Harassment Doesn’t Pay

Multimillion dollar awards to plaintiffs in sexual harassment cases are on the rise, forcing large corporations to sit up and take note. In 1995, a jury ordered Wal-Mart to pay a plaintiff $50 million in damages, the largest award to date in a sexual harassment suit. And last April, in what could be one of the largest harassment suits on record, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a suit against Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America. With the current trend, the automaker could find itself out of a large sum of money.

PAYING THE PRICE FOR HARASSMENT

Since the early ’90s, sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC have more
than doubled, while damages paid to plaintiffs have more than tripled

Year

Cases Filed

1990

6,127

1991

6,883

1992

10,532

1993

11,908

1994

14,420

1995

15,549

1996

15,342*

* Premilinary figures
Source: Source:Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1996

MONEY AWARDED

Year Award
1990 $7.7 million
1991 $7.1 million
1992 $12.7 million
1993 $25.1 million
1994 $22.5 million
1995 $24.8 million
1996 $27.8 million
* Premilinary figures
Source: Source:Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1996

ARE COMPANIES DOING ENOUGH?

How firms deal with sexual harassment claims, according to a recent survey

Offender reprimanded: 35.1%
Mediation for parties: 35.0%
Accuser dismissed: 16.0%
Allegation dismissed: 15.0%
Accuser transferred: 3.9%
Offender transferred: 3.0%
(Percentages do not add up to 100%)
Source: Sexual Harassment: Policies and Procedures, American Management Association, New York, 1996
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