All employees have the right to fair treatment at work. Sexual harassment can cause victims real physical and emotional harm that prevents them from performing well on the job. It also undermines the trust and respect necessary for a productive work environment. Sexual harassment can occur in any type of job or workplace. Men and women on every level may be harassers or victims. Harassment may be directed at the opposite sex or the same sex.
Sexual harassment can also damage employers. Firms that failed to take strong, appropriate actions against sexual harassment have been hit with multimillion-dollar fines.
Question 1: Harassment may be directed at the opposite sex or the same sex.
Sexual Harassment is illegal and unfair.
● The Civil Rights Act Title VII defines it as discrimination.
● It is unfair because it targets individuals based on their sex.
● Victims may suffer emotional or physical harm or find it impossible to perform effectively on the job.
● Performance and productivity suffer.
● It is so serious that it can be a reason for government action and personal lawsuits.
Question 2: Victims of sexual harassment may suffer emotional or physical harm?
Sexual Harassment is Unwelcome Sexual Conduct.
● It may range from requests for sexual favors or repeated sexual jokes to unwanted touching. It can be a repeated series of incidents or a single particularly offensive incident.
● Harassers or victims may be male or female; of the same sex or opposite sex.
Question 3: It is ridiculous to imagine a man being a victim of sexual harassment
Harassment May Involve Sexual "Quid Pro Quo" (Something for Something)
● It can be a promise of job-related rewards (raises, promotions) in exchange for sexual favors.
● It may be a threat of job-related penalties (firing, transfer, bad review) for failure to provide sexual favors.
● Quid pro quo harassment is often an abuse of power.
● Superiors may use sex to force employees to do something against their will or put up with unfair, unpleasant situations.
● The U.S. Supreme Court says employers are liable when harassers follow through on sexual quid pro quos.
● There may be liability even if the employer is unaware of the termination, demotions, etc., and the victim didn't officially complain.
● The U.S. Supreme Court says a quid pro quo linking sex with work is harassment even if the harasser doesn't follow through on the promise or threat.
Question 4: A person who is promised a raise and promotion in exchange for sexual favors is a victim of sexual harassment.
Question 5: Quid pro quo harassment is often an abuse of power?
Question 6: There could be liability to the employer, even if the victim did not complain?
Harassment May Involve a Sexually Hostile Work Environment.
● The victim defines what's undesirable or offensive.
● Conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance is harassment (teasing, threatening, constant sexual discussion, etc.).
● Conduct may involve one or more individuals.
● It may be harassment if the victim finds the resulting work environment "hostile, intimidating, or offensive".
Question 7: Sexual discussions in the workplace that are offensive to others are considered harassment.
Sexual Harassment May be Physical, Verbal, or Nonverbal.
● Physical – examples: unwanted touching of body or clothing, holding, grabbing, pinching, hugging, kissing, "accidental" bumping or brushing against, physical assault, coerced sexual intercourse, attempted rape or rape.
● Verbal - examples: Sexual slurs or innuendoes, offensive jokes and language, sexual teasing, sexual comments about a person's body or clothing, personal sexual questions, sexual threats, ongoing sexual descriptions and commentary.
● Nonverbal – examples: Staring at a person's body, leaning over someone at a desk, lewd gestures or motions, leering, circulating printed material of a sexual nature, persistent, unwelcome flirting.
● All sexual comments and actions are not illegal sexual harassment. It is sexual harassment to link employment decisions to sex. It is sexual harassment when the recipient makes it clear that the actions are unwanted and uncomfortable.
Question 8: Non-verbal actions will not be considered sexual harassment?
Question 9: People who can't take jokes about their bodies or sex lives are bad sports, not victims of sexual harassment.
Employers Cannot Ignore Sexual Harassment.
● An employer must prove it has a strong sexual harassment policy and that the complaining employee failed to take advantage of it.
Employers Should Act Against Sexual Harassment.
● Formal policies should clearly state: that sexual harassment is unacceptable, what constitutes sexual harassment, how to report, how it will be investigated, and how harassers will be disciplined.
● All employees should know about and understand the policies.
● All employees should receive regular training on how to recognize, avoid, report, and respond to sexual harassment.
● Employers should offer multiple reporting paths to protect victims harassed by direct supervisors.
● Trained staff should follow specific steps to investigate allegations quickly and fairly to all parties.
● Employers should promptly apply policy-required disciplines when supported by investigation results.
Question 10: All employees should know and understand sexual harassment policies.
Victims Should Assert Their Rights.
● A victim should always tell a harasser that his/her behavior is inappropriate and/or unacceptable.
● That's often enough to stop the harassment.
● The victim should follow company policies to report continued harassment.
● Failure to use internal reporting methods can reduce a victim's chance of success in any later legal action.
● Failure to provide, encourage, and follow through on reporting methods can reduce an employer's chance of successfully defending a sexual harassment suit.
Question 11: A victim of sexual harassment should tell the harasser to stop and that his/her behavior is inappropriate and unacceptable.