas aren’t provided, so people don’t really know what to do.

As someone who specializes in coaching abrasive and aggressive leaders, I’ve noticed some patterns. Topics that continue to come up in my coaching sessions time and again. Get this. There are things your organization could be doing that actually facilitate bullying. I...

Resolving Conflict: A Case Study

One of our clients had two employees who were struggling to get along. Both employees were key contributors, and the business owner was desperate for them to resolve their differences. It all started when one employee (I’ll call her Susan) was quick to email out...

Four Steps to Dealing with Difficult People

Difficult people are everywhere. It’s likely you have encountered someone at work who struggles to connect with others in a positive way, whether because they are a downer, a one-upper, a gossip, or other reason. While difficult people come in many forms, they all...

Latest book, SEEKING CIVILITY, is released!

I have just released my latest book, SEEKING CIVILITY: How leaders, managers and HR can create a workplace free of bullying and abusive conduct. I thought I'd throw up a few excerpts for interest: What Bullying Is Bullying is repeated abuse that creates a...

What Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Really Mean

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are essential to creating a positive work environment where employees are happy and thriving. We work with organizations to assess and address any issues related to DEI, and we provide training and resources to help create a...

5 Action Items for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Building a healthy workplace where employees feel appreciated and respected requires, among other things, making it diverse and inclusive. It is essential for organizations that want to attract and retain top talent, foster innovation, and stay competitive in today's...

Toxic Work Culture: Three Behaviors That Contribute

Way before working at Civility Partners, I suffered from a toxic work culture. Even though I loved my job, it was very tiring—emotionally, mentally, and physically. The work environment was very unhealthy, and because of that, I made the best decision of my life by...

15 Tiny Habits To Kick Off Your New Year

If you’re anything like me, you kick off your New Year with all the lofty resolutions you can think of. In theory, it’s a great way to be intentional about your future. My problem in checking off those resolutions (and maybe yours, too) is twofold. First, I set...