BUS 670: Legal Environment
Professor Michael Schindler
July 2, 2012
Sexual harassment is always a legal topic in the work environment because the ramifications are so severe, but at the same time very abstract to describe what can constitute sexual harassment. This paper will take into consideration different elements of the law including Employment Law and cases tried before the U.S. Supreme Court. It will also offer suggestions for corrective action pertaining to the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. In corporate America, sexual harassment is a huge concern amongst many organizations. The matter of sexual harassment is an issue that needs to be immediately attended to in order for companies to avoid large costs associated with lawsuits stemming from allegations of being sexually harassed in the workplace. Sexual harassment is usually an immediate damage. According to Crucet et al. (2010), “sexual harassment can cause damage to a company’s representation, status, customers, as well as their proceeds”. Sexual harassment can be identified as any unwelcome sexual jesters or advances, request for sex, and/or any physical or verbal conduct that may be considered in a sexual nature. The legalities circling sexual harassment can be broken down into two particular categories. According to Crucet et al. (2010), “the first category is quid pro quo and the second one consists of a hostile environment”. The first category of quid pro quo (this for that) sexual harassment usually involves an employee and a supervisor because in most situations only supervisors have the power of hiring and firing an employee. It also “involves some express or implied linkage between an employee’s submission to sexually oriented behavior and tangible job consequences” (Mallor et al., 2010, p. 1328). An example of quid pro quo could be related to a supervisor telling his female employee that “if you do this sexual favor for me, then you will be promoted”. According to Tyner & Clinton (2010), “other examples include managers requesting sexual favors, and the receipt or non-receipt of those favors as a condition for making hiring, termination, promotion, and other placement decisions.” Quid pro quo is easier to identify than hostile environment harassment. The second category of sexual harassment is called hostile environment harassment. According to Mallor et al. (2010), “hostile environment harassment, occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome, sex-related behavior that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to change the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment” (p. 1328). The key element of any type of harassment is unwelcomed sexual advances but in hostile environment harassment it is definitely a bit tricky and at times hard to define (Tyner & Clinton, 2010). Both categories of sexual harassment violate Title VII of Employment Law that is in place to protect equal opportunity in the workplace. In order to avoid or limit their liability for sexual harassment allegations, an employer must act immediately when issues of sexual harassment are brought to their attention in addition to providing adequate training on sexual harassment along with having an effective policy in place that identifies the definition of sexual harassment.
A current ethical situation that I have encountered in the workplace involves hostile environment harassment. I have an employee by the name of Bob Doe that has been accused of sexual harassment in the workplace. Bob has been working as an Admissions Counselor under my supervision since January of 2011. Bob is married with three young children between the ages of ten to sixteen. Bob is a great worker but people still feel uncomfortable around him and comes off much different that the other male employee or co worker. He carries around an aura or vibe that makes the female employees feel...