A new MSPB report on sexual harassment in the government found that some types of harassing behavior are much more common than others, with unwanted sexual attention and gender harassment more common than sexual coercion.
The form of harassment most frequently cited by women was unwelcome invasion of personal space, experienced within the prior two years by 12.3 percent. Just under a tenth of women said they had experienced at least one of: exposure to sexually oriented conversation; unwelcome sexual teasing/jokes/comments/questions; and unwelcome sexually suggestive looks or gestures.
Among men, the most frequently cited were exposure to sexually oriented conversations, 5.4 percent. About 3 percent cited derogatory or unprofessional terms related to sex or gender; unwelcome invasion of personal space; and unwelcome teasing, jokes, comments or questions.
Least frequent, cited by less than 1 percent of both genders, were actual or attempted sexual assault. Between about 1 and 3 percent of women, and only about 1 percent of men, reported experiencing pressure for dates, intrusion into personal life, and/or offers of preferential treatment or pressure for sexual favors.
The differences in types of harassment occurring in the federal workplace “may be due in part to the greater agreement among employees that sexual coercion is egregious sexual harassment and therefore, misconduct that is likely to be punished,” the MSPB said.