The sexual harassment awareness #MeToo movement continues to gain momentum as victims of sexual harassment use social media to raise public awareness of the issue. Following celebrity Alyssa Milano’s famous 2017 hashtag on twitter, acknowledging that she too experienced sexual harassment in the movie industry, thousands of sexual harassment and sexual abuse victims have acknowledged their own experiences. Despite increased public consciousness surrounding the issue, a recent New Jersey poll found for many workers that there has been little or no reduction in the amount of sexual harassment occurring at the workplace.
According to a poll conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University, almost two-thirds of employed New Jersey residents reported no changes in the frequency of workplace sexual harassment despite high profile awareness campaigns. Over 600 New Jersey residents who are currently employed participated in the poll, which occurred over landline and mobile phones this past May. Sixty-three percent of poll respondents believed the number of sexual harassment incidents at their workplaces did not decrease over the past year.
Among the poll respondents, 36 percent of minorities and 24 percent of millennials believed the frequency of sexual harassment at their workplace has decreased somewhat within the last year due to the increased visibility of the issue.
#MeToo Movement Initiates Change
Although the poll results could not demonstrate public awareness about sexual harassment, the #MeToo Movement appears to have decreased the stigma associated with reporting such conduct. The poll found 84 percent of respondents would feel comfortable reporting workplace sexual harassment that they either experienced firsthand or witnessed. A large majority of respondents, 70 percent, also indicated a sexual harassment offender would face consequences by their employer if an incident of sexual harassment occurred at their workplace.
The #MeToo Movement gained popularity as several high-profile actresses, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, and Jennifer Lawrence, reported their own experiences of sexual harassment in the movie industry. Sexual harassment occurs at every type of workplace and over one-third of working women in New Jersey report they have been victims of workplace sexual harassment since starting their careers.
Private employers in New Jersey have implemented initiatives aimed at reducing sexual harassment in the workplace, such as mandatory training seminars and the revision of sexual harassment reporting guidelines. The New Jersey Business & Industry Association, along with Taft Communications, commissioned the Fairleigh Dickinson University poll to examine the effect of social media on the issue of workplace sexual harassment. As New Jersey businesses begin to institute sexual harassment prevention programs, victim advocacy groups continue to encourage employees to file sexual harassment complaints with employers.
Atlantic County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Levine, Staller, Sklar, Chan & Brown, P.A. Handle Sexual Harassment Cases Throughout New Jersey
If you are involved in a workplace sexual harassment claim, the experienced Atlantic County sexual harassment lawyers at Levine, Staller, Sklar, Chan & Brown, P.A. are ready to assist you. To schedule an initial consultation today, call us at 609-348-1300 or contact us online. With an office located in Atlantic City, New Jersey, we serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Atlantic County, Ocean County, and Cape May County.