Sexual harassment is a significant issue that can interfere with a worker’s ability to perform the tasks required of his or her position, as well as result in significant emotional damage. While sexual harassment pervades virtually every industry, statistically some industries report higher rates of sexual harassment and assault complaints than others. If you work in a high-risk industry, learn where to go for assistance if you are faced with sexual harassment at work.
Where Does Sexual Harassment Occur Most Often?
A statistical report published by the Center for American Progress in 2017 found that industries with high numbers of low earners and predominantly female workers reported sexual harassment the most often. Power imbalances between male and female workers in certain industries increase the odds of sexual harassment behaviors and a workplace culture that makes harassment acceptable. Gender biases also increase the odds of female workforces being targeted for sexual harassment and discrimination.
The data, collected from sexual harassment complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the last 10 years, found that the following industries were most likely to report harassment:
- Accommodation and food services (14.23 percent)
- Retail trade (13.44 percent)
- Manufacturing (11.72 percent)
- Healthcare and social assistance (11.48 percent)
- Administrative and support, waste management and remediation (6.92 percent)
- Public administration (6.48 percent)
- Professional, scientific and technical services (5.73 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing (4.94 percent)
- Finance and insurance (3.98 percent)
- Educational services (3.98 percent)
The remaining industries listed all fell below 3 percent, including information, construction, wholesale trade, real estate, art and entertainment, and agriculture. From 2005 to 2015, the EEOC processed more than 85,000 sexual harassment complaints. Over a quarter of these complaints came from industries with service-sector employees. These industries tend to employ female workers in low-wage positions. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over 50 percent of workers in accommodation and food services are women.
Who Are the Victims of Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Women make up most of the victims involved in workplace sexual harassment complaints. Women of color are especially at risk of being harassed, discriminated against and sexually assaulted at work. The EEOC reports that 78.2 percent of all sexual harassment charges filed from 2018 to 2021 were made by women. In addition, of the 1,945 sexual harassment charges that were filed concurrently with race discrimination charges, 71.2 percent designated their race as Black/African American. Women may not come forward with sexual harassment claims out of fear of retaliation, such as losing their jobs, as well as fear of not being believed.
Kansas’s Top Industries
Kansas is listed as one of the top 10 states with the most sexual harassment charges per 10,000 population ages 16 and older, according to the EEOC. Kansas has a sexual harassment case rate of 0.80, placing it behind only Alabama (1.00) and Mississippi (0.93). The largest industries in Kansas coincide with many of the top industries for sexual harassment complaints. They are:
- Healthcare (14 percent)
- Manufacturing (12.7 percent)
- Retail (10.9 percent)
- Education (10.6 percent)
- Construction (6.3 percent)
- Hospitality (6.3 percent)
- Professional (5.7 percent)
- Finance and insurance (4.6 percent)
- Other services (4.6 percent)
- Government (4.5 percent)
- Transportation (3.7 percent)
Industries in Kansas that mainly employ women – especially women of color and minorities – and do not pay their employees above minimum wage are statistically the most dangerous in terms of sexual harassment and assault. If you experience sexual harassment in any industry or workplace in Kansas, get help from the attorneys at DRZ Law. We offer free and completely confidential case consultations, where you can tell your story and learn your legal rights. We will believe you.