In previous posts we have examined the basics of sexual harassment claims against employers. We have talked about the fact that to be a violation, there does not necessarily have to be a request for a quid pro quo exchange of sexual acts for career advancement or hiring; simply creating an intimidating or hostile working environment is often enough. Further, as Oklahoma lists sexual harassment as part and parcel of discrimination on the basis of sex, other employer behaviors, such as favoring one gender over another for promotion or other job-related perks are also violations of the law. But, just how prevalent is this kind of employer behavior in Oklahoma?
According to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), for fiscal year 2014, the last year for which such information is available, there were almost 1,300 total charges of discrimination filed with the commission from Oklahoma. Of those charges, 432 were based on sex or gender. This means that slightly over one-third of all discrimination complaints filed with the EEOC last year had to do with sexual harassment or discrimination. Only charges regarding retaliation and disability discrimination were more frequent in Oklahoma. Of course, some of those retaliation charges may be the result of complainants being retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment or discrimination as well.
The EEOC chart does show that the raw number of sexual discrimination charges have declined in general since 2009. However, this appears to be the result of an overall drop in discrimination complaints received by the agency from Oklahoma. Thus, the percentage of employer-related discrimination complaints that had to do with sex has remained fairly steady over that six-year period.
As can be seen, while sexual harassment and gender discrimination may not be as prevalent as it was 20 years ago, it is still a fairly major issue in Oklahoma.