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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), fueled by awareness created by the #MeToo movement, has seen a more than 50 percent spike in sexual harassment lawsuits over fiscal year 2017, according to a report released this past week.

eeoc-sexual-harassment-lawsuits-on-the-riseThe report, What You Should Know: EEOC Leads the Way in Preventing Workplace Harassment, recognizes key milestones of the agency to actively enforce the law, to educate and train workers and employers, and to share its expertise on new solutions to reduce harassing conduct in the workplace.

“I am so proud of the EEOC staff who stepped up to the heightened demand of the #MeToo movement to make clear that workplace harassment is not only unlawful, it is simply not acceptable,” said Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. “As the agency with expertise, as the enforcer of the law, and as an educator, the EEOC has continued to lead the way to achieve the goal of reducing the level of harassment and to promote harassment-free workplaces.”

Based on preliminary data, in FY 2018:

  • The EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits, including 41 that included allegations of sexual harassment. That reflects more than a 50 percent increase in suits challenging sexual harassment over fiscal year 2017.
  • In addition, charges filed with the EEOC alleging sexual harassment increased by more than 12 percent from fiscal year 2017.
  • Overall, the EEOC recovered nearly $70 million for the victims of sexual harassment through litigation and administrative enforcement in FY 2018, up from $47.5 million in FY 2017.

The EEOC’s training program, “Respectful Workplaces,” which teaches skills for employees and supervisors to promote and contribute to respect in the workplace, has been in high demand since it was launched in October 2017. More than 9,000 employees and supervisors in the private, public and federal sector work forces participated in Respectful Workplaces sessions this past fiscal year. An additional 13,000 employees participated in EEOC’s anti-harassment compliance training, according to the agency.