Just a year ago, the first #MeToo complaints in relation to Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein hit the presses. Although the movement itself has been around for several years, it was likely the Weinstein accusations that initiated a deluge of sexual harassment and misconduct complaints against men in the media, politics and other fields. Thanks to survivors standing up and speaking out with credible allegations, a number of wrongdoers lost their positions of power. Some have even faced criminal charges.
Organizers say that last week's nationwide strike against McDonald's restaurants was the first strike protesting sexual harassment in over 100 years. Hundreds of workers in at least 10 cities rallied in an effort to hold McDonalds more accountable for the culture in their restaurants.
The specialty insurer Hiscox has just released its 2018 workplace harassment study, and it found that 35 percent of U.S. employees have experienced workplace harassment. That number rises to 41 percent among women. Of those who said they had experienced harassment, half said it was because of their gender. Moreover, 78 percent said they had been harassed by a male, and 73 percent said their harasser had been someone in a senior position.
Many traditionally male-dominated fields are marked by sexual harassment. Sometimes, men in the field are actively working to keep women out. In other cases, powerful men may feel entitled to make sexual advances toward female subordinates. Regardless of the motivation, the result is often a deeply uncomfortable or even dangerous workplace for women.
Fox News has been making some changes since the sexual harassment scandals that roiled the company last year. Chairman Roger Ailes and host Bill O'Reilly were forced out after lawsuits and reports revealed that they had sexually harassed women and then silenced their accusers with confidential settlement agreements. The network was ultimately revealed to harbor a culture where Ailes was free to harass young women and sexual harassment was tolerated overall. Both men were ousted.
In the shadows of the #MeToo movement, more employees are coming forward and speaking out about incidents of sexual harassment. But, for some victims, it isn’t as easy to speak out about what’s been going on behind closed doors – especially as a small business employee.
Recently, the New York Times reported that two former NFL cheerleaders filed discrimination complaints against the league and the teams they worked for. Their complaints have been followed by an outpouring of support from other NFL cheerleaders, who say the league and some teams allow overtly sexual and hostile work environments.
The New York City Council has sent a package of bills called the "Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act" to Mayor Bill de Blasio's desk. The legislation, which if signed would go into effect next April, notably contains an anti-sexual harassment training mandate aimed at supervisors and managers in private companies with 15 or more employees.
Thanks to a potential class action lawsuit against Microsoft, information has been released about how many gender discrimination and sexual harassment complaints the company received, along with how it handled those complaints. Between 2010 and 2016, women working technical jobs at Microsoft in the U.S. filed 238 internal complaints about sex discrimination or sexual harassment. Of those, 118 were for sex discrimination.
A Fox News correspondent and a Washington Post reporter are the latest to suffer negative job actions due to apparent sexual harassment complaints. Fox's James Rosen reportedly left Fox News after the network began looking into sexual misconduct allegations against him. Joel Achenbach of the Post has been given a 90-day suspension after unspecified misconduct said to involve female colleagues.