Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Kirkwood Community College
Principles of Management MGT-101
April 21, 2013
Have you ever been sexually harassed? At work, on the street, or even at a restaurant? Sexual harassment is a big issue concerning today's managers. The definition of sexual harassment can be defined as "unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile work environment (Equal Rights Advocates, 2002)". There different types of sexual harassment, ways to spot sexual harassment, and things to do about sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is never a good thing so try to avoid it as much as possible and also do not be the person sexually harassing someone else.
Sexual harassment is not always about sexual attraction. At its core it is much more about power. There can be some part in there when harassing interactions stem from misunderstandings about sexual interest or desire, but harassers are mainly concerned about the power over others. Woman are more likely to be harassed because the harassers are using sexual behavior to put the woman "in her place". Whereas male targets, are often not seen as fitting in the normality of heterosexual masculinity. It could be because of their own sexual preferences, or simply because they are seen as un-masculine. No matter the gender, the overall goal of the harasser is to humiliate and disempower the person they are harassing (Blackstone, 2012).
The different types of sexual harassment are: verbal or written, physical, nonverbal, and visual. Verbal or written sexual harassment can be anything said or written that could offend another person. It could be comments about clothing, personal behavior, or a person's body. There could be sexual or sex-based jokes being told. Other things that could count as verbal sexual harassment could be telling rumors about a person's personal or sexual life and even threatening a person (Equal Rights Advocates, 2002). Another type of sexual harassment is physical sexual harassment. Examples of this kind of harassment are: assault, kissing, hugging, patting, and stroking. Also, inappropriate touching of a person or a person's clothing (Equal Rights Advocates, 2002). The third time of sexual harassment is nonverbal. Looking up and down a person's body, derogatory gestures or facial expressions of a sexual nature, or following a person are all types of nonverbal sexual harassment (Equal Rights Advocates, 2002). The last type of sexual harassment is visual sexual harassment. Examples of visual harassment are: posters, drawings, pictures, screensavers, or emails of a sexual nature (Equal Rights Advocates, 2002).
Sexual harassment does not just happen between one woman and one man. There are many different circumstances that can be considered sexual harassment. The people do not have to be of different genders. They can be both men, both woman, or they can be different genders. The harasser can be a supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in a different area, a co-worker, or even a non-employee. The survivor does not have to be the person that is directly harassed. It could be anyone that is offended by the sexual conduct. For all of these situations, the harasser's conduct must be unwelcome (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network , 2009). Otherwise, it is not considered to be sexual harassment.
There are also two different types of sexual harassment environments. They are quid pro que and hostile work environment. Quid pro que is an exchanged based on "You do something for me and I'll do something for you (Krotz, 2011)." Sexual harassment occurs in this environment when a job benefit is linked to the employee's unwelcome sexual behavior. It includes: agreeing to have a date with a supervisor, having sex with a supervisor, or making professional decisions based on being quiet about a...
References: Blackstone, A. (2012, May). Fighting sexual harassment in the workplace . Retrieved from http://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/sites/default/files/ssn_basic_facts_blackstone_on _sexual_harassment.pdf
Equal Rights Advocates. (2002, May 30). Know your rights: Sexual harassment at work. Retrieved from http://www.equalrights.org/publications/kyr/shwork.asp
Krotz, J. (2011, March 04). How to handle sexual harassment in the workplace. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/biz-on-main/2011/03/04/handle-sexual-harassment- workplace/
McKay, D. (n.d.). Title vii of the civil rights act of 1964. Retrieved from http://careerplanning.about.com/od/federallawsus/a/civilrightsact.htm
Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (2009). Sexual harassment. Retrieved from http://www.rainn.org/get-information/types-of-sexual-assault/sexual-harassment
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