Sexual Harassment at the Workplace
Sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior that is sexually humiliating, offensive, or intimidating. This problem has been an issue of great concern in society for decades, and women are the major victims. Sexual harassment is often confused with misconduct and assault, which refer to physical contact without the victim’s consent, such as rape and unwanted sexual touching. Sexual misconduct describes a broad range of behaviors that includes harassment. For instance, it can occur in relationships between an employee and the boss, as well as other coworkers. The paper expounds on sexual harassment of hired individuals at the workplace; therefore, the target audience for this paper is employees.
In my opinion, most employees do not know what is considered sexual harassment. According to the law, the offence is considered as such when submission of the conduct is made implicitly or explicitly as a condition for employment. Similarly, it can appear when rejection or proposal of such conduct by a person is used as a basis for making employment decisions. Furthermore, when a sex proposition interferes with a person’s work performance or creates an offensive or hostile working environment, it is considered sexual harassment.
Sexual Harassment Statistics in the Workplace
Sexual harassment is a significant issue that needs to be addressed. According to the EEOC, about 25 to 85 percent of women experience this trouble at work (Foster et al. 152). Almost 48 percent of American women have been verbally, sexually, or physically abused. Although the problem is rampant, only 50-80 percent of the abused report the cases (Zhu et al. 24). I think people are afraid to report sexual assault cases for fear of losing their jobs and becoming emotionally wasted. In addition, some individuals back off due to threats and blackmail from coworkers and employees. Another reason is the lack of support from other people who claim that the victim provoked the behavior and discourage them from filing the harassment cases.
Any request for sexual favors and advances, or manners of sexual nature that is offensive is a form of sexual discrimination, which should be reported. This is because such behavior causes hostile working environments, and it should be condemned by all employers. Victims of this harassment can sue the perpetrators under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e et seq.) (Foster et al.152). This law forbids assault and harassment based on sex in the workplace.
At work, sexual harassment is usually associated with heterosexual individuals making unwarranted advances to the opposite gender. However, there are cases of harassing employees of the same sex. Thus, I recommend that reported sexual harassment claims from an employee against a person of the same sexual orientation should be solved without discrimination. Examples of harassment that can be encountered in the workplace include sending suggestive videos or images, making inappropriate gestures and touches, and sending obscene notes, letters, or emails.
Handling Workplace Harassment
In my opinion, sexually harmed employees are required to launch harassment claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). However, one has to have evidence that an employer was unsuccessful in solving the harassment (Foster et al. 152). In addition, the evidence that shows that the responsible employee refused to desist or stop the annoyance after complaints have been made, should be available. The human resource department is responsible for handling harassment reports in the workplace. Thus, they should be the first point of contact for reporting such incidents.
What to Do When I Witness Sexual Harassment
I believe it is critical to step in when someone is being sexually harassed in the workplace to avoid future recurrence. Therefore, I can ask the victims directly if they are harassed and later confront the perpetrator or refer the issue to the authority. If a sexually harassed individual is at risk of danger, a distraction that will interrupt the provocation process should be created. Employers need to terminate staff found guilty of sexual violation instead of sending a victim for counseling. However, if appropriate actions are not undertaken by the management, my advice to the victim is to seek redress by filing a case in a court of law.
Effects of Sexual Harassment
I think sexual harassment causes job dissatisfaction, decreased productivity, sickness, and turnover, which results in loss of experienced employees and low profitability in companies. This is because it evokes negative emotional effects on the victim, such as anger, violation, betrayal, powerlessness, fear, shame, and humiliation. Additionally, sexual harassment also causes mental negative effects like anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, and loss of motivation (Burke 56). The physical impacts of harassment include increased fatigue, stress level, headaches, sleep disturbances, and eating disorders that make a person unproductive.
There are two forms of harassment described in the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which is a hostile work environment and a quid pro quo. The first type happens when persistent speech creates a demeaning work environment while the second one involves demanding sex from a person to gain some benefits. I believe that sexual harassment does not only refer to behaviors directed to specific individuals; it can be applied to major social groups. Therefore, there is a need for intensive efforts to prevent the spread of the issue.
Burke, Ronald J. “Reducing Sexual Harassment at Workplace.” Effective Executive, vol. 21, no. 2, 2018, pp. 51–56.
Foster, Pamela, et al. “Why Don’t We Report Sexual Harassment? An Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior.” Basic and Applied Social Psychology, vol. 40, no. 3, 2018, pp. 148–160.
Zhu, Hong, et al. “Workplace Sexual Harassment, Workplace Deviance, and Family Undermining.” International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 31, no. 2, 2019, pp. 24–26.