Human rights and sexual harassment

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Introduction and Background of the Study

In these modern days, people take human rights very important such as the American. However, Malaysian doesn’t take it as an important issue. Sexual harassment issues are one of the examples and it has getting more serious nowadays.

According to All Women’s Action Society (2010), they have done a survey which has 35% women of the respondents have been sexual harassed at their workplace. On the other hand, LawEddie.com (2009) also provides a survey which said by Mr. Lim Ah Lek (former of Minister of Human Resources) that, there are 42% to 70% of women has been sexual harassed at their workplace. This is also means that 7 women out of 10 have been sexually harassed in their workplace. The surveys and statistic above are done in Malaysia and we can see that, sexual harassment has become a serious issue in this community.

As we know that, the American also sees human rights very important. According to the Sexual Harassment Lawfirms.com (2009), there are around 15,000 of employees reported sexual harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). From the statistic above, even the American sees human right so important but there are still a lot of victims been sexually harassed.

Is everyone really understands the meaning of sexual harassment? Is every employee knows the penalty and law of sexual harassment? The surveys above indirectly showed us that not really everyone understands sexual harassment especially the Malaysian. So, what is sexual harassment? According to The Free Dictionary (2010), the United States’ Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defined sexual harassment as below:-

“Unwelcome sexual advanced, requests for sexual favors, and other sexual conducts in verbally or physically.”

(http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com)

Besides, Tennessee Employment Law Centre (2010) also provides definition of sexual harassment as nasty behavior which can affect the worker’s employment performance due to the worker’s gender.

In conclusion, sexual harassment has become a serious issue in this community. Ways of prevent and steps are needed to be taken to minimize the sexual harassment victims. In this study, the author will focus on definition of sexual harassment, types of sexual harassment, causes and effects of sexual harassment, sexual harassment policy and ways to prevent sexual harassment.

1.2 Problem Statements

Sexual harassment cases are increasing more and more nowadays. Sexual harassment can bring serious effects to the victims. According to Sexual Harassment Support (2006), sexual harassment victims might suffer the same effects as rape victims in psychological. United States takes all sexual harassment cases very seriously but Malaysia doesn’t practice the same law as United State.

As we know that, Malaysian is usually shyer and they don’t take human rights as important as the American. Gomez, L. (2009) provided information that only 776 women have made complaints about sexual harassment from the year 2000 till 2007 in Malaysia. This means that even there are serious cases of sexual harassment, most of the victims do not dare to voice out or report to the police.

Through this research, we are able to carry out more cases which have not carried out. Moreover, more understandings about sexual harassment can be spread into the hospitality industry.

1.3 Research Objectives

Below are the objectives to help us carry out a successful research:-

To investigate how Human Resource Manager handle sexual harassment cases.

To determine how many people really understand the meaning of sexual harassment.

To examine what factor causes sexual harassment in the hospitality industry.

To examine the effect of sexual harassments’ victims.

To compare the way of avoid sexual harassment in different organization.

To compare the policy of sexual harassment in different organization.

To determine the staffs in every hospitality industry understand the penalty of sexual harassment.

To carry out more sexual harassment cases happened in the hospitality industry.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions are designed to address in this research:-

Does every staffs who work in the hospitality industry understand sexual harassment?

Does every staffs who work in the hospitality industry knows the penalty of sexual harassment?

Does the organization provide any program, policies or knowledge about sexual harassment to their employees?

What causes sexual harassment in the hospitality industry?

What are the ways of handle sexual harassment cases in every organization?

What are the effects of every sexual harassment’s victims?

Are there any cases of sexual harassment happened in the organization?

1.5 Hypothesis Statement

There are still not much employee understands about sexual harassment.

There are not much employees understand about the penalty of sexual harassment. It is because not every employee knows the Penal Code of Malaysia.

From the scope of this study, not every hotel has the sexual harassment policy. Moreover, no company provides training program about sexual harassment.

Women who dressed up sexily or women who got not much confidence are one of the causes of sexual harassment. Besides, boss who has sexual desires will caused sexual harassment too.

Sexual harassment policy and guidelines of dressing code should used to prevent sexual harassment.

Health effects will occur to sexual harassment victims. There will be mentally or physically effects to the sexual harassment victims, or either both.

Through the statistic above, there are sexual harassment cases happened in every organization.

1.6 Theoretical and Conceptual Framework

Sexual Harassment

Definition of sexual harassment

Types of Sexual Harassment (U.S. & Malaysia)

Causes of Sexual Harassment

Ways to Prevent and Avoid Sexual Harassment

Quid Pro Quo

Effects of Sexual Harassment

Hostile Environment Harassment

Behavior

Importance of Sexual Harassment Policy

Penal Code – Section 509

Sexual Harassment Policy

Elements should contain in Sexual Harassment Policy

Figure 1.1: A conceptual framework about study of sexual harassment.

