Sexual harassment charges make up 30% of all charges EEOC gets in Arkansas

Sexual harassment charges make up 30% of all charges EEOC gets in Arkansas

There's been a dark spot in Hollywood recently that, according to experts, is a spot that's found across the country.

The news surrounding Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment of multiple actresses and people in the film industry has started a national conversation.

"It's not all sexual harassment but we get thousands of sexual harassment charges nationwide, every year," said Bil Cash, Little Rock Area Director for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

He says many people fear the repercussions, especially if it's coming from a superior.

"The problem comes up, similar to the allegations we've seen with Mr. Weinstein, what happens when the alleged harasser is the boss?" Cash asked.

The EEOC asks for companies to issue policies where everybody is equally held accountable, so no one is nervous to report incorrect behavior.

"We need to be open about these things,” said Cash. “We need to have transparency, people need to be able to bring these things forward without fear of any retribution."

Here in Arkansas, Cash says the Natural State sees a couple hundred sexual harassment charges a year, which doesn't include three-fourths of people who are being harassed and aren't saying anything.

"It's not just a problem in the state of Arkansas - it's a national crisis that we're dealing with," said Lakese Henry, Assistant Director of Women and Children First, an organization that helps women who've been subject to harassment, assault or domestic violence.

She says the news out of Hollywood is why people need to be more aware of harassment in the workplace.

"It just tells us that we need to continue to educate, not only the individuals that we serve here, but our community as well," Henry said.

According to the EEOC, roughly 30 percent of all charges in the U.S. in 2016 were sexual harassment charges.

That percentage is around the same amount of charges filed just in Arkansas.

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