18% of L.A. City Workers Say in Survey They Were Sexually Harassed

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Nearly 18 percent of Los Angeles city employees who responded to a recent survey said they have been sexually harassed in the workplace, while more than half of employees who said they have been subjected to harassment didn't report the incident to anyone, it was reported today.

The anonymous survey released by the Personnel Department is believed to be the first citywide poll of employees on sexual harassment in decades, the Los Angeles Times reported.

City Council members Paul Krekorian and Nury Martinez requested a survey of the city's 45,000 employees last fall amid a nationwide focus on unwanted sexual attention in the workplace. Atotal of 4,205 employees responded to the survey, a ``strong sample response,'' said Jody Yoxsimer, an assistant manager who worked on the project.

Krekorian told The Times in an interview Monday that he was troubled by the high number of employees who said they didn't report harassment.

``There is a problem in our workforce,'' Krekorian said. ``It's more pervasive than we thought.''

Martinez said in a statement that the ``results confirmed my belief that we have to educate our employees on how to report incidents of harassment."

A total of 745 people, or about 17.7 percent of those who answered the survey, reported they had been sexually harassed on the job. Responding to the same question, 639 employees, or 15.2 percent, said they had witnessed sexual harassment in the workplace.

In response to another question, 929 people out of 1,674 who responded said they had been subjected to harassment but never reported it -- a total that exceeds the 745 who said they been harassed. Asked about the discrepancy, Yoxsimer said the higher figure may include employees who witnessed other people being harassed.

More than 48 percent of respondents said they didn't know the contact information, or where to find it, for their department's ``sexual harassment counselor,'' defined as the employee who can receive claims.

City officials are expected to discuss the report at a committee hearing.

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