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Polls look at experiences of workplace sexual harassment

While a number of women face harassment in the workplace, the design of polls may cause the percentages reporting harassment to differ. Survey timing as well as the wording, placement and order of questions may all account for differing answers. Furthermore, some women are uncomfortable answering questions about harassment. Pennsylvania employees may not always have the same ideas about what constitutes workplace harassment.

For example, a poll taken by the Barna Group in October 2017 found that 86 percent of women but only 70 percent of men felt that sexual comments about a person's body or looks was harassment. Texts or emails that were sexually explicit were regarded as harassment by 83 percent of women but 69 percent of men. Staring, whistling or winking was considered to be harassment by fewer than 33 percent of men or women. However, a poll from Economist/YouGov found that just 38 percent of men thought looking at a woman's breasts constituted harassment compared to 55 percent of women.

Other polls found women reporting harassment on the job in percentages ranging from 22 percent to 35 percent. An ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 30 percent of its female respondents said they had received unwanted sexual advances from male colleagues.

Sexual harassment may also include having sexually explicit materials in the workplace, lewd conversations or similar situations. An employee might want to talk to an attorney before reporting the incidents to a supervisor or human resources. If the employer does not investigate the reports, tries to protect other employees from the allegations, does not respond to the report or retaliates against the person who reported the harassment, the victim may want to file a lawsuit.

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