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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Cameron Phillips


EN 102

April 11, 2017

Sexual Discrimination in the American Workforce

In the American workforce over the past two decades, the amount of reports has stayed nearly the same when dealing with discrimination based on sex, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The amount of reports has seen a change in the amount of reports, from nearly 25,000 in 1997 to nearly an average of 28,000 in the past four years (2013-2017). However, over the past two decades, discrimination cases related to sex have been nearly 30% of all discrimination cases reported and settled every year.  Sexual discrimination is discrimination in employment and opportunity against a person (typically a woman) on grounds of sex. The only category with a larger amount of reports, is the “Race” category. Though our society has advanced in integrating all races of people into the general work force, sexual discrimination remains a prevalent problem.

According to the Harvard Business Review, seventy-one percent of women do not report sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace, and “by far fewer” bystanders will ever report the incident. When interviewed by HBR writers and contributors, a woman named Megan, who worked in financing, report that she had been sexually harassed and contacted human resources to request a different position. Shortly after, her request was denied and she received a write-up for unrelated events, claiming she was the target of retaliation from both the perpetrator and the company.

The Harvard Business Review also credits the failure to report sexual harassment in the workplace to the male dominated work force in certain job fields, and some men will intentionally subjugate women to gain social status among co-workers and male employers. However, men are not entirely to blame for the masculine nature of the workplace. It is typical for women to join in on the subjugation of their fellow female co-workers and employers so that they can escape targeting and become “one of the guys,” to gain social status.

When delving into the numbers reported by, there is an alarming rate of sexual harassment, with fifty-four percent of employees reporting harassment at one point or another. Twenty-seven percent of the interviewees were harassed by a colleague, with seventeen percent of the interviewees being harassed by a superior. By the most alarming fact is: Seventy-nine percent of the victims are women, while only twenty-one percent of the victims are men.

Twelve percent of victims are threatened termination if they do not comply with the demands of the perpetrator.

Some industries however, are more likely to fall victim to being subject to sexual harassment and discrimination. The industries are as follows: Business, trade, banking, financing, sales, marketing, hospitality, civil service, education, lecturing, and teaching.

In Martha Langelan's Back Off! How To Confront and Stop Sexual Harassment and Harassers, Martha recommends the following steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace:

¥ “Do the unexpected: Name the behavior. Whatever he\'s just done, say it, and be specific.

¥ Hold the harasser accountable for his actions. Don\'t make excuses for him; don\'t pretend it didn\'t really happen. Take charge of the encounter and let people know what he did. Privacy protects harassers, but visibility undermines them.

¥ Make honest, direct statements. Speak the truth (no threats, no insults, no obscenities, no appeasing verbal fluff and padding). Be serious, straightforward, and blunt.

¥ Demand that the harassment stop.

¥ Make it clear that all women have the right to be free from sexual harassment. Objecting to harassment is a matter of principle.

¥ Stick to your own agenda. Don\'t respond to the harasser\'s excuses or diversionary tactics.

¥ His behavior is the issue. Say what you have to say, and repeat it if he persists.

¥ Reinforce your statements with strong, self-respecting body language: eye contact, head up, shoulders back, a strong, serious stance. Don\'t smile. Timid, submissive body language will undermine your message.” (¶ 14)

Respond at the appropriate level. Use a combined verbal and physical response to physical harassment.

According to, the following steps will taken once a report is given to the EEOC: After you have filed a complaint, the EEOC will notify your employer that you have filed a charge and will begin an investigation into your complaint. The EEOC may then a take a number of different paths. First, the EEOC may attempt to settle your complaint or refer you and your employer to a mediator. Second, if the EEOC is unable to reach a settlement both parties agree on, and the defendant is a private employer, the EEOC may file a lawsuit in federal court. Finally, the EEOC may also choose to simply dismiss the charge. When a charge is dismissed, or if the EEOC is unable to reach an agreement to settle the complaint, the EEOC will issue a notice to you advising you of your right to sue in court. This notice is called a “right-to-sue” letter. If you want to file a lawsuit before the EEOC completes its process, you may request a right-to-sue letter.

Works Cited

\"Charge Statistics (Charges Filed with EEOC) FY 1997 Through FY 2016.\" Charge Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

Keplinger, Stefanie K. JohnsonJessica KirkKsenia. \"Why We Fail to Report Sexual Harassment.\" Harvard Business Review. N.p., 04 Oct. 2016. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

\"Statistics.\" AWARE. N.p., 07 Sept. 2016. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

Sexual Harrassment - Fact Sheet - Feminist Majority Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

\"Take Action Against Sexism.\" AAUW: Empowering Women Since 1881. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

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