Global Employee Assistance Programs See Significant Rise in Reports of Workplace Sexual Harassment


Workplace Options’ evaluation of counseling cases reveals a 50% increase in proportion of workplace sexual harassment cases from January to December of 2017 with the growth continuing into 2018.


Cory Scott
800.699.8011 x 70087


Raleigh, N.C. (June 28, 2018)

In a recent review of more than 500,000 counseling cases from across the world, Workplace Options has found an increase in the proportion of employees using services to support them through workplace sexual harassment (WSH).

The analysis looked at cases where WSH was either a presenting or secondary issue and found an increase of 9% from 2016 to 2017 in the proportion of clients presenting with WSH. Furthermore, in the first five months alone of 2018, Workplace Options found an increase of 8% over the proportion of cases involving WSH in 2017, a figure which, when projected to the full year, could result in an overall rise of 20%. Based on this forecast, the proportion of WSH cases of total EAP clients globally is likely to have grown by more than 30% since 2016.

The #MeToo movement spread rapidly across the globe in the second half of 2017 and gathered pace towards the end of the year, with many celebrities going public with historical accounts of work-related sexual harassment experiences. Workplace Options looked more closely at this 2017 timeline and found an increase of 50% in the proportion of WSH cases from the start of Q1 (January) to the end of Q4 (December).

A deeper analysis of the data also showed that white females overall, represent large majority of WSH cases across North America, EMEA and Asia. However, the biggest rise in males’ reports of WSH during this period was seen in the Oceania region (40% of all WSH cases) and in Latin America where, in 2017, there were more men than women reporting WSH.

This initial analysis of the global EAP clients clearly shows that:

  • EAPs are globally supporting victims of WSH
  • More victims are stepping forward since the #MeToo movement to request EAPs’ help and support in dealing with WSH
  • More women than men are disclosing issues with WSH to EAPs, but male victims are increasingly asking for assistance

Large-scale surveys of women suggest that the majority of women have experienced or will experience sexual harassment at some point in their lives.

Workplace Options’ analysis clearly supports the view that the #MeToo movement has already started to empower both female and male workers to talk about their traumatic experiences.

“Recent events have encouraged more people to speak out, which has brought more awareness to the issue, but there is more work to do. Organizations that provide support to employees need to increase efforts to reach and support victims of workplace sexual harassment who are too afraid to step forward,” says Dean Debnam, CEO of Workplace Options. “This begins with clinicians on intake teams recognizing workplace sexual harassment at an early stage and facilitating safe disclosure.  Then, when organizations can get anonymized information, they can identify any trends or issues and create meaningful and targeted plans which can address, and help end, harassment of their workers.”

Stephen Galliano, Senior Vice President of Global Relations says, “We must acknowledge the severity of workplace sexual harassment and move towards ending its profound job-related, psychological and health-related consequences on victims. It is a degrading and frightening cruelty no one should experience, especially in the workplace.”


About Workplace Options

Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal needs to become healthier, happier and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness and wellbeing services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs.

Drawing from an international network of credentialed providers and professionals, Workplace Options is the world’s largest integrated employee support and work-life services provider. Service centers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Portugal, France, Belgium, UAE, Singapore, Japan, China, India and Indonesia support more than 58 million employees across 90,000 organizations and more than 200 countries and territories. To learn more, visit