From the framework above (figure 1.1), this proposal is to carry out a study of sexual harassment in the hospitality industry. Definition of sexual harassment will be explained first because every person has the rights to know clearly about the meaning. Moreover, definition plays an important role in every policy of the organization. Employees are needed to know the definition well in case they have done it without any purpose.

Next, types of sexual harassment will be discussed in this proposal because every country has their different law to deal with sexual harassment issues. From the figure 1.1, law of United States and Malaysia will be discussed because we are doing research in Malaysia’s hotels. Besides, the purpose of discuss the law of United States is because United States is the first country which introduced this law to the public. From the figure 1.1, the sub title of types of sexual harassment is Quid Pro Quo, hostile environment harassment and Penal Code- Section 509. Quid Pro Quo and hostile environment harassment is the types of sexual harassment which under United States law; while Penal Code- Section 509 is the law of Malaysia which to deal with sexual harassment issues. Hence, the differences will be discussed in this proposal.

Then, causes of sexual harassment will also discuss in this proposal. There are not only women has been harassed in the workplace but also the men. Causes of sexual harassment will direct affect the effects of sexual harassment victim no matter in mentally or physically. Therefore, the sub point of causes of sexual harassment will discuss about the effects of sexual harassment in mentally and physically. Examples of effects also will be listed down in this proposal.

Last but not least, ways of prevent and avoid sexual harassment also will be discussing in this proposal. To avoid sexual harassment, policy plays a very important role. Thus, sexual harassment policy is the sub title of prevention. Elements should contain inside the policy and the importance has a relationship with the prevention of sexual harassment.

From the figure 1.1, we also can see that effects of sexual harassment, prevention of sexual harassment and sexual harassment policy are linked. The seriousness of effects for sexual harassment also indirectly means prevention has to be done in every company. In the other way, to prevent sexual harassment, policies are needed in every company. Thus, importance of sexual harassment policy, effects of sexual harassment and prevention of sexual harassment will affect each other.

1.7 Significance of the Study

Sexual harassment considered a serious crime in United States because the residents take human rights seriously. However in Malaysia, people here have a thinking that women should stay at home instead of work. Hence that, even there are sexual harassment cases but people do not dare to speak out or say “NO”. Moreover, Malaysian doesn’t take human rights as important as the American. Thus, study of sexual harassment should be spread out more widely and understand by every employees. This is to prevent more sexual harassment cases happen in the workplace. Besides, this is also can minimize sexual harassment victims.

The purpose of this proposal is to let more people understand about sexual harassment. Therefore, the company and employees will know how to do when sexual harassment occurs. The definition of Penal Code- Section 509 also will be stated down clearly in this proposal. This is to benefits the employees and let them know Malaysia has a law to deal with sexual harassment issues. Penalty of sexual harassment is also followed with the Penal Code. Hence, sexual harasser will realize it and try not to repeat the next time. Moreover, policies and prevention also will be carried out in this proposal to guide companies how to handle sexual harassment. Health effects of sexual harassment are also will be stated in this proposal. This will show to the public and let them know the seriousness of sexual harassment.

1.8 Scope and Limitation

The scope of sexual harassment study was carried out among staffs who are working in the hospitality industry in Kuala Lumpur. The hotels have been chosen and focused are Le Meridien Hotel, JW Marriot Hotel and The Ritz Carlton Hotel.

The limitation of this study is journals are hard to find for sexual harassment. The KDU library, EBSCO host doesn’t provide much articles and journals about sexual harassment. Books are also hard to find in the library according to the topic of sexual harassment. Besides, there are a lot of journals need to pay before can view it in the internet. Hence that, not much reference and facts can be stated down.

1.9 Definition of Terms

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction

To bring out more understanding of sexual harassment, this chapter begins with a clear definition of sexual harassment, types of sexual harassment (United States & Malaysia), causes of sexual harassment and effects of sexual harassment. Moreover, sexual harassment’s policy, ways of preventing sexual harassment and how to avoid also will be discussed in this proposal.

2.2 Definition of Sexual Harassment

According to the secondary data, the free dictionary (2010) defined sexual harassment as desires for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, and carry out a sexual nature verbally or physically that tends to create an unfriendly or offensive working environment. Tennessee Employment Law Centre (2010) also provides definition of sexual harassment as nasty behavior which can affect the worker’s employment performance due to the worker’s gender. Last but not least, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defined sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sex favors, and sexual nature conducts in verbally or physically.

