Sexual harassment is a very major issue at the workplace. It requires tact and courage on the part of the victim, and willingness on the part of the employer to deal with it.
One of the most serious issues at the workplace; sexual harassment is one of the foremost work-related issues of our times. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) describes sexual harassment as the following:
“Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, oroffensive working environment.”
Whenever an unwelcome sexual suggestion is made by a person, it qualifies as an act of sexual harassment by the person upon whom this advance is made. The qualifying and operative expression is “unwelcome behavior”.
What Kinds of Acts Qualify for Sexual Harassment?
A huge number of acts and behaviors fall in the bracket of sexual harassment. These are just some of them:
- Sexually suggestive signals
- Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements
- Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking
- Giving personal gifts
- Touching an employee’s clothing, hair, or body
- Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person’s personal sex life
- Sexual comments about a person’s clothing, anatomy, or looks
- Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history
- Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault
- Unwanted pressure for sexual favors
- Result of sexual harassment at work
Consequences of Sexual Harassment
The victim of sexual harassment can suffer in a number of ways when subjected to sexual harassment:
- Poor productivity
- Feeling embarrassed
- Feeling ashamed
- Abstention from work
- Loss of sleep
What is the Remedy?
In liberal societies, it is much easier to find legal and other options as means of combating sexual harassment. In less developed countries though, the route is more
complicated due to a variety of factors. Some of the steps the victim can take include: