Data Shows Breadth Of Sexual Harassment In Healthcare


By Les Masterson

More than 3,000 employees at medical and surgical hospitals filed sexual harassment charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) between 1995 and 2016.

The site highlighted more than 170,000 sexual harassment claims across multiple industries.

Other sectors of healthcare also faced sexual harassment claims, including nearly 2,000 in ambulatory healthcare services, more than 1,500 in nursing care facilities and more than 380 claims in physician offices.

The report underscores that sexual harassment goes well beyond the entertainment, media and government sectors making headlines in recent months.

In fact, the restaurant industry saw more than 10,000 reports between 1995 and 2016. The actual number is likely much higher. Victims often fear of being blacklisted by supervisors and companies if they report sexual harassment claims. The EEOC said workers in industries that rely on tips or rely on supervisors for shifts receive a higher proportion of sexual harassment both from supervisors and customers.

The claims about sexual harassment in healthcare aren’t new. Last year, a study found nearly one-third of women in academic medical faculties reported having experienced workplace sexual harassment. In that report, women also perceived and experienced more gender bias than men.

A 1994 report found that sexual harassment of nurses affected "nursing performance and productivity.” In that survey, more than 70% of female staff nurses reported sexual harassment by patients and coworkers. Nurses reported the harassment came in the way of sexual remarks and touching. Nurses said they often confronted patients in these situations, but were less likely to confront male colleagues.

That 1994 report suggested “nursing managers and executives must discover and eliminate sexual harassment in hospital work settings and create work cultures that discourage manifestation of sexually harassing behaviors.”

Now, 23 years later, the issue cuts across multiple industries and remains a problem. In response, both women and men confronted sexual harassment, misconduct and assault this year through the #metoo movement on social media. Their actions brought down huge names in entertainment, business and politics, shook up industries and brought the scourge of sexual harassment, misconduct and assault into the open.

On Thursday, TIME named "The Silence Breakers" who took on sexual assault and harassment as its Person of the Year for 2017.


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