Sexual Harassment Statistics

The likelihood of an individual experiencing workplace sexual harassment can vary based on the gender composition of their workplace and demographic characteristics.

Sexual Harassment Statistics


Sexual Harassment Resources & FAQs

How Common is Sexual Harassment?

  • Sexual Harassment is defined as unwanted sexual advances, verbal or physical harassment relating to sex, and requests for sexual services. 
  • A 2000 person survey conducted by Growth From Knowledge stated that, nationwide, 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men experience sexual harassment in their lifetime.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

  • According to a survey done by CNBC, one in five Americans experience sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • In 2015, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported that 45 percent of their harassment claims were sex-based.
  • The United States adult working population of women is 9% more likely than men to say they experienced sexual harassment.
  • According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):
    • 25 percent of women experience sexual harassment in the workplace.
    • 35 percent of LGBTQ respondents who reported being “open” at work, were sexually harassed.
    • 58 percent of LGBTQ respondents heard derogatory comments about their sexual orientation and gender identity while at work.
    • Between 7 and 41 percent of LGBTQ, respondents were verbally and/or physically abused while at work or had their workspaces vandalized.

Sexual Harassment in the Federal Workplace

A September 2020 study done by the United States Government Accountability Office found that:

  • Women are three times as likely as men to say they experienced sexual harassment.
  • Women are twice as likely as men to report experiencing sexual harassment.
  • Women ages 29 and under experience a 3-5 percent higher rate of sexual harassment than those aged 60.
  • 62 percent of women ages 31-41 reported experiencing sexual harassment.
  • 63 percent of women in science, engineering, and technology reported that they experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • American Indian/Alaska Native women are three times as likely to report experiencing sexual harassment than White non-Hispanic Women.
  • Black American Women are 30 percent less likely than non-Hispanic Whites to report experiencing sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment on College Campuses

The Association of American Universities surveyed 181,752 college students, 108,221 undergraduate respondents, and 73,531 graduate and professional respondents, about sexual harassment on their college campus.

  • Among all students:
    • 41.8 percent reported experiencing at least one sexually harassing behavior since enrollment.
    • 18.9 percent of students reported that the behavior interfered with their school or professional performance, limited their ability to participate in school, or created an intimidating and offensive work, social, or academic environment.

Most Common Behaviors

  • 27 percent of all surveyed students heard insulting or offensive remarks/jokes.
  • 33.7 percent of all surveyed students heard inappropriate or offensive comments about someone’s physical appearance or sexual activities.
  • 16 percent of all surveyed students reported inappropriate sexual statements said to them or felt pressured to talk about sexual events.

Sexual Harassment on Social Media

  • 8.2 percent of all surveyed students reported offensive materials being sent to them by social media.
  • 11.2 percent of all surveyed students reported other forms of harassment including being asked out on a date. (ex: have dinner, drinks, or sex) repeatedly by a perpetrator even though the student previously said no.

Undergraduate Student Sexual Harassment

  • 59.2 percent of undergraduate women reported experiencing at least one harassing behavior during their college career.
  • 5 percent of undergraduate women stated that they were sexually harassed by a faculty member or instructor.
  • 4.8 percent of undergraduate women identified their teacher, co-worker, boss, or supervisor as the harasser.
  • 65.1 percent TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, non-conforming) reported experiencing at least one harassing behavior during their college career.
  • 9.7 percent of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, non-conforming) undergraduate students identified a coworker as their harasser.
  • 36.2 percent of undergraduate men reported at least one sexually harassing behavior during their college career.
  • 4.3 percent of undergraduate men stated they were sexually harassed by a faculty member or instructor
  • 38 percent of undergraduate students stated their friend was the harasser.
  • 34.9 percent of undergraduate students stated their classmate was the harasser.
  • 39.6 percent of undergraduate students recognized the harasser but was not associated with them.

Graduate and Professional Student Sexual Harassment

  • Professional and graduate students were most likely to be sexually harassed by a faculty member or an instructor.
  • 24 percent of graduate and professional women stated that they were sexually harassed by a faculty member or instructor.
  • 23 percent of graduate and professional men reported at least one sexually harassing behavior during their college career.
  • 18.2 percent of graduate and professional men were sexually harassed by a faculty member or instructor.
  • 16.5 percent of graduate and professional women identified their teacher, co-worker, boss, or supervisor as the harasser.
  • 19.9 percent of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, non-conforming) graduate and professional students identified a coworker as their harasser.

Do Victims of Workplace Sexual Harassment Report it?

  • The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) files, on average, 7,221 sexual harassment allegations every year.
  • The EEOC study on harassment in the workplace reported only 6-13 percent of individuals file a formal sexual harassment complaint.
  • A 2016 survey of federal government employees  conducted by The United States Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) stated:
    • Only 11 percent of people who experience sexual harassment actually file a formal complaint.
    • 30 percent of people who experience sexual harassment spoke with a manager, supervisor, or union representative.
    • 70 percent of people never spoke about their sexual harassment experience.
    • Only 11 percent of people who experienced sexual harassment actually filed a formal complaint.
  • A 2003 study in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that 75 percent of employees who spoke out against workplace mistreatment faced some sort of retaliation.

Common Employers Responses to Workplace Sexual Harassment

  • According to the EEOC,
    • 33 percent to 75 percent of employers state to avoid the harasser.
    • 54 percent to 73 percent of employers state to downplay the situation.
    • 44 percent to 70 percent of employers state to ignore or forget the behavior altogether.

Where Sexual Harassment Victims go for Help

  • According to the EEOC,
    • 27 percent to 37 percent of women who experience sexual harassment turn to their family members for help.
    • 50 percent to 75 percent of women who experience sexual harassment turn to their friends or other trusted individuals.

