Sexual harassment in the work place

Sexual Harassment in the Work Place

The Clarence Thomas Supreme Court instance verification hearings in 1991 were the first to convey the issue of sexual torment into increased standing. Anita Hill, a former employee of Thomas, alleged that he had sexually harassed her while she was working under his supervising. Although the allegations where ne’er sustained, the hearing made many people more cognizant of how frequently employees are sexually harassed in the work topographic point. This, combined with other events lead to a enormous addition in the figure of sexual torment ailments bring filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( Chapter 3, 123 ) .

In add-on to the early allegations, there have been more recent incidents that have brought more attending to sexual torment in the workplace. One major incident took topographic point after President Clinton took office and faced a sexual torment case by Paula Corbin Jones. Jones alleged that Clinton sexual harassed her during a concern trip in a Small Rock hotel room. This caused the figure of sexual torment ailments to leap in figure, once more, between 1993 and 1994. However, the figure of instances filed has decreased well since 2000 ( Chapter 3, 123 ) .

There are two specific legal definitions of sexual torment that have been established in employment jurisprudence. Quid Pro Quo Harassment ; this is transferred into “something for something, ” or “you do something for me and I ‘ll make something for you” ( Sexual Harassment, 2009 ) . This happens when unwelcome sexual progresss are expected in exchange for certain occupation benefits. An illustration of this would be an employee being offered a rise or a publicity if they go out on a day of the month with the peculiar supervisor. This besides happens when an employee makes a determination, or provides or withholds certain chances based on another employee ‘s entry to verbal, non verbal or physical behavior ( Sexual Harassment, 2009 ) . Quid pro quo torment is merely as improper whether the victim resists and suffers the threatened injury or submits to avoid the injury ( Sexual Harassment, 2009 ) .

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The Bundy v. Jackson instance illustrates British pounds for quo sexual torment. Bundy was a forces clerk with District of Columbia Department of Corrections. She received perennial sexual propositions from Delbert Jackson, who was presently another employee when this happened. He subsequently became the manager of the bureau. After this she began to have propositions from two of her supervisors. She took the issue to their supervisor, Lawrence Swain, who dismissed her ailments ; stating her that “any adult male in his right head would desire to ravish you, ” so proceeded to inquire her to get down a sexual relationship with him ( Chapter 3, 123 ) . When Bundy was eligible for a publicity, she was passed over because of her “inadequate work public presentation, ” although she had ne’er been told that her work public presentation was unsatisfactory ( Chapter 3, 123 ) .

The 2nd definition is Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment. This happens when an employee is “subjected to remarks of sexual nature, violative sexual stuffs, or unwelcomed physical contact as a regular portion of the work environment” ( Chapter 3, 123 ) . Normally if this were to go on once it would non be considered hostile environment torment unless it is highly hideous behavior. Under this definition the tribunals look to see whether the behavior is both serious and frequent. Supervisors, directors, colleagues and even clients can make a hostile environment ( Chapter 3, 123 ) .

These types of behaviours are besides covered under Title VII because they treat persons otherwise based on their sex. Besides, although most harassment instances involve male on female torment, any single can be harassed. For illustration, male employees at Jenny Craig alleged that they were sexually harassed, and a federal jury found that a male employee had been sexually harassed by his male foreman ( Chapter 3, 123 ) . In add-on, Ron Clark Ford of Amarillo, Texas, late agreed to pay 140,000 dollars to six male complainants who alleged that they and others were subjected to a sexually hostile work environment and treated otherwise because of their gender by male directors ( Chapter 3, 123 ) .

There are three critical issues when covering with sexual torment instances. First, the complainant can non hold “invited or incited” the progresss ( Chapter 3, 123 ) . Most of the clip the complainant ‘s sexual history, whether she or he wear provocative vesture, and whether she or he engages in sexually expressed conversations are used to turn out or confute that the progress was unwelcome ( Elementss, 648 ) .