2.3 Types of Sexual Harassment

According to Barth, S (2001, p. 187) federal and state law only recognized 2 types of sexual harassment which are Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment:-

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment- According to The Lectric Law Library (2010), quid pro quo is a Latin word and it stands for ‘what for what’ or ‘something for something’. The Free Dictionary (2010) also provides definition as two parties passes a mutual consideration to an agreement, therefore representation the agreement valid and required. To explain in an easier way, quid pro quo can be defined as to give a one valuable thing for another by exchanging.

Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment- According to The Lectric Law Library (2010), hostile environment sexual harassment is defined as a person requests for sexual favors or other conduct of sexual nature verbally or physically which can affect’s the worker’s performance. Lawyers.com (2010) also provides definition of hostile environment sexual harassment as employment discrimination with unwelcome verbal and physical sexual conducts such as jokes, acts and comments relating to victim’s races, religions, age, sex and many more. These conducts might affect a worker’s performance or create a hostile environment in the workplace.

The above definition of quid pro quo and hostile environment sexual harassment are only accepted by the United States under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Nevertheless, according to The Lawyerment (2001), Malaysia has only one law to deal with the issues of sexual harassment, Penal Code- Section 509.

The Penal Code- Section 509 provides that:-

“Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any women, utters any words, makes any sounds or gesture or exhibit any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or such gesture or object shall be seen by such woman, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 5 years or with fine, or with both.”

(http://www.lawyerment.com.my)

JobsDB Career Guide (2010) also provides information about the Ministry of Human Resource Malaysia has introduced ‘The Code of Practice’ at the same time in 1999. This code can encourage the employers to adopt and practice to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace at the same time. This code contains of definition of sexual harassment, forms of sexual harassment, how employees should handle harassment and how company handles harassment complaints.

2.4 Causes of Sexual Harassment

According to secondary data, Stop Violence against Women, Sexual Harassment (2003) provides information about causes of sexual harassment is more because women are lack of confidence and they have been socialized to suffer in silence. This is one of the reason why women are mostly chosen become a victim compared to men. However, Hananel, S. (2010) claimed that men report sexual harassment has increased from 8 percent to 16 percent within the year 1990 to 2009. This proves that not only women suffer from sexual harassment but also men, victims are also keeping increase in these few years.

Sexual Harassment Lawfirms (2009) also provides information about fear and power has been one of the causes of sexual harassment. For an example, boss requires to have sex with his female employee. From the example above, this has creates a fear to the victim because she might loss a job if she refuse to go along with her boss’s needs. At the same time, the victim might also fear of her reputation will be affect if this incident has spread out to the public.

Cape Gateway (2005) also provides a few causes of sexual harassment. One of the causes of sexual harassment is socialization. They have claimed that the way of people brought up will strongly affect their behavior. From this site, they have given an example such as the way of women’s dress up which will also caused sexual harassment. The dressed up sexily women are the ones who create an image or impression to other colleagues to invite sexual advanced at work.

Last but not least, Cape Gateway (2005) also claims that more companies are lack of policy in sexual harassment especially in South Africa. They also provide information about there is many companies don’t have a clear policies, disciplinary and procedures to deal with sexual harassment. Hence that, there are a lot of people doesn’t know the seriousness of sexual harassment and the penalty.

2.5 Effects of Sexual Harassment

According to Sexual Harassment Support (2006), sexual harassment victims can suffer the same effect as rape victims. They might experience effect from soft annoyance to terrific mental but it is depends on situation. To explain in an easier way, sexual harassment victims might suffer mentally or physically, or either both.

According to Stop Violence against Women, Sexual Harassment (2003), a sexual harassment victim might lose his/ her job if he/ she refuse to accept someone’s sexual demands. This has become a threat to a worker. Again according to Stop Violence against Women, Sexual Harassment (2003), 90% to 95% of United States sexually harassed women suffered from weight loss, depressing, sleep disorder, anxiety and many more. These are all the effects which might affect a worker’s performance in the workplace.

Sexual Harassment Support (2006) also provides examples of health effects in mentally and physically which occurred to sexual harassment victims such as having nightmares, sleep disorder, depress, panic, and feel helpless, guilty and many more.

2.6 Sexual Harassment Policy

According to All Business (2010), it is important to have sexual harassment policy in every business to minimize any unnecessary headaches especially those will affect the reputation of the company. Besides, they also claimed that the policy should state down clearly where company will not tolerate if there is any sexual harassment happened. All Business (2010) provides information about sexual harassment policy should also contain steps to report sexual harassment and steps to handle sexual harassment complaints. It is used to guide a person if they have no idea what to do and whom to report to if they have been sexually harassed. Moreover, All Business (2010) also stated that disciplinary actions should contain inside the policy to warn the sexual harasser.

