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Black women more likely than white women to be sexually harassed

A study that examined complaints of sexual harassment made from 1997 to 2016 indicated that black women may be more likely than white women to face sexual harassment at work. The study found that reports of harassment overall dropped by 40% during the period studied. New York employers are required by law to provide a workplace free of quid pro quo, or hostile work environment sexual harassment, but these remain problems in many companies.

The study looked at data gathered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and made two conclusions. The first was that the number of sexual harassment claims goes up as the unemployment rate increases. The authors of the study said men are more likely to sexually harass others when they feel less secure at work. The increased rate of unemployment may create a greater need to assert strength and dominance.

The second conclusion was that the increased awareness of sexual harassment benefited white women more than women of other races. The study said the racial disparity among sexual harassment victims showed that the harassers are aware of power dynamics and choose to target those who are more vulnerable. The number of sexual harassment claims reported to the EEOC dropped to 9,600 in 2016 from 16,000 in 1997. Reports by white women dropped by 70% while reports by black women dropped by only 38%.

People in New York who have experienced workplace sexual harassment might have legal claims for monetary damages or other relief. An attorney with experience in employment law might examine the facts of a case and put together a case for trial. A lawyer might present the facts of the situation to the employer in a way that moves the case toward settlement or draft and file a complaint for damages in court.

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