Workplace Harassment in Higher Ed: A Review of Sexual Harassment and Assault Claims

February 2019 | 0 Comments  Average 4.5 out of 5

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About This Resource

Workplace sexual misconduct continues to be as problematic for higher education institutions as for other employers, especially in light of the rapid increase in #MeToo allegations. United Educators (UE) reviewed and analyzed 102 claims related to sexual harassment or sexual assault among higher education employees that we received from January 2013 through December 2017.

Almost 60 percent of the claims incurred monetary losses for UE and our members, and those losses totaled over $10.3 million. Sexual misconduct allegations were made most frequently against faculty and administrators, at 22 percent and 13 percent, respectively. The negative effects of harassment and assault go far beyond adverse economic consequences, threatening damage to employee morale and productivity as well as an institution’s reputation.

This publication and the supplemental resources below focus on the UE claims data and our recommendations for improving institutional prevention of and response to sexual misconduct in the higher education workplace.

Key Findings

Workplace Harassment Landing Page Infographic
Of the 102 claims UE analyzed, 87 percent alleged sexual harassment, and 49 percent included retaliation claims. Nearly a quarter (21 percent) involved serial perpetrators, and 13 percent alleged sexual assault. View other highlights from these claims and see UE’s recommendations for mitigating similar risks.

Key Findings From Workplace Harassment in Higher Ed »

Supplemental Resources

  • Checklists: Workplace Anti-Discrimination Policies and Response: UE’s claims analysis demonstrates the costs of campus workplace sexual misconduct. Use these checklists to assess your institution’s antidiscrimination policies and response to complaints.
  • Scenarios: Workplace Sexual Harassment and Assault Claims: Left unchecked, sexual harassment and sexual assault in the higher education workplace violate federal and state law, damage employee morale and productivity, and can seriously injure an institution’s reputation. Review common issues that arose in the 102 claims UE studied.
  • Tips: Training Faculty on Workplace Sexual Harassment: Many institutions find it difficult to educate faculty about workplace sexual harassment, but UE’s claims experience shows this training is critical. Discover recommended actions that can help schools reach faculty and some administrators.
  • PowerPoint: These slides, which include key data and lessons learned from the 102 claims analyzed, are designed to support an instructor-led workshop or presentation.

Additional Resources


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