Question: Has there been a recent study of sexual harassment in the federal workplace?
Answer: The Merit Systems Protection Board is working on a report on that topic and recently issued preliminary findings from a survey it conducted last year.
It showed that 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men reported experiencing at least one occasion of sexual harassment over the previous two years — down from 44 percent and 19 percent, respectively, from a similar survey in 1994.
The most common types of harassment reported included unwelcome: invasion of personal space (12 percent of women, 3 percent of men); sexual jokes, teasing, comments or questions (9 and 3 percent); sexually suggestive looks or gestures (9 and 1 percent); and communications of a sexual nature (6 and 1 percent). Less common, reported by 3 percent or fewer of women and 1 percent of men, were pressure for dates, stalking, pressure for sexual favors, and actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.
“Although progress has clearly been made in reducing the frequency of sexual harassment, agencies need to continue working to educate employees about their rights and responsibilities in terms of their conduct in the workplace,” the MSPB said.