Survey Reveals NIH Sexual Harassment
A recent survey analyzing data from around 16,000 employees of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that 1 in 5 experienced gender harassment while at work during the last year. This NIH sexual harassment affected men, women, transgenders, and other gender identities.
About Sexual Harassment
In 2017, close to 13,000 Americans filed sexual harassment complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). There are different forms of sexual harassment. Sometimes, this creates a hostile work environment when there is severe and ongoing sexually offensive behavior. There are different liability rules, but federal, state and municipal laws clearly prohibit harassment based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Rampant NIH Sexual Harassment
The Interim Executive Report on the NIH Workplace Climate and Harassment Survey is part of a larger NIH effort to address sexual harassment and other behaviors on campus and across thousands of university-based grantees. Researchers sent almost 40,000 emails to employees and some NIH contractors. They received nearly 16,000 responses and found that 21.6% experienced harassment. Women reported higher rates of harassment than men. Also, 44.8% of transgender staff and those with other gender identities reported harassment.
However, unlike other industries, the normal sexual harassment experienced was “put-downs” versus unwanted sexual attention. Yet, 10% did experience it. What a majority did have in common was not reporting the harassment. If he or she did break the silence it was to a co-worker than an official representative. The reasoning was feeling the experience wasn’t serious enough to make it official. But, employees didn’t experience NIH sexual harassment as frequently as STEM students at universities. Many of these sexually harassed students experienced unwanted behavior by faculty or staff. Researchers think the 12-month limited window could be the reason why the percentage is lower.
Therefore, if you have experienced sexual harassment in any form in the workplace, you should contact a qualified employment attorney as soon as possible. If the harassment has not stopped after making a formal complaint with your employer, consulting a harassment lawyer is your best option. Your attorney will be able to provide further guidance and help build a case to end the harassment.