Dems want details on prevalence of sexual harassment in financial sector

Dems want details on prevalence of sexual harassment in financial sector
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A group of female Democratic senators is demanding details on the prevalence of sexual harassment in the financial sector.

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds On The Money: Half of states deplete funds for Trump's 0 unemployment expansion | EU appealing ruling in Apple tax case | House Democrats include more aid for airlines in coronavirus package Warren, Khanna request IG investigation into Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds MORE (Mass.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTrump plans to pick Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg on court Trump faces tricky choice on Supreme Court pick The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' MORE (Calif.) and Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoHillicon Valley: DOJ proposes tech liability shield reform to Congress | Treasury sanctions individuals, groups tied to Russian malign influence activities | House Republican introduces bill to set standards for self-driving cars Senators introduce bipartisan bill to mandate digital apps disclose country of origin Democratic Senate campaign arm raised nearly M in August MORE (Nev.) said in letters to the Securities Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority that the financial sector is "not immune" from harassment. 

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"The financial sector ... has had fewer public revelations of sexual harassment than other industries," the senators wrote.

"The silence appears to result from strong ‘cultural and financial forces' in the industry that discourage speaking out, including payout of large settlements with non-disclosure agreements to harassment victims, class-action prohibitions, and forced arbitration."

In their letters, the senators request information on what actions U.S. financial regulators are taking to crack down on such behavior.

Allegations of sexual misconduct against high-profile figures in politics, media and beyond have emerged in recent months, shedding new light on the prevalence of harassment in U.S. workplaces.

The finance and insurance industries had the ninth-highest number of sexual harassment claims between 2005 and 2015, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

But relatively few allegations have surfaced publicly in the sector since the "Me Too" movement gained traction last fall, with the bulk of media coverage focusing on allegations brought against politicians and figures in entertainment and media.

"This disparity is not, according to female employees, a sign that sexual harassment does not occur: in recent months, women in finance have anonymously reported being 'grabbed, kissed out of the blue, humiliated, and propositioned by colleagues and bosses' at work," the senators wrote, adding that the lack of public revelations appear to be due to "'cultural and financial forces'" within the industry.