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A poll conducted last week by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal concluded that almost half of women polled have experienced an unwanted sexual advance or any form of sexual harassment in the workplace.
The poll follows the recent social media viral campaign “#MeToo” in which women came forward with their sexual misconduct stories. The hashtag was born amongst news stories and accusations about famous men in the media industry taking advantage of women wishing to advance their careers.
The survey also found that two-thirds of Americans believe sexual harassment is a widespread problem. Large quantities of both men and women say that the “recent spat” of news reports about misconduct changed how they think about the issue.
The poll revealed that approximately 41 percent of men in the workplace admit that they've seen women being mistreated at work.
The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) claims that women in lower paid jobs, usually minimum-wage employment, are more likely to experience harassment on the job.
The NWLC also notes that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. As a result, when it occurs on the job it violates the laws against sex discrimination in the workplace, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Sexual harassment is not always motivated by sexual desire. The NWLC considers sexual harassment to be anything from requests for sexual favors to creating a hostile work environment.
According to an NWLC survey, few victims of harassment actually make a formal complaint to their employer. Around 70-90% of cases never get addressed because women say they are scared of losing their job, not being believed, the embarrassment or general shame, and genuine fear about the person they’re up against.