Category Archives: Sexual Harassment

Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional Authorities, 2009–11

Source: Allen J. Beck, Ramona R. Rantala, Jessica Rexroat, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report, NCJ 243904, January 23, 2014

From the abstract:
Presents counts of nonconsensual sexual acts, abusive sexual contacts, staff sexual misconduct, and staff sexual harassment reported to correctional authorities in adult prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities in 2009, 2010, and 2011. An in-depth examination of substantiated incidents is also presented, covering the number and characteristics of victims and perpetrators, location, time of day, nature of the injuries, impact on the victims, and sanctions imposed on the perpetrators. Companion tables in Survey of Sexual Violence in Adult Correctional Facilities, 2009–11 – Statistical Tables, include counts of types of sexual victimization reported for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, state prison systems, facilities operated by the U.S. military and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, sampled jail jurisdictions, privately operated jails and prisons, and jails in Indian country. Data are from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Survey of Sexual Violence (SSV), which has annually collected official records on allegations and substantiated incidents of inmate-on-inmate and staff-on-inmate sexual victimization since 2004.

– Correctional administrators reported 8,763 allegations of sexual victimization in prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities in 2011, a statistically significant increase over the number of allegations reported in 2009 (7,855) and 2010 (8,404).
– About half of all allegations (51%) involved nonconsensual sexual acts (the most serious, including penetration) or abusive sexual contacts (less serious, including unwanted touching, grabbing, and groping) of inmates with other inmates. Nearly half (49%) involved staff sexual misconduct (any sexual act directed toward an inmate by staff) or sexual harassment (demeaning verbal statements of a sexual nature) directed toward inmates.
– In 2011, 902 allegations of sexual victimization (10%) were substantiated (i.e., determined to have occurred upon investigation). The total number of substantiated incidents has not changed significantly since 2005 (885).
– Victims were physically injured in 18% of substantiated incidents of inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization, compared to less than 1% of incidents of staff-on-inmate victimization.
– More than half (54%) of all substantiated incidents of staff sexual misconduct and a quarter (26%) of all incidents of staff sexual harassment were committed by female staff.
– Overall, more than three-quarters (78%) of staff perpetrators were fired or resigned. Nearly half (45%) were arrested, referred for prosecution, or convicted.
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Survey of Sexual Violence in Adult Correctional Facilities, 2009–11 – Statistical Tables
Source: Allen J. Beck, Ramona R. Rantala, Jessica Rexroat, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Statistical Tables, NCJ 244227, January 23, 2014
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Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 34K)

Zero Tolerance Policies: Fortress or Paper Tiger?

Source: Robert M. Schwartz, Labor Notes, November 6, 2013

Bosses love zero tolerance policies. One arbitrator has called them “the last refuge of weak managers.” A zero tolerance policy provides that workers who commit a specified infraction will be immediately discharged with no consideration of the surrounding circumstances, the employee’s seniority, or the employee’s past record. Common zero tolerance offenses include positive drug tests, felony convictions, fighting, sexual harassment, failing to shut off equipment while repairing it, and incurring more than one motor vehicle accident within a limited period. If the union questions the policy, the employer is likely to cite contractual language giving it the right to issue rules and regulations. Overly broad zero tolerance policies can lead to grossly unfair punishments. …

…Labor arbitrators frequently rule that when a company policy conflicts with the contract, the policy is of no effect. For example, a zero tolerance policy might declare that anyone involved in a fight will be terminated no matter whether the employee was the aggressor or the victim. But if the employee was simply defending herself, did not use a weapon, and did not cause injury, an arbitrator will probably not sustain the employee’s discharge. Likewise, if an employee with a stellar record commits a minor infraction, just cause requires a penalty that will allow the employee to improve—despite the wording of a zero tolerance policy….

EEOC Enforcement and Litigation Statistics – FY 2012

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 2013

From the press release:
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that it received 99,412 private sector workplace discrimination charges during fiscal year 2012, down slightly from the previous year. The year-end data also show that retaliation (37,836), race (33,512) and sex discrimination (30,356), which includes allegations of sexual harassment and pregnancy were, respectively, the most frequently filed charges. The fiscal year runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. …

…Additionally, the EEOC achieved a second consecutive year of a significant reduction in the charge inventory, something not seen since fiscal year 2002. Due to a concerted effort, the EEOC reduced the pending inventory of private sector charges by 10 percent from fiscal year 2011, bringing the inventory level to 70,312. This inventory reduction is the second consecutive decrease of almost ten percent in charge inventory. Also this fiscal year, the agency obtained the largest amount of monetary recovery from private sector and state and local government employers through its administrative process – $365.4 million.

In fiscal year 2012, the EEOC filed 122 lawsuits including 86 individual suits, 26 multiple-victim suits (with fewer than 20 victims) and 10 systemic suits. The EEOC’s legal staff resolved 254 lawsuits for a total monetary recovery of $44.2 million. …

Sexual Harassment, Workplace Authority, and the Paradox of Power

Source: Heather McLaughlina, Christopher Uggena, Amy Blackstoneb, American Sociological Review, Vol. 77 no. 4, August 2012
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From the abstract:
Power is at the core of feminist theories of sexual harassment, although it has rarely been measured directly in terms of workplace authority. Popular characterizations portray male supervisors harassing female subordinates, but power-threat theories suggest that women in authority may be more frequent targets. This article analyzes longitudinal survey data and qualitative interviews from the Youth Development Study to test this idea and to delineate why and how supervisory authority, gender nonconformity, and workplace sex ratios affect harassment. Relative to nonsupervisors, female supervisors are more likely to report harassing behaviors and to define their experiences as sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can serve as an equalizer against women in power, motivated more by control and domination than by sexual desire. Interviews point to social isolation as a mechanism linking harassment to gender nonconformity and women’s authority, particularly in male-dominated work settings.