The 2nd critical issue if that the torment must hold been terrible plenty to change the “terms conditions and privileges of the employment” ( Chapter 3, 123 ) . Many tribunals have used the “reasonable woman” criterion in finding the badness or pervasiveness of the torment ( Elementss, 648 ) . This consists of measuring whether a sensible adult female, faced with the same state of affairs, would hold reacted likewise. This recognizes that behaviour that might be considered appropriate by a adult male may non be considered appropriate by a adult female ( Elementss, 648 ) .

The 3rd issue is that the tribunals must find whether the organisation is apt for the actions of it employees. To find this, the tribunals usually examine two things. First, did the employer know about the torment? Second, did the employer do anything to halt this behaviour? Normally if the employer knew about the actions and did n’t make anything to halt them so the tribunal would happen the employer guilty of non suitably halting the torment ( Elementss, 648 ) .

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( EEOC ) describes sexual torment as a “form of gender favoritism that is in misdemeanor of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act” ( Abdulaziz, S. 2009 ) . In 1998, the US Supreme Court made employers more apt for sexual torment of their employees. Since so, the Society for Human Resource Management has reported that 62 per centum of companies now offer sexual torment bar preparation plans, and 97 per centum have a written sexual torment policy ( Abdulaziz, S. 2009 ) .

The figure of instances filed with the EEOC has bit by bit decreased. In 1997, near to 16,000 charges were filled. Ten old ages subsequently in 2007, merely 12,510 were filed. “A telephone canvass done by Louis Harris and Associates on 782 US workers revealed the undermentioned statistics: 31 per centum of the female workers and merely 7 per centum of male workers reported they had been harassed at work, 62 per centum of marks took no action, 100 per centum of female workers were harassed by work forces, where every bit, 59 per centum of work forces reported the harasser was a adult female and 41 per centum said the harasser was another man” ( Elementss, 648 ) .

Redresss for sexual torment depend on the badness of sexual torment ailments and findings of the research worker, every bit good as, the state of affairs. When the individual lost an employment chance the followers could go on: engaging the individual for the occupation or chance lost, supplying the individual with the chance with he or she missed to the extent possible, and supplying fiscal compensation for the lost chance ( Discrimination, 2009 ) .

If the individual has lost rewards the followers could go on: all or portion of the lost rewards or salary would be compensated, lost pension or other benefits would be compensated, lost rises, overtime, displacement fillips, or higher rates of wage which should hold been earned by publicity would be compensated, and any lost rewards or benefits which can moderately be linked to the act of sexual torment would be compensated ( Discrimination, 2009 ) .

Typically all disbursals attributed to the enforcement of the individual ‘s rights can be compensated. Such disbursals include: medical disbursals, such as psychological attention, travel disbursals for go toing doctor, readying of studies and costs of experts ‘ attending at a test, travel costs to go to a hearing, and rewards and/or tips lost as a consequence of go toing a hearing ( Discrimination, 2009 ) .

Sexual torment in a work topographic point is any signifier of unwanted or unwelcomed behaviour, or attending of a sexual nature that interferes with your ability to map at work. It is besides, mostly a signifier of gender favoritism that is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act ( Sexual Harassment, 2009 ) .There are many instances that have resulted from sexual torment and many different signifiers of redresss of such torment takes topographic point.

Sexual harassment in the work place

Sexual harassment in the work place refers to unwanted sexual advancements in the work place. Perpetrators of sexual harassment in the work place include colleagues, managers and supervisors although sexual harassment can be initiated by junior employees and directed to the senior members of staff.  Sexual harassment is a major challenge in today’s work place and it is the role of HR Managers to make sure it is prevented and if it happens, it is dealt with according to the law.  This paper discusses sexual harassment in the work place, laws which are aimed at preventing it as well as the impact of the sexual harassment in the work place.

