Sexual harassment is a big problem in the modern workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and state agencies handled a total of 11,364 sexual harassment charges in 2011 (the most recent combined reporting data). Of those cases, 26 percent were decided in favor of complainants, with employers of all sizes paying out $52.3 million in victim settlements in that year alone.
Sexual harassment can happen to, and be committed by, workers of any professional level or gender. It is a form of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that it is unlawful to harass a person in the workplace. However, this federal regulation applies only to employers with 15 or more employees, and even businesses that pass that threshold are not legally required to have an official sexual harassment policy.