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Senators Call For Government to Study Economic Impacts of Workplace Sexual Harassment

by Countable | 1.31.18

What’s the story?

What is the economic cost of sexual harassment in the workplace? No one has ever attempted to find out, but now twenty-two senators want the Department of Labor to try.

According to Buzzfeed, a group of senators led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) sent a letter to Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and Bureau of Labor Statistics Acting Commissioner William J. Wiatrowski requesting that the Department beginning compiling data on the economic effects of sexual harassment.

They noted independent studies which have found that women who suffer workplace sexual harassment are likely to experience mental and physical health effects. They are also more likely to change or leave jobs in order to avoid hostile and dangerous work environments, which effects their potential earning capacity over their lifetime.

The senators point to studies that estimate at least 30 percent of working women experience workplace sexual harassment, or 33 million women across America.

The costs do not, they say, simply fall to the employee either:

"When a worker changes jobs or industries, there are costs for the employer as well as the worker…employers have to cover replacement costs for a new worker…Moreover, it is a loss to society. Right now, we do not know how many gifted workers and innovators were unable to contribute to our country because they were forced to choose between working in a harassment-free workplace and their career.”

The senators note that, despite independent studies, there has been no "exact accounting of the extent of this discrimination and the magnitude of its costs on the labor force", which would allow them to formulate policy to adequately address this widespread problem.

There has been no official response from the Department of Labor to the letter.

What do you think?

Should the Department of Labor compile data on the economic effects of workplace sexual harassment? What policies would you like to see enacted on the federal level to address this issue?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(110)
  • Truly
    01/31/2018
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    They should have a lot of data right on hand. Start with the fund the Senate uses to cover up their own sexual harassment crimes.

    Like (71)
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  • Joann
    01/31/2018
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    I don’t believe it’s necessary to study the impact- end it & stop it - zero tolerance

    Like (52)
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  • Ben
    01/31/2018
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    Shame, the only reason the government cares about people being harassed is when money is involved.

    Like (37)
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  • Jim2423
    01/31/2018
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    This is not rocket 🚀 science so why is congress treating it like it is. Everyone knows when offenses have taken place, just management turns a blind eye. It does not matter if it is a government entity or civilian, sex offense is a sex offense and it needs to be addressed and not hidden under the carpet.

    Like (27)
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  • BeStrong
    01/31/2018
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    Dear Congress, a study? Cmon. There is no need to do a ROI. This is a Zero tolerance issue. I’ve seen your pending legislation re congressional harassment and ask, why is this bill only touching the tip of the predatory iceberg? The offending party would have to repay the Fed government? That’s not enough! There is nothing about termination and nothing about a mandatory reporting to law enforcement. Do your job!

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  • Shai
    01/31/2018
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    I find Senator Gillibrand’s call for a study frustrating and depressing. Putting a dollar value on profits a business or corporation may lose is the only way she feels the Republicans will do anything about sexual harassment and violence? Both happen everyday to women and not just in the workplace. We don’t need a study - we need accountability and repercussions. We need safe space for women (and men) to come forward to tell their story where the victim won’t be blamed and their job won’t be at risk. The halls of Congress would be a good place to start.

    Like (14)
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  • Bc
    02/01/2018
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    DO NOT WASTE MY TAX DOLLARS. ZERO TOLERANCE. NO STUDY NEEDED. AND CONGRESSMEN PAYING TO SILENCE SEXUAL ABUSES SHOULD BE CHARGED, PAY BACK THE MONEY, AND BE CONVICTED. IF SOMEONE PAID QUIET MONEY, THEY ARE GUILTY. LOCK THEM UP. CONGRESS HAS NO AUTHORITY FOR SUCH A STUDY. NO. NO. NO.

    Like (9)
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  • Alain
    01/31/2018
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    I believe this is a waste of time and tax payer dollars and furthermore the Federal government has no constitutional authority over this.

    Like (7)
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  • Gail
    01/31/2018
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    I agree with others, this is not rocket science. Just get a ZERO tolerance approach, get your own house in order & DO NOT USE TAXPAYER Money to settle any of the claims!! We AlLREADY know it has been costly to public & private companies as well as government! JUST MAKE SURE IT DOES NOT CONTINUE!

    Like (7)
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  • RadicalModerate
    02/01/2018
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    It’s important that we gather as much raw data on costs of sociopathic “gate keeper” types in all capacities. I don’t just mean empty dollars. Cost isn’t an effective measure of the damage to humanity caused by the predators we choose to lead us.

    Like (6)
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  • Phylos
    01/31/2018
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    Already laws against this. Waste of time.

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  • John
    01/31/2018
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    Yes, the government should do a study into the effects/costs of harassment in the workplace. Perhaps a dollar amount would act as impetus for tougher laws banning it. Or, at least, shame businesses and/or governments into action.

    Like (5)
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  • Deirdre
    02/01/2018
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    OMG! For real! Of course there is economic issues in the workplace due to sexual harassment. Who can work to their full potential when there is a predator preying on them!

    Like (3)
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  • Patty
    01/31/2018
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    Don’t study the economic impact of sexual harrasement. Just end it!

    Like (2)
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  • Debi
    02/04/2018
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    It’s bad on any conceivable level. If substantiated, immediate removal from office and forfeiture of government paid benefits. Under NO circumstances whatsoever shall settlements be paid with taxpayer or campaign war chest funds. If the Koch Brothers & the Mercers want to fund that behavior, they should be held as criminally accountable as the predator they are protecting. Study completed.

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  • Tambi
    02/01/2018
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    We could start with the Iowa GOP legislators so taxpayers are not on the hook for the sexual harassment lawsuit we are being expected to pay. GOP lawmakers themselves should pay this bill.

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  • marlene
    02/01/2018
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    This is a good first step and had needed to be done years ago. How many women have gone through their lives damaged, by men who think it’s OK to push themselves on you without the prior consent. Especially men, in positions of power in the work place who have the capacity to remove your earnings. Most women want to go to work do their job and go home. They’re not asking to be solicited by their bosses and living in fear they won’t have a job. Thank you for taking action.

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  • RadicalModerate
    02/01/2018
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    Powerful people get ahead in this world in part because of their willingness to destroy other people for money or sport. We have to stop rewarding this type of defective morality.

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  • Bc
    02/01/2018
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    WASTE OF TAX DOLLARS! Wait for #ReleaseTheMemo and interview the guilty.

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  • Fg
    02/01/2018
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    Stupid idea, start with Congress than after you publish results WITH NAMES. Than waste more money in industry, Laughable will not happen

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