Sexual harassment is illegal and there is law that was created called Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Title VII law states that:
it shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer… to fail or refuse
to hire or to discharge an individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect of his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. (Orlov)(4)
Sexual harassment can cause problems in a workplace. It can deprive and be emotional stressful for the employee reporting sexual harassment. Sexual harassment has shown to affect a person’s physical conditions and ability to function in an environment where he or she is uncomfortable. The majority of sexual harassment reports are from women than from men. Women are afraid that if they report sexual harassment they could lose their jobs. There are ways you can identify and reduce the risks of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is not only happening with the opposite sex but also with the same sex.
Defining sexual harassment can be difficult. It can have many different types of meanings such as unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances from another person, or a request for sexual favors. Not only does it mean in a physical way but can also be known as in a verbal type of way. The EEOC recognizes sexual harassment as a type of gender discrimination. When it comes to gender discrimination, it mostly focuses on women than men.
The EEOC has made a guideline to determine if an employee has been sexual harassed. The guidelines are determining whether a sexual conduct is “unwelcome, evaluating evidence, determining whether a work environment is sexually “hostile”, holding employers liable for sexual harassment by supervisors, and evaluating preventive and remedial action taken in response to claims of sexual harassment.
The EEOC has considered two types of sexual harassments: Quid pro quo and Hostile-environment. Quid pro quo is a type of sexual harassment that is most direct and obvious. It is define as a sexual harassment that occurs when job penalty or benefits is given based on the individuals acceptance or request for a sexual favors. Request for sexual favors can be change in compensation, job transfers, promotion, work schedule, bonuses, and any other matters that can affect an individual’s employment. An example is when a male boss asks a female coworker to sleep with him or she would be fire.
The second type of sexual harassment is a hostile-environment. Hostile-environment is normally involved in a workplace. Its meaning can be when a co-worker(s) make sexual comments, inappropriate touching and other comments that may make other co-works uncomfortable. Other types of hostile workplace may be spreading rumors, name calling, staring at a coworker’s body part, and writing or drawing sexual remarks. Working in a hostile environment can be awkward and stressful for the employee who is being harassed. It can interfere with an employee’s work performance. It could also make a person have a low self-esteem, depression and other health problems.
Identifying sexual harassment can be difficult. When a person’s behavior is primarily directed to another person and it continues multi-times the person can then report it as harassment. A person can report sexual harassment if unwelcome or inappropriate advances are made. Sexual harassment is not only a physical type but can also be in a verbal type of harassment such as critical or disparaging remarks and intimating acts. When trying to identify sexual harassment, there are ways that you could do to support a claim. Such as writing down what is said or what is happening around your surroundings, report harassment to your employer, or file for a lawsuit if the appropriate actions were not taken.
When a person reports sexual harassment, as a supervisor or manager it should be taken serious. Show respect and sensitivity to the victim even if you may have doubts. Listen and take full documentation of the conversation that is taken place. Once the complaint is issue, as supervisor, the next step would to investigate the sexual harassment complaint. Some sexual harassment cases may be difficult and frustrating or they can be simple and quick. When investigating, you must interview the complainant and the accused. Next, find evidence of sexual harassment such as a witness. After interviewing the complaint, the witness and the accuser you must conclude what actually happened. Organize your notes and conclusion and write your recommendation in a final report. As a recommendation you have two choices: no inappropriate conduct occurred or did occur and state your recommendation for dealing with both the alleged victim and harasser. If you state that a sexual harassment did occur, the company has legal obligation to take appropriate disciplinary action. If the harasser is a supervisor it is clear the he or she would be terminated from the job. Depending on the circumstances punishment for a harasser may be a demotion, job transfer, pay reduction or get fired. When victim do not report sexual harassment, it gives the harasser to believe that they have the approval or consent to continue making sexual remarks or other gestures.
When sexual harassment is reported a business could hurt financially. There are tips that can help reduce the risk of sexual harassment. Such as, adopting a policy and placing it in employee’s handbooks. Scheduling meeting for employee once a month to “discuss what sexual harassment is, how to prevent it” (England), what step to take if sexual harassed. Most importantly, supervisor and managers should be trained over the basics of sexual harassment and how to identify sexual harassment and how to deal with complaints from co-workers. New employees should be trained when he or she first becomes part of company. Training should be repeated each year. Sexual harassment should be taken serious and should not be tolerated. Supervisors may be liable for others actions even thought they are not the ones the harassing. Supervisors have responsibilities to report any sexual harassment complaints to the boss of the companies and to deal with the issue in an appropriate manner.
Sexual harassment has been major problem for many years. The federal government has loss billion over sexual harassment claims. Most people fear to report sexual harassment because of the fear of losing their jobs. Those that do not report sexual harassment not only fear of losing their jobs, but also fear that no one will believe her, or take her serious. That is why you should report being harassed as soon as possible. As an employee, you should have rights and should be able to work in a free hostile environment. Do not be afraid to stand up for what you believe is right and wrong in the workplace. The awareness of sexual harassment has been increasing significant throughout the years and businesses should use guidelines to preventing sexual harassment.
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