Individuals working in the legal field are far from immune to sexual harassment, even though it is assumed that those engaging in such behavior must know that this is illegal. A recent survey of nearly 7,000 lawyers and other legal field employees by the International Bar Association (IBA) found that 36.6 percent of women and 7.4 percent of men experienced workplace sexual harassment. The study, which involved 135 countries, found that legal employers had a great effect on sexual harassment rates.
Those working in the government’s legal sectors reported much higher rates of sexual harassment than comparable private sector employees. More than half of female government legal employees reported experiencing sexual harassment, along with 18 percent of male workers. When it comes to the judiciary, no men reported such behavior, but 46.6 percent of female employees did.
Attorneys working as in-house legal counsel for corporations or organizations experience a high level of sexual harassment. Female in-house attorneys report a harassment level of 42 percent, and the same holds true for nine percent of male lawyers in an in-house attorney role.
While females working in private law firms report fewer sexual harassment incidents than women in other types of legal work, the levels are still high. Approximately one-third of female employees in law firms say they have been subject to sexual harassment, along with seven percent of males. When it comes to sexual harassment, the size of the law firm appears irrelevant. Reports ranged from 22 percent, at 51 to 100 partner firms, while the lowest was 17 percent at five to 10 partner firms.
Common Forms of Sexual Harassment
The most common forms of sexual harassment include sexist comments, sexually suggestive comments, and feeling uncomfortable by the way colleagues looked at an employee. Roughly 50 percent of those responding said they experienced some type of physical contact, including patting, pinching, or unwanted brushing against them. A quarter of respondents have been propositioned sexually, and 22 percent say they have been kissed or fondled. Sexual assault or rape occurred to three percent of respondents.
Sexual Harassment Underreported
According to the survey, 75 percent of sexual harassment incidents go unreported. In the legal field, as in most other occupations, the reasons for not reporting sexual harassment include the status of the harasser and professional retribution for filing a complaint. When people do not think anything will happen to a perpetrator and the workplace culture accepts such behavior, they see little reason for filing a report.
Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Help Victims of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
If you or a loved one was a victim of workplace sexual harassment, you need the services of the experienced Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Located in Pennsauken, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we serve individuals throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and South Jersey. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999 today.