Sexual Harassment at work

Executive Summary

This research is conducted as we want to assess the actual situation of sexual harassment. We will find out the reasons behind it and look for solutions. To get a sample for the research we will first use the stratified sampling method, where we will divide the market into two stratums: the public sector and the private sector. After that six companies will be randomly selected from each sector. In all twelve companies will be chosen. Sixty questionnaires in all will be sent to those companies. Then according to convenience sampling, 6 persons who want to talk will be chosen from each sector.

The research will be advantageous to those who have already gone through the dilemma of sexual harassment. It will be a benefit to those who cannot voice out due to fear. People can propose their own opinions and solutions. Human beings will be aware of the problem prevailing, and they can prepare themselves to better handle of these situations. They will know what they must do, if ever they personally experience sexual harassment.


Sexual harassment is a kind of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964. According to Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment occurs whenever there is an unwanted conduct on the basis of gender and which consequently affects an individual’s job. The legal definition of sexual harassment is “unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions and a hostile work environment. Sexual harassment refers to “unwanted sexual advances, whether touches, looks, pressures to have sex or even jokes" (Henslin & Nelson, 1996 p.300).

Such behavior is imposed sometimes as a condition on a person’s employment. There are two types of sexual harassment. The first one known as ‘quid pro’, means ‘something for something’ consists of harassment that has a direct impact on the individual’s job. Suppose a manager imposes on his subordinate to get sexually cooperative, or else he or she will be fired from the job. The second one is known as hostile environment. It results from unwanted behaviors and conducts from seniors and other personnel on the job, such as discussing sexual topics, make use of inappropriate words such as ‘babe’ demonstrate indecent gestures and use crude and unusual language.

Over 20 years the Supreme Court has declared sexual harassment as a reason of action under Title VII, sexual harassment still prevails in workplaces. Most complaints come from women. However, number of complaints filed by men is rising. There is an ever-increasing number of men reporting against female supervisors. According to EEOC, in 2007, 16% cases were reported by men. A Government study in UK stated that 2 out of 5 sexual victims are male.

It is not about fun but abuse of authority. It is found that only 5% to 15% of harassed women report problems of sexual harassment. There are various reasons why victims are hesitant to make accuses of sexual harassment. They may fear to lose their or interrupt their career or they may even not be believed. They can also think that nothing will be done to cease the harassment and to help them. Likewise, men are also reluctant to report cases, because of their masculine stereotype. They may think that this can have a negative impression on their masculinity.

However, there appears to be a short of consensus regarding the definition of sexual harassment, especially when investigating the behaviors and the conditions in which sexual harassment occurs (Bimrose, 2004; Fitzgerald and Ormerod, 1991; Fitzgerald et al., 1995; Stockdale and Hope, 1997). There is no single and precise definition of sexual harassment, either in terms of behavior or the circumstances in which it occurs (Bimrose, 2004; Fitzgerald and Ormerod, 1991; Fitzgerald et al., 1995; Stockdale and Hope, 1997).

Sexual harassment is seen as one of the most difficult and emotional issue that employers, employees and human resource professionals are facing today. In fact no profession or occupation is exempted from this problem. Sexual harassment goes far beyond one's social background, educational level, age group or ethnic belonging. It touches all the layers of the population without any exception (Kim and Kleiner, 1999).

Sexual harassment has been called “an endemic feature of the contemporary workplace" (Jackson and Newman, 2004). Willness et al. (2007) find that sexual harassment results in the victim's decreased job satisfaction, resignation from work, less socialization, bad health and some symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder for persons, as well as lower productivity, mounted absenteeism and rising sick leave costs for organizations.

To know whether unwanted behavior is pervasive enough to create unfriendly environment, factors such as frequency of discrimatory manner, harshness of the behavior, was it physically threatening or only offensive statement, must be considered. Sexual harassment must be considered as an issue to be discussed in organizations, before improving a person’s skills to prevent sexual harassment.

