It involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, especially when submission to this conduct is made a term or condition of one's employment (Sexual Harassment).
Harassment remains a pervasive problem in American workplaces. The number of harassment charges filed with the EEOC and state fair employment practices agencies has risen significantly in recent years. For example, the number of sexual harassment charges has increased from 6,883 in fiscal year 1991 to 15,618 in fiscal year 1998. The number of racial harassment charges rose from 4,910 to 9,908 charges in the same time period.
The employer must take prompt remedial action to stop the harassment and make sure it does not recur, including discipline or termination of the offenders if need be. Quid Pro Quo harassment occurs when employment decisions or expectations are based on an employee’s submission to or rejection of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other behavior of a sexual nature. These cases involve tangible actions that adversely affect the conditions of work progress. Some examples of what would be considered Quid Pro Quo are demanding sexual favors in exchange for a promotion, raise, or job. Disciplining or firing an employee who ends a romance, or refusing to write recommendations because that employee refuses sexual advances. Finally, another example would be changing work expectations after an employee refuses invitations for a date or other private and social meetings. There are a number of strategies an employer can take to reduce the risk of sexual harassment in the workplace.
It is critical employers’ train all managers and supervisors on what constitutes harassment and discrimination and how to deal with it if it occurs. Managers and supervisors should ensure that their employees do not feel uncomfortable because of behavior in the workplace, such as teasing, taunting, jokes, and inappropriate gestures. To help create this environment, every employer needs a company policy that prohibits all types of harassment. The policy needs to include a definition of what could constitute harassment or create a hostile working environment, information on who to report it to, and a non-retaliation provision. Employees must also be provided with a copy of the company’s policy and trained on what constitutes harassment and discrimination. In addition, employees need to know what steps to take if they become victims of such behavior. Managers and supervisors need to know what is going on in the workplace at all times and be aware if inappropriate behavior exists. Managers and supervisors also need to set an example by not engaging in harassment themselves and by stopping it immediately if they hear or see it. All violations must be reported to the human resources department.
Companies should provide workers with examples of behavior they consider inappropriate. First, an employer should adopt a clear sexual harassment policy. In the employee handbook, the employer should have a section devoted to sexual harassment. The policy should define sexual harassment, state in no uncertain terms that sexual harassment will not be tolerated, state one will be disciplined or fired for any wrongdoers, set out a clear procedure for filing sexual harassment complaints, state any complaint received will be investigated fully, and state how the employer will not tolerate retaliation against anyone who complains about sexual harassment. Once a company develops a sexual harassment policy, it should circulate it widely. Companies should provide copies not only to newly hired employees, but also to current ones. Companies should also post copies throughout the office and break areas, issue periodic memos about the policy, and hold meetings to discuss the topic. It is also a good idea for companies to hold training sessions for managers, supervisors, and employees to deal with sexual harassment at least once a year.
Harassment directed against women in the workplace by their supervisors, fellow employees, or third parties interferes with the integration of women in the workforce, reinforces the subordination of women to men in society, violates women's dignity and creates a health and safety hazard at work....
In the interests of brevity and to remain with in the parameters of the paper any discussion will exclude workplace sexual harassment, flaming and stalking....
For example, if an employee alleged that she was demoted because she refused her supervisor’s sexual advances, a determination would have to be made whether the demotion was because of her response to the advances, and hence because of her sex. Similarly, if an employee alleges that he was discharged after being subjected to severe or pervasive harassment by his supervisor based on his national origin, a determination would have to be made whether the discharge was because of the employee’s national origin.
The prevalence of sexual harassment in the modern workplace is attributed to the fact that it takes many forms including rape, derogatory comments, unwanted sexual advances and threats, and sexual assault.
In legal terms, sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance or conduct on the job that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment....
The use of sexual harassment in the workplace has been remembered best as a weapon used to keep women in their place which would cause them to forfeit promotions within their organizations.
There has been a great increase in sexual harassment lawsuits and claims in the workplace since the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas controversy in 1991.
An employer’s policy should make clear that it will not tolerate harassment based on sex (with or without sexual conduct), race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, and protected activity (i.e., opposition to prohibited discrimination or participation in the statutory complaint process). This prohibition should cover harassment by anyone in the workplace – supervisors, co-workers or non-employees. Management should convey the seriousness of the prohibition. One way to do that is for the mandate to “come from the top,” i.e., from upper management.
Specifically, the workplace has become a very common place for sexual harassment to take place, and while inhibiting the work quality of employees; it is degrading to any victim of the illegal practice....