According to (Adler, 2004.45-68) over 15,000 sexual harassment cases are reported in the US annually and the rate is expected to rise in the next 5 years.  Although both men and women are affected, women are worst affected by sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment is defined as a form of sex discrimination which acts in violation with the recommendations of the US equal employement opportunity and as the law states the Title VIII, Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Stauffer, 1988. 750-821) . Any of the following acts or behaviour constitutes sexual harassment in the work place; unsolicited sexual advancements which are not welcome, requests by managers for sexual favours in return for promotion, or salary increment, physical advancements which can psychologically or mentally affect an employee’s work output, as well as verbal exclamations with sexual connotations which are aimed at degrading a person in connection with their gender (Sepler, 1990. 63-69).

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The above are relevant issues to Human Resource Managers in that they affect employees’ performance in the workplace environment in that it may cause conditions un-conducive to the workers who are victims of the sexual harassment.  Besides adhering to the federal and state laws on sexual harassment in the work place, organizations must put in place measures which are aimed at preventing sexual harassment in the work place.  Such preventive measures can include; the communication of the policies and laws regarding sexual harassment to workers. This should be ongoing programs which constantly keep on sensitizing employees on the issue of sexual harassment.  Human resource managers should ensure that they have a mechanism of handling sexual harassment complaints and charges so as to prevent exposing victims and perpetrators until their cases are resolved or determined.

The 1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act however has been insufficient in the protection of all employees given the fact that, it largely covers employees with over 15 years of experience. The main challenge presented by the long process in the fight against sexual harassment is that, it is so much dependent on the plaintiff’s ability to argue such that, if the plaintiff fails to link the alleged sexual harassment to abuse then such sexual harassment claim may be dismissed.  The process also requires that the case be filed with an administrative agency such as the Equal Employement Opportunity (EEOC) in the case of federal cases, a process which is usually time consuming. The above laws have not been effective in fighting against sexual harassment hence the cause for the ever-increasing incidences of sexual harassment in the work place.

There is need for all workers to be well protected in the workplace from exposed to threats such as insecurity, safety and health hazards and sexual harassment.  Sexual harassment has been found to have a negative influence on work output and job influence (Sepler, 1990. 52-63). Human resource managers are tasked with empowering employees by creating conducive working environment free from sexual harassment as well as health and safety hazards.

According to (Stauffer, 1988. 740-791) sexual harassment is categorized into two; environment Quid Pro Quo harassment and Hostile work environment harassment.  Quid Pro Quo harassment happens if an employee is subjected to sexual harassment as a condition for such an employee to maintain or get a job or to be awarded promotion.  This type of sexual harassment is common in the work place and can be a cause of low morale in the work place.  Human resource managers can help control this form of sexual harassment by heavily punishing the perpetrators as well as coming up with laws geared at ensuring that the work environment is not conducive for sexual harassment. Hostile work environment harassment happens whereby the job conditions negatively affect the performance of the workers.  Supervisors and managers mainly perpetrate this kind of harassment and it mainly targets the junior workers.

Hostile work environment involves the use of verbal words which are offensive or physical assaults which affect the victims negatively. Enforcing laws on sexual harassment has been hampered by the lengthy process of proving sexual harassment cases. The fact that an employee is a victim of sexual harassment is not a guarantee that justice will be done.  There is growing evidence that sexual harassment today is being manifested in more subtle forms, hard to detect and control (Sepler, 1990. 57-73). The fact that most cases involve co-workers makes it hard to deal with the case.  Therefore the knowledge of legal issues for Human resources manager is a must in a time like this when incidences of work place sexual harassment are becoming rampant.


Sexual harassment is a big problem affecting more than 15,000 Americans annually.  This places a great responsibility on human resource managers and relevant law enforcers and the justice system to deal with the problem.  By implementing the workers protection laws such as Title VII Civil Rights Act, organizations can effectively create conducive work place environment where every employee is free to work.  However, there is a need for more research in this area to determine more ways to stamp out sexual harassment in the work places.  There is also a need for the victims to be given support in terms of compensation.



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