Mayo reports increase in sexual harassment allegations during #MeToo movement

Mayo reports increase in sexual harassment allegations during #MeToo movement

Josh Skluzacek
Updated: September 08, 2020 12:37 PM
Created: September 08, 2020 11:33 AM

Mayo Clinic says it saw an increase in sexual harassment allegations during the #MeToo movement.

According to Mayo, the company reviewed all the allegations from September 2017 through September 2019 and found 153 sexual harassment allegations were filed within the institution. Of those, Mayo said 88 were substantiated. The breakdown of those 88 cases is as follows:

  • 59 involved staff who were not physicians or scientists.
  • 22 involved physicians or scientists.
  • Seven involved patients, visitors, contractors or vendors.

Mayo said action was taken based on the severity of the conduct. The actions included:

  • 31 received formal coaching, including nine physicians or scientists.
  • 22, including three physicians or scientists, received written warnings ranging from first warning to final warning.
  • 35, including 10 physicians or scientists, were terminated from employment or resigned before termination.

"We found that the overwhelming number of the accused were male, and nearly half were at the same organizational levels as the victims," says Dr. Charanjit Rihal, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist and chair of the Personnel Committee, which oversees physician and scientist employment issues. "Though more time-trend data is needed, this is consistent with other studies in that the predominant victims are women and the predominant accused are men."

Mayo said it didn't track sexual harassment separately from other harassment prior to the fall of 2017 but reported that the volume of sexual harassment reports at Mayo has dropped since early 2018. Mayo added that 95% of staff completed active bystander training in 2019 to learn how to support a colleague if they observe bullying, harassment or sexual harassment.

"Our novel approach includes being transparent about results as we work toward elimination of sexual harassment at Mayo Clinic. Until we eliminate every case of harassment, we cannot be complacent ? period," said Cathy Fraser, Mayo Clinic's chief human resources officer and a study co-author.

Mayo said it has several resources employees can use to report concerns about sexual harassment, including an anonymous hotline. A human resources investigator is assigned to review each complaint and possibly involved the clinic's legal department.

You can see Mayo's full report here.

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