Race, threat and workplace sexual harassment

The dynamics of harassment in the United States, 1997–2016

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Sexual harassment is a persistent problem for women in the workplace. Prior research has explored the effects of sexual harassment on the psychological, physical and economic wellbeing of the victims. Despite the extensive research exploring the causes, most studies focus on micro-level factors, and few studies examine the role of macro-level factors on sexual harassment in the workplace. Using public Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) data and a separate dataset of individual level workplace sexual harassment complaints, we test two hypotheses about sexual harassment in American workplaces. First, we show that the decline in workplace sexual harassment complaints has been uneven, with African-American women experiencing an increased relative risk of sexual harassment in the workplace, even as overall reported harassment complaints are down. Second, we show that economic threat — operationalized in this case through unemployment rates — drives increases in sexual harassment of women in American workplaces. While the data on harassment complaints is limited, data strongly suggests that the changes are driven by shifts in underlying levels of harassment, rather than changes in the likelihood of reporting harassment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGender, Work and Organization
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

sexual harassment
workplace
threat
complaint
Sexual harassment
Harassment
Threat
Work place
unemployment rate
employment opportunity
macro level
micro level
economics
cause
Complaints

Keywords

  • gender
  • inequality
  • race
  • sexual harassment

Cite this

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title = "Race, threat and workplace sexual harassment: The dynamics of harassment in the United States, 1997–2016",
abstract = "Sexual harassment is a persistent problem for women in the workplace. Prior research has explored the effects of sexual harassment on the psychological, physical and economic wellbeing of the victims. Despite the extensive research exploring the causes, most studies focus on micro-level factors, and few studies examine the role of macro-level factors on sexual harassment in the workplace. Using public Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) data and a separate dataset of individual level workplace sexual harassment complaints, we test two hypotheses about sexual harassment in American workplaces. First, we show that the decline in workplace sexual harassment complaints has been uneven, with African-American women experiencing an increased relative risk of sexual harassment in the workplace, even as overall reported harassment complaints are down. Second, we show that economic threat — operationalized in this case through unemployment rates — drives increases in sexual harassment of women in American workplaces. While the data on harassment complaints is limited, data strongly suggests that the changes are driven by shifts in underlying levels of harassment, rather than changes in the likelihood of reporting harassment.",
keywords = "gender, inequality, race, sexual harassment",
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Race, threat and workplace sexual harassment : The dynamics of harassment in the United States, 1997–2016. / Cassino, Dan; Besen-Cassino, Yasemin.

In: Gender, Work and Organization, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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