Is there any end to the havoc the recession can wreak?
According to data by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Bureau of labour Statistics, as job losses have increased, so have the number of sexual harassment claims by men.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission counted 2,094 sexual harassment claims filed by men in 2009 — in increase of 12% from 2006. They also comprised a greater percentage of overall claims, rising from 15.4% of claims in 2006 to 16.4% in 2009.
The increase may be correlated to the onset of the recession. In the period from September 2008 to January 2010, 4.4 million men lost their jobs, nearly twice the number of women. Overall sexual harassment filings climbed 11% during the downturn.
WSJ: Employment lawyers say that when jobs are harder to obtain, many forms of litigation, especially discrimination, increase.
In the past, victims of harassment—especially men—might have “voted with their feet,” and found new jobs rather than turning to the legal system, says Greg Grant, an attorney with Shulman Rogers in Washington, D.C.
The anecdotal surprise buried in the story: the increase in total claims by men is matched by an increase in man-on-man harassment claims.
WSJ: EEOC doesn’t track the sex of the alleged harasser, but [EEOC senior attorney adviser Justine] Lisser says the EEOC has observed an increasing number of men alleging sexual harassment from other male co-workers—and not as many cases of men accusing female bosses or co-workers of sexual harassment. Employment attorneys have also seen an increase in man-on-man harassment complaints.
But what, other than lack of financial desperation as dire as it may be now, has prevented these claims from coming forward in previous years (or prevented the incidents from occurring)? Money quote: “When [employment attorney Ron Chapman] explains male-on-male sexual harassment claims to most people, the overwhelming response is something like: “Why didn’t the guy just hit him upside the head?” he says.”
Not to be flippant about claims of sexual harassment, but it seems two conclusions can be drawn: the recession has made men more harassing towards their own sex, but more willing to settle disputes in a civilized way.
I’d call that a draw.
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