Office of Human Resource (2006) also provides guidelines for sexual harassment policy. They have stated clearly that sexual harassment policy should contain:-

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Examples of Sexual Harassment

How to Handle Sexual Harassment

Policy and Procedure Administration

Besides Office of Human Resources, Indiana University also has their sexual harassment policy. According to Indiana University, Policy against Sexual Harassment (2003), the policy contains definition of sexual harassment, objectives to have this policy, condition and enforcement rules for sexual harassment.

2.7 Ways to Prevent and Avoid Sexual Harassment

According to Smith, T (2010), the first way to prevent sexual harassment is check our own behavior. It is to make sure we are not dress up sexily or the one who allure sexual harasser. We have to be alert that the way of speaking doesn’t send wrong message to others.

Besides that, All Business (2010) also provides information about to take any complaints seriously when there is sexual harassment happened in the workplace. Investigation must be carried out when sexual harassment occurs. Moreover, policy is one of the way of prevent and avoid sexual harassment. Again according to All Business (2010), human resource department should also provide training program about sexual harassment every year for every employee. The purpose of having training program is to educate the employee know what to do when sexual harassment occurs. Moreover, this program can create awareness and warn to the employee too, so they will not dare to sexual harass their colleagues.

Omopariiwa, F. (2008) has also provides 4 ways to prevent sexual harassment with behaviors which are:-

Behave with self- confidence

Be modest with dress code

Watch out every associate with colleagues

Avoid compromising situations with colleagues

CHAPTER 3

METHODOLOGY

3.1 General Methodology

What is methodology? According to Business Dictionary.com (2010), methodology is defined as a practice to solve and understand problems by using different methods. There are 2 types of research method can be used in a study which are quantitative method and qualitative method.

According to All Business.com (2010), quantitative methods means a collection of mathematical methods used to solve problems and decision making problems. For example, survey and statistic are quantitative methods because it is doing with mathematical methods.

Next will be the qualitative method which is one of the research method can be used in this study. According to High Beam Research (2010), qualitative method is defined as a social method which cannot be compared by quantities. To explain in an easier way, qualitative method is a nonnumeric methods and it is to make sure that non quantitative methods are reliable. For examples, interview and case study are qualitative method because it is non mathematical research.

In this study, the author has selected a suitable research method to collect data. To complete this study, qualitative and quantitative methods are needed to be used to complete a depth research. The author will use survey for quantitative methods to complete this study. Questionnaire will be prepared and pass to the respondents which are all the employees in the hotel. It is used bring out more comment and other information data for this study. As for the qualitative methods, the author will interview the victims and Human Resource Manager to find out more about sexual harassment and carry out more cases of sexual harassment in the hospitality industry.

3.2 Research Design

For quantitative methods, survey will be carried out in this study. The survey is mainly targeted to all employees in the hotels. Questions will be prepared by the author and distribute to all respondents. It is used to know whether every employee understands about definition and types of sexual harassment. Moreover, comments and recommendation will also bring out through this survey.

Next, the author has decided to use interview for qualitative method. The interview will be done by the author herself and it is targeted to sexual harassment victims and Human Resource Manager in every respective hotel under the scope of this study. The purpose of interview the victims and manager is to find out more cases of sexual harassment in the hospitality industry. Besides, ways of prevention and effects after sexual harassment will also be carried out after the interview.

To complete this qualitative and quantitative methods, questions will be prepare by the author herself and all the question will be based on Research Question (Chapter 1).

3.3 Source of Data

3.3.1 Primary Data

To complete primary data of this study, interviews have to be done one by one by the author. Sexual harassment victims and Human Resource Manager are required to answer the question which asked by the author. Those answers will be jot down and recorded down by the author herself. This is to carry out information data and analyze by the author during completing this study. Moreover, referencing can be done through recording and it can avoid any mistakes in case the author jot down wrongly.

Primary data also included all surveys which have been done in the respective hotels. Those questions will be based on the research objectives in this study. The author will distribute the questionnaire from department to department and collect it after the respondent has done it. By doing this, primary data can be easier categorized and it makes the research easier to be done by the author.

3.3.2 Secondary Data

Secondary data is information which is provided from the previous author or researcher. The secondary data of this study is basically facts and information which can be found in journals, articles, books, internet engines, statistics and many more.

To complete this study, the author used internet databases such as EBSCO host and Google to find information and facts. There are less information can be found in the EBSCO host of KDU library. Therefore, the author used more on Google engines to search information. Besides, the author also borrowed some books from the KDU library, Petaling Jaya to understand more about this study.



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