Sexual harassment has broadly been defined as a form of sexual discrimination or activity, which violates the civil rights of an individual within the Civil Rights Act. In the U.S. the agency that is in charge of the enforcement of this Act is known as the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Being a federal agency, EEOC is a body that receives and investigates any complaint concerning any form of sexual harassment at the workplace. According to AllLaw, sexual harassment entails any unwarranted sexual advances, sexual favor requests, and any other verbal or physical conduct of the sexual nature (2017). Sexual harassment has thereby become a social vice or problem that is commonly witnessed within the modern-day workplaces; hence, organizations, through their managers, must come up with the most relevant strategies for combatting this kind of workplace vice. This paper thereby analyzes the most common forms of sexual harassments that employees face at the workplace; hence, suggests some of the most appropriate solutions or strategies, which employers can employ/implement to protect their subjects from sexual predators.
Sexual harassment at workplace is a serious offence that might be committed by both males and females. It involves the unwelcomed conducts or advances of sexual nature and may unreasonably interfere with an individuals job performance, hence creating an offensive, hostile, or intimidating working environment. According to EEOC, there are two common forms of sexual harassments as recognized by the federal laws. These include the hostile work environment and quid pro quo (AllLaw 2017). The quid pro quo denotes the situation under which the employment decisions including hiring, promotion, and firing are deliberated by the employees ability to offer sexual favors to their superiors. On the other hand, the 'hostile work environment' is a form of sexual harassment that involves the situations under which the work environment of employees is intentionally made hostile, offensive, or intimidating due to the unwarranted sexual conducts, which unreasonably hinders the job performance of the employees (Clark 2017). A good example of the hostile work environment harassment may include the uttering of offensive sexual jokes or comments, sex discussions, or display of sexually inclined materials to/with employees. Sexual harassers may be either a woman or a man, and the victims may as well be from either sex.
From other scholarly sources, sexual harassment may be categorized into five classes, which include sexual imposition, sexual coercion, sexual bribery, seductive behaviors, and gender harassment. As well, the harassment may take various forms such as (i) unwarranted hugging, touching, pinching, patting, stroking, shoulder rubs, or kissing. (ii) Sexual explicit images, photographs, posters, drawings, or screensavers. (iii) Leering or staring. (iv) Suggestive jokes or comments. (v) Request for sex or unreasonable and repeated invitations to go out for a date. (vi) Intrusive inquiry or comments about employees private body part, private life, behavior, or personal clothing. (vii) Sexual explicit SMS messages or emails. (viii) Unnecessary familiarity such as brushing body part against someone. (ix) Access to sexually explicit websites. (x) Sexual advances on social sites. (x) Unreasonable stares, facial expression, and sexual or derogatory gestures. (xi) Offensive behaviors under the sexual harassment criminal law, such as indecent exposure, physical assault, obscene or stalking communications, or sexual assault (Clark 2017).
Sexual harassment is unlawful, and every organizational leader or manager must work hard to prevent this activity from occurring at their workplaces. As well, there are policies or laws designed to protect employees from the above forms of harassments. As such, the law may hold an organization's Manager legally liable for any act of sexual harassment committed by their employees under their watch. The Vicarious Liability is a Sex Discrimination Act that makes organizational leaders responsible for any act of sexual harassment unless they took all the possible steps towards preventing the incidences (Clark 2017). Managers are thereby expected to have an appropriate and up-to-date sexual harassment policy that can effectively be implemented, communicated, observed, or monitored by all participants. Moreover, they have an obligation to take the most appropriate remedial reaction to the occurrence of any sexual harassment. In these regards, these policies and procedures are essential for the employers to uphold a positive workplace environment and relationships that aim at improving employee performance and motivation (AllLaw 2017). When managing the sexual harassment instances at the workplace, managers may also have the obligations under the laws such as defamation, occupational, industrial, health and safety, and privacy laws. As an organizations manager, one must ensure that there is a formal procedure of handling the sexual harassment cases by their Human Resource Departments. As well, there should be a system or program set aside for the education and creation of awareness about the sexual harassment activities. In this program, the employees know their roles and responsibilities towards minimizing the cases of sexual harassment.
In conclusion, sexual harassment has been defined in a very broad perspective as any form of the unwarranted sexual advances, sexual favor requests, and any other physical or verbal conduct of the sexual nature, which makes employees uncomfortable within their workplaces. As such, any conduct or activity of sexual nature, which makes people uncomfortable within their workplaces or makes the working conditions hostile has the potential to be regarded as sexual harassment. Organizational leaders or managers must thereby strive all the time to ensure that their employees work within a workplace that is free from sexual harassment through implementing regulatory policies and sexual harassment control strategies.
AllLaw. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Defined, (2017). Available at: http://www.alllaw.com/articles/employment/article37.asp
Clark, Peter. Types of Sexual Harassments, 2017. Available at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/types-of-sexual-harassment.html
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