Problem statement

It is complicated to recognize unfriendly and unwelcome environment. The fact must determine whether circumstances have crossed the line. Courts have declared that men and women do not have the same level of sensitivity. Two-thirds of men will be happy if they are approached sexually at work, and others will not like it, states a study.

Causes of sexual harassment can be very complexed. Close relationships at work, having same interests, employees depending upon each other for teamwork are reasons that bring closeness and can step over professional limits and mislead people to cross the line. Factors such as personal problems may also give rise to sexual harassment. No job is distinct from sexual harassment. Harassment of women is higher in fields for instance, blue collar environment and white collar environment.

In 2009 after a study at the University of Minnesota, it was found that women who occupy supervisory positions are most prone to sexual harassment. Researchers have found that most victims are women on supervisory positions. This strongly shows that sexual harassment is not only about sexual desire but also about to have power over and dominance. Nowadays men retain supervisory position and they decide if a report against sexual harassment lodged by a woman will be taken into consideration or not. As it is, women are considered to be less productive than men in organizations and it is necessary for the former to work, others tend to profit from such situations. So as not to lose their jobs, some women accept to be treated as such.

Sexual harassment may be a warning sign of life traumas such as divorce or death or spouse or even the child. It affects the victims professionally, academically, financially and socially. Even organizations suffer from low productivity, loss of staff, absenteeism and legal costs if the matter is taken into court. Cruel sexual harassment can have the same psychological effect as rape or sexual physical attack. Some victims, especially women may try to attempt suicide as well.

Aims and Objectives

Through this research proposal our aims and objectives are to assess the actual situations and the reasons behind it and to propose solutions.

Although there are many court cases about sexual harassment, this fact is sill prevailing in organizations. There is too much of authority, lack of information flow, no mutual conversations, and inappropriate ways of communications. Nowadays there is an increase in sexual harassment cases, but which are not considered. Victims fear the fact that they may lose their jobs if they file cases. They are threatened. There is a lack of education on this subject. People do not have enough knowledge about how to react in such circumstances. They are not aware of laws that protect people from sexual harassment. The Civil Right Act of 1964 prevents job discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, origin and sex. But people are unaware of it. There are also some businesses which do ot have a good culture and values and do not implement appropriate code of conduct to protect employees. There are unethical businesses, where such matters are clearly ignored. Employers have an upper hand on employees. The latter are forced to do things they do not want to, with the fear of losing jobs. Seniors tend to profit from their position. Employees may experience close contacts in meetings or even in company vehicles.

Employers may be legally accountable for sexual harassment against employees and they may be liable to pay for damages. A victim of sexual harassment must report to an official. The victim must participate in investigation and cooperate fully. The matter must be kept confidential as reputation will be at stake. Both the complainant and the accused will have a chance to defend their cases. The law protects employees who cooperate in administrative complaints, thus one must not be afraid to collaborate. The person concerned must be able to answer questions such as name of harasser, where and when the incident occurred, when investigation is being carried out. The plaintiff has full rights to know everything about the investigation. The complainant must admit that the problem exists and have the courage to talk about is and say what is wrong. The victim must not blame himself/herself for some else’s behavior. He/she must not ignore hostile behavior and must not try to handle the situation alone. He/she must get help. Policies need to be adopted to prevent sexual harassment, such as: sexual harassment policy, general harassment policy. Managers must ensure that such situations do not occur at workplace. Employees need to be informed and addressed on such matters. They must be aware of the law that protects them. Independent bodies must take the responsibility to make regular checks in organizations so as to question staff and ensure that everything is going on well with their work.


Before conducting our research, we will implement a specific sample frame. We will use the stratified sampling. Stratified sampling is the method of separating members of the population into standardized subgroups before sampling. The strata must be equally selected. The sample structure will be divided into non-overlapping outline. A sample will be considered from each stratum. Thus we will be able to attain higher accuracy. It will be more suitable to compact with particular groups, that is, the targeted market. Better coverage of the population is ensured. We will divide the market into 2 groups: public companies and private companies.

