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Gatekeepers blamed for sexual harassment in media industry

A recent survey conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation identified the entertainment and media industry as a sexual harassment hot spot. The center's telephone survey of 3,213 college-educated employees revealed that 41 percent of women employed in media or entertainment jobs reported experiences of sexual harassment. The CTI co-president said that people's careers in this industry depend largely on the favor of gatekeepers who control access to influence, visibility and higher pay. The results of the CTI survey could be of interest to many workers in New York, which is home to several media companies.

Powerful figures who run media organizations exert a large measure of control about who gets to advance, CTI's co-president said. The vital importance of relationships with upper management appears to have made the industry a leader in sexual harassment in white-collar occupations.

Data collected by the survey indicated that of the women harassed, 72 percent were targeted by individuals more senior in their careers. Among men who experienced unwanted sexual advances or lewd comments, 57 percent of them reported that it came from other men at work.

The 72-page report from CTI included suggestions for reducing sexual harassment at work and investigating complaints. The authors of the study wrote that companies often do not know how to respond. They recommended that companies publish clear policies with reporting procedures. Furthermore, data about complaints and investigations should be tracked in a transparent manner.

A person dealing with workplace harassment could suffer major career damage. That's why the victim of such harassment may want to hire an attorney with experience in employment law. A case evaluation could uncover evidence of illegal conduct that might warrant compensation.

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