Definition of Sexual Harassment (from: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-sex.html ) http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-sex.html “ Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. ”
Sexual harassment includes a broad range of objectionable behaviors. These are frequently grouped into two categories: 1. quid pro quo harassment, and 2. hostile or abusive work environment.
making sexual demands where refusal results in adverse consequences (such as dismissal, loss of promotion, reduced benefits, etc.) quid pro quo harassment
actions that are sufficiently offensive to result in a hostile or abusive work environment a hostile or abusive work environment
A hostile or abusive environment is one that a reasonable person would perceive to be such. Evidence of severe psychological injury or diminished job performance is not necessary.
According to the E.E.O.C. (http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-sex.html), sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-sex.html 1. The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. 2. 2.The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
3. The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct. 4. Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim. 5. The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.
The number of charges of sexual harassment resolved by the E.E.O.C. were…. for fiscal year 2011: 12,571; and for each fiscal year between 1997 and 2010: between 11,592 and 17,333. ( http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/sexual_harassment.cfm )http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/sexual_harassment.cfm
U.S. studies report the following percentages of individuals have experienced sexual harassment: Women: 40 to 75 % Men: 13 to 31 %
Employers bear responsibility for preventing and eliminating sexual harassment from the workplace.
An employer is liable when sexual harassment results in “a tangible employment action such as discharge, demotion or undesirable assignment.” When there is no tangible action (as in hostile environment cases), an employer could still be liable, but could defend itself by establishing that 1. “reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior” has been taken, and 2. the employee “unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities” provided.
A strong, well-publicized employer policy against harassment combined with an effective grievance procedure are the best tools for employers to combat sexual harassment and to protect themselves from liability. In particular, 1. the policy must be effectively communicated to employees, 2. complaints must be promptly investigated, and 3. appropriate corrective action must be promptly taken.
Sexual Harassment Training People need regular, effective training. A 30-minute briefing is not sufficient. Even if employees have read the company’s policy on sexual harassment, they tend to forget key points and need refreshers.
Goals of Sexual Harassment Training Raise awareness and clarify misconceptions about what constitutes sexual harassment. Inform managers of their responsibilities to provide a harassment-free work environment for all employees.
Sexual harassment is not limited to private sector business. The U.S. military has also been found to have significant problems with sexual harassment.
In addition to the effects on the victim, there are many costs incurred by an organization as a consequence of sexual harassment. The expenses from law suits are only one set of costs. When an individual leaves his/her place of employment because of harassment, the replacement costs can be quite high, and include expenditures for recruitment and retraining. Negative publicity is another cost of sexual harassment.
A group of researchers created a model involving sexual harassment. They explored the factors related to the existence of sexual harassment as well as the consequences of that harassment.
From: C. R. Willness, P. Steel, and K. Lee. (2007). A meta-analysis of the antecedents and consequences of workplace sexual harassment. Personnel Psychology, 60, 127–162. A Model of the Antecedents and Consequences of Workplace Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is more likely to be a problem when certain aspects of the organizational climate exist. These aspects include: (a) (a) Perceived risk to victims for complaining, (b) (b) Lack of sanctions against offenders, and (c) (c) Perception that complaints will not be taken seriously.
A Model of the Antecedents and Consequences of Workplace Sexual Harassment Job gender context is usually measured by the gender ratio of the workgroup, and/or the extent to which an occupation is traditionally male or traditionally female. Incidents of sexual harassment tend to be more prevalent in: (a) work groups where women represent the minority, and (b) situations where women are working in traditionally “masculine” occupations.
A Model of the Antecedents and Consequences of Workplace Sexual Harassment Job-related consequences of sexual harassment include: (a) (a) reduced satisfaction with coworkers, supervisor, and the job; (b) (b)reduced organizational commitment and increased withdrawal behavior such as absenteeism; and (c) (c) reduced workgroup productivity (quantity and quality of work produced).
A Model of the Antecedents and Consequences of Workplace Sexual Harassment Effects on the health and well-being of the sexual harassment victim may include: (a) (a)adverse psychological effects such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (symptoms of which include emotional numbing, flashbacks, and sleep disturbances); (b) (b)physical health symptoms such as nausea, headaches, shortness of breath, and exhaustion; (c) (c) reduced overall life satisfaction.
Serious negative consequences of sexual harassment have been found to be evident across socioeconomic groups, educational levels, cultures, countries, age groups, and occupations.
Gays fear the impact of coming out on their physical safety, opportunities for promotion, merit ratings, salary increases, and team cohesiveness. Human resource professionals and other business people should be aware of the fear that gay employees feel about coming out. Sexual orientation harassment is also a serious problem.
Numerous studies have collected survey data on discrimination and harassment against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals. The results have been compiled in: Badgett, M.V.L., Lau, H., Sears, B., and Ho, D., (2007). Bias in the Workplace: Consistent Evidence of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination. Los Angeles: Williams Institute, http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/5h3731xr. http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/5h3731xr In the two slides that follow, some of the findings are summarized.
Studies done since the mid-1990s have found that 15% to 43% of lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) respondents experienced discrimination in the workplace. More specifically, LGB respondents reported the following experiences related to their sexual orientation: (a) 8%-17% were fired or denied employment, (b) 10%-28% were denied a promotion or given negative performance evaluations, (c) 7%-41% were verbally or physically abused or had their workplace vandalized, and (d) 10%-19% received unequal pay or benefits.
In several studies conducted between 1996 and 2006, 20% to 57% of transgender respondents reported having experienced employment discrimination at some point in their life. More specifically, based on their gender identity, (a) 13%-56% were fired, (b) 13%-47% were denied employment, (c) 19% were denied a promotion, and (d) 22%-31% were harassed.