After stratified sampling we will use the simple random sampling, where we will choose at random six companies in each group where we will send the questionnaires. In such a way, all companies will have an equal chance of being selected. Sixty questionnaires will be sent in twelve selected companies. That is 6 companies will be chosen from public sector and 6 companies from private sector.



1 Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd 

24 Mauritius Oil Refineries Ltd

2 State Bank of Mauritius Ltd 

25 Mauritius Chemical & Fertilizer Industry Ltd 

3 Sun Resorts Ltd 


4 Air Mauritius Limited 

27 Mauritius Union Assurance Ltd 

5 Ireland Blyth Ltd 

28 Mauritius Leasing Co Ltd 

6 National Investment Trust 

29 Mauritius Stationery Manufacturers Ltd 

7British American Investment Co (Mtius) Ltd

30 Swan Insurance Co Ltd

8 Mauritius Development Investment Trust 

9 Shell Mauritius Ltd 

10 Ipro Growth Fund 

11 Caudan Development Ltd 

12 British American Investment Co (Mtius) Ltd 

13 FINCORP Investment Ltd 

14 Naiade Resorts Ltd 

15 Promotion and Development Ltd 

16 Innodis Ltd 

17 Rogers & Co Ltd 

18 POLICY Ltd 

19 United Docks Ltd 

20 Omnicane Ltd (formerly MTMD) 

21 Phoenix Beverages Ltd 

22 United Basalt Products Ltd 

23 ENL Commercial Limited (formerly GIDC) 


Ministry of Economic Development and Regional Development

Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology

Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development

Ministry of Public Utilities

Ministry of Civil Service Affairs and Administration Reforms

Ministry of Justice and Human Rights

Ministry of External Communications and Outer Islands

Ministry of Industry and Commerce

Ministry of Agriculture, Food Technology and Natural Resources

Ministry of Finance

Ministry of Health and Quality of Life

Ministry of Arts and Cultures

Ministry of Tourism and Leisure

Ministry of Youth and Sports

Ministry of Housing and Lands

Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment

Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Welfare

Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development

Our target market will be the working population both in private and public sectors. We will conduct our survey by using questionnaires. The questionnaire is a research equipment which includes a sequence of questions to collect information from respondents. We will be sending our questionnaires to different organizations of different fields to gather information.

Furthermore, interviews, that is, conversation between the respondent and the researcher, will be conducted. During interviews, the researcher will be able to explain questions clearly if ever there are any suspicions and ensure that questions are being properly answered and understood. Any kind of uneasiness on the part of the respondent will be immediately detected. If respondent is deficient in answering questionnaires, face to face interview will be appropriate. Higher rate of response is ensured. We can go and meet those who have been victims of sexual harassment, and ask them questions, so that we get a better view of the actual situation. For our interview we will select 6 persons from each sector. This will be done through convenience sampling, that is, we will select those who want to talk.

We can also benefit from information and statistics which is provided on the internet, or in company files, that is, secondary data, which already exists. We can begin with secondary data and then move to primary data. The secondary data will give us a starting point, and knowledge about the matter, before we get indulged with reality facts.

Benefits of the Research.

The research will benefit employers in such a way that they will be more cautious, it ever they intend to go for sexual harassment. They will be aware that employees are conscious and they know how to react to such situations.

Employees will also benefit a lot from this research. They will get to know the reality, and will be aware of what they must do to avoid sexual harassment, and what to do if they are a victim of sexual harassment.

The future working population will get to know what measures need to be taken and they can prepare themselves well before entering the market of work.

The environment of the company will be lighter as everyone will be acquainted to this problem, and together they will combat against it.

Seeing the statistics of the ever rising problem, the Government may attempt to make law more severe, or implement strict rules in organizations against discrimination and sexual harassment.

Budget Analysis

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