With the strong political and popular support behind the #MeToo movement, one might suspect that the various agencies that handle sexual harassment complaints are seeing a rise in work. In some parts of the nation, this is certainly true, but not in all areas of the country — particularly Florida.
In the early summer months, the acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) stated that the #MeToo movement had not resulted in a spike in its statistics for sexual harassment complaints. However, this was probably because the movement did not hit its stride until October 2017. As such, the rise in EEOC sexual harassment and other complaints will probably no be seen in statistics until the end of the fiscal year, which arrives on Oct. 1, 2018.
Various state agencies have reported that they are struggling to keep up with an increase in employment-related lawsuits, and they are expanding their agencies to handle the load. New York City and Massachusetts, for example, have begun hiring investigators to help with the complaint volume. Other state agencies say that they are getting hit with more work than they can handle. The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, says that its workload has doubled compared to last year. The Idaho Human Rights Commission and Maine Human Rights Commission are having trouble dealing with the increase in work.
Curiously, the Florida Commission on Human Rights says that it has yet to experience an uptick in complaints, even though it has been bracing for the impact of a surge in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
Trends and statistics are certainly interesting, but no employee should ever wait until it becomes “popular” to stand up for their rights. No one should have to endure an employment situation that involves sexually harassing behavior.