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This report maps current patterns of workplace sexual harassment and their impact in New York State. It also provides a broader frame for understanding how efforts to confront sexual and gender-based harassment and assault have evolved over time, and charts possible directions for future organizing, policy, and research in New York and beyond.

The findings presented here are drawn from the 2018 Empire State Poll, an annual statewide survey of 800 New Yorkers conducted by the Cornell Survey Research Institute. Questions added to the survey reflecting existing legal definitions of workplace sexual harassment reveal the following:

  • 10.9 percent of New York residents have experienced quid pro quo workplace sexual harassment, and 21.9 percent have experienced workplace sexual harassment that created a hostile work environment; 31.1 percent of women and 18.9 percent of men have experienced at least one of these forms of harassment.

  • 13.9 percent of people of color and people of Hispanic origin have experienced quid pro quo workplace sexual harassment, as opposed to 8.5 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

  • 38.9 percent of those experiencing at least one form of workplace sexual harassment say it impacted their work or careers; 48.9 percent who experienced quid pro quo harassment reported such an impact.

  • 83.4 percent of New York residents think their leaders should do more to address workplace sexual harassment. There is notable variation by politics and ideology, but regardless of worldview, strong majorities think leaders should do more.

In addition to sharing the survey findings, the report discusses experiences and responses of survivors and how they are shaped by different identities and relations of power. It highlights black women’s leadership in propelling wide-reaching shifts in law and culture; efforts initiated by diverse survivors to effect change in specific industries; and culture change work engaging men and women as allies.


Suggested Citation
Pinto, S., Wagner, K. C., & West, Z.. (2019). Stopping sexual harassment in the Empire State: Past, present, and a possible future [Electronic version]. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, ILR School, The Worker Institute. Retrieved [insert date] from Cornell University, ILR School site: