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Cornell Report: Workplace Sexual Harassment Widespread In New York

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) - The co-author of a new report on quid pro quo sexual harassment in the workplace says while there is a renewed general commitment to stronger accountability, much more needs to be done.

KC Wagner from Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations School is a contributor to the report, called "Stopping Sexual Harassment in the Empire State: Past, Present, and a Possible Future."

She says findings drawn from the 2018 Empire State Poll, a statewide survey conducted by the Cornell Survey Research Institute, finds millions of New Yorkers have fallen victim to sexual harassment in the workplace.

"In putting together quid pro quo and hostile work environment, 31 percent of women and 18.9 percent of men experience it, and that translates into 3.9 million people," she said.

Wagner says the report concludes a holistic approach is needed to address an issue of this magnitude.

That includes treating workplace sexual harassment as a deeply embedded institutional problem rather than a matter of “a few bad apples,” solvable by punishing individual culprits.

Wagner says solutions to the problem must include having survivors at the center of responses that advance culture change in the workplace.

"So there are many levels of intervention that need to happen so we can break the silos and have a much more holistic, comprehensive approach," she said.

Click here to view the report.