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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Rules & Resources

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Post a succinct easy-to-read summary report on your issue. The report must include the following components:
Brief description of the law or issue (and who is affected/covered by it), using simple language and your own words.
Well supported explanation of how and why this legal issue is important for you and your colleagues as current or future managers.
Brief discussion of at least one potential ethical concern associated with this law or legal issue, including your reasoning and a specific illustrative example.
Analysis of the implications for managers/leaders and their organizations if the law or legal issue is not adequately understood, prevented and/or properly managed. Include here issues related to trust if applicable.
A set of well supported practical recommendations you can use yourself or give to a new manager. Each recommendation must be derived from your earlier discussion. Incorporate attention to justice rules (see Colquitt et al, Table 7-2) as appropriate.
Reliable resources managers might consult should they confront this issue. This might include journal articles and government documents or Websites.

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Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that affects an individual's employment or interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an unpleasant, offensive, or hostile work environment. Sexual harassment applies to women and men, and the victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. The harasser may be the victim's supervisor, co-worker, or a non-employee. The victim does not have to have been the person harassed but can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct. Harassment does not need to include economic injury or termination of the victim. The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome (http://archive.eeoc.gov/types/sexual_harassment.html).

This issue is key to current and future managers because it is a serious, growing problem that can have legal and financial implications to the organization. Employers are liable if sexual misconduct is made as a term or condition of employment or forms a basis for employment decisions affecting the individual. In addition, employers are liable if they are aware or should have been aware of sexual misconduct creating a hostile environment, and they fail to take corrective action. In addition to litigation costs and court -awarded damages sexual harassment cases cost organizations productivity, good will, employee morale, and reputation. Victims of sexual harassment can collect back pay, lost wages, be reinstated to jobs, and also receive compensatory and punitive damages up to $300,000(http://www3.uakron.edu/lawrev/robert1.html).

A concern with sexual harassment would be not responding to inappropriate conduct or actions could result in much larger issues, like violence in the workplace. Should a manager or organization fail to address sexual harassment satisfactory either the harasser or the victim may be incited to violence (the harasser as a way to further exude pressure on the victim, and the victim as a form of retribution.). At our local community college a young girl was having a relationship with her supervisor that turned violent once she decided to terminate the affair. The girl was found murdered, and her former supervisor is now in jail. This addresses the crucial need for managers to understand sexual harassment ...

Solution Summary

This detailed solution provides a brief description of the laws regarding sexual harassment, and includes examples. It gives a potential ethical concern in regards to the law, gives analysis of the implications for managers and their organizations, and gives a set of well supported practical recommendations to help managers follow and understand the law as well as reliable resources managers might consult should they confront this issue. It includes links and examples.

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Questions in regards to a case study involving harassment

Need some assistance in answering the following questions in regards to a mini case study involving harassment.

What federal law and/or state law apply to this case? What kind of harassment, if any, took place? What steps should an employee normally take to qualify a claim for sexual harassment? What agency(s) should Kitty complain to before filing a law suit? What procedural steps are required in order to file a law suit? What are other avenues of relief provided by governmental agencies? Do you think the employer is liable? Why? What defense(s) does the employer have to Kitty's claims, if any.

Please cite references.

Kitty Russell began working for General Hospital in 1999. In August, 2000 she was transferred to the maternity ward, where she worked under the supervision of Chester Goode. Kitty alleges that Goode sexually harassed her from early 2001 until late 2002. Goode's behavior toward Kitty allegedly included both inappropriate comments and unwelcome physical touching. One incident (April 2002) included Kitty being called into Goode's office and he told her he would overlook her attendance problems if he could get close to her and in the process he grabbed her crotch. As it turned out, Kitty had resolved a