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Survey finds widespread sexual harassment in legal profession

Legal professionals in California and worldwide too often have to cope with sexual harassment. A survey by the International Bar Association that collected nearly 7,000 respondents from people in 135 countries recorded widespread problems. Sexist comments and sexually charged jokes represented the top source of harassment as reported by 67.9% of respondents. Unwelcome physical contact such as brushing up against the body accounted for 48.6% of incidents that respondents experienced.

Overall, women had many more complaints about sexual harassment than men with 36.6% of women identifying themselves as victims compared to 7.4% of men. Responses from the people employed in the judiciary sector revealed an above-average presence of sexual harassment. Interestingly, zero men indicated that they had experienced mistreatment in the judiciary while 46.6% of their female colleagues had been made to feel uncomfortable at work.

Legal professionals within government agencies reported experiencing the highest levels of sexual harassment. Incidents were common among both women and men with positive response rates of 52.5% and 18.2% respectively. According to the survey, private law firms emerged as legal profession employers with the lowest harassment rates, but nearly one-third of the female staff experienced inappropriate behavior.

Violations of employment law could happen at any type of workplace. When discrimination or harassment threatens a person's emotional well-being or career, a conversation with an attorney may provide solutions. A person could describe what happened at work and learn from an attorney whether it might represent illegal conduct like sexual harassment or age discrimination. With legal support, a person may go forward with a formal complaint and potentially arrive at a settlement. An attorney might escalate legal action to the courtroom when a case cannot be resolved through other channels.

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