The Cost of Sexual Harassment

The EEOC from 2010-2020, on average, received $48.36 million dollars in financial benefits for employees who filed sexual harassment claims.

YearCharges FiledCharges ResolvedFinancial Compensation (Millions)
20107,9448,959$41.20
20117,8099,195$45.10
20127,5718,924$43.00
20137,2567,758$44.60
20146,8627,037$35.00
20156,8227,289$46.00
20166,7587,433$40.70
20176,6967,511$46.30
20187,6097,986$56.60
20197,5147,875$68.20
20206,5877,278$65.30

 

Workplace Sexual Harassment Charges By State

Year20102011201220132014201520162017201820192020
StatesTotal Charges Per StateTotal Charges Per StateTotal Charges Per StateTotal Charges Per StateTotal Charges Per StateTotal Charges Per StateTotal Charges Per StateTotal Charges Per StateTotal Charges Per StateTotal Charges Per StateTotal Charges Per State
Alabama State Total280263296245234229233232245242178
Alaska State Total84677757955
Arizona State Total300282283326267194198191219215184
Arkansas State Total1081191391061041051131111029692
California State Total474449515436441388345356325344313
Colorado State Total201188202169157180167164166134145
Connecticut State Total19141517911106191627
Delaware State Total824119669251427
District of Columbia State Total4845403837292828313322
Florida State Total775721701651718637651587730654673
Georgia State Total410423426418357362395431457465349
Hawaii State Total2320272930242029345146
Idaho State Total10107639101238
Illinois State Total364402322343291323354349526361328
Indiana State Total262211233213191211182172172188144
Iowa State Total1211101214939142322
Kansas State Total777371696156646610318095
Kentucky State Total10280837563787675715755
Louisiana State Total192164178155152146128157168189133
Maine State Total52022013442
Maryland State Total213143143151119148172129145131120
Massachusetts State Total2831313029293734324424
Michigan State Total169268155172167169164164225215125
Minnesota State Totale7171476472676254455165
Mississippi State Total141123160163159125131157125125103
Missouri State Total201178142135133155200189191231213
Montana State Total12111332278
Nebraska State Total71232547851018
Nevada State Total10710611611811411710110011010992
New Hampshire State Total1332522182102
New Jersey State Total938081656451849710412491
New Mexico State Total10910812910794818077854540
New York State Total362415446353432390407379451442414
North Carolina State Total370361346284229296265231318313269
North Dakota State Total43127131672898
Ohio State Total303325276258264277269268292324246
Oklahoma State Total1791861651881581481239811798108
Oregon State Total1317252425322232152018
Pennsylvania State Total414373318317249301311268420410414
Rhode Island State Total35333223563
South Carolina State Total10513211285111109101136144116120
South Dakota State Total35223256469
Tennesse State Total294272273247285257245247265246226
Texas State Total853893812842769809791742737796700
Utah State Total2129203833483037363723
Vermont State Total63103412415
Virginia State Total226190245255233168205203232205179
Washington State Total8999879875991171091139274
West Virginia State Total10111391457109310
Wisconsin State Total5042655348555353626742
Wyoming State Total767810673353
Total Cases Per Year8,0177,8697,7027,3176,9876,8856,9146,7187,6097,5146,587

*The following data represents sexual harassment charges filed from 2010-2020 with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies around the country that have a work-sharing agreement with the commission.*

Top Ten States for Sexual Harassment Charges

Below are the top ten states with the most sexual harassment cases per year between the years 2010-2020 as filed with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Texas

  • Texas averaged 794.9 sexual harassment cases per year between the years 2010-2020.
  • From 2010-2020, Texas made up 10.9 percent of all cases filed with the EEOC and the state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies.

Florida

  • Florida averaged 681.6 sexual harassment cases per year between the years 2010-2020.
  • From 2010-2020, Florida made up 9.3 percent of all cases filed with the EEOC and the state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies.

Georgia

  • Georgia averaged 408.4 sexual harassment cases per year between the years 2010-2020.
  • From 2010-2020, Georgia made up 5.6 percent of all cases filed with the EEOC and the state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies.

New York:

  • New York averaged 408.3 sexual harassment cases per year between the years 2010-2020.
  • From 2010-2020,  New York made up 5.6% of all cases filed with the EEOC and the state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies.

California

  • California averaged 398.7 sexual harassment cases per year between the years 2010-2020.
  • From 2010-2020, California made up 5.5 percent of all cases filed with the EEOC and the state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies.

Illinois

  • Illinois averaged 360.3 sexual harassment cases per year between the years 2010-2020.
  • From 2010-2020, Illinois made up 4.9 percent of all cases filed with the EEOC and the state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies.

Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania averaged 345 sexual harassment cases per year between the years 2010-2020.
  • From 2010-2020, Pennsylvania made up 4.7 percent of all cases filed with the EEOC and the state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies.

North Carolina

  • North Carolina averaged 298.4 sexual harassment cases per year between the years 2010-2020.
  • From 2010-2020,  North Carolina made up 4.1 percent of all cases filed with the EEOC and the state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies.

Ohio

  • Ohio averaged 282 sexual harassment cases per year between the years 2010-2020.
  • From 2010-2020,  Ohio made up 3.9 percent of all cases filed with the EEOC and the state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies.

Tennessee

  • Tennessee averaged 259.7 sexual harassment cases per year between the years 2010-2020.
  • From 2010-2020,  Tennessee made up 3.6 percent of all cases filed with the EEOC and the state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies.

*percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth*


Sources:
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 
The United States Merit Systems Protection Board
Association of American Universities
United States Government Accountability Office