The number of lawsuits filed against employers by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission based on alleged sexual harassment increased by more than 50 percent in the agency’s fiscal year 2018, a period that mostly overlapped with the rise of the #MeToo movement.

The federal job rights watchdog also collected nearly $70 million from employers over that same span for workers alleging sexual harassment, the agency reported in preliminary findings announced Oct. 4. That’s up by more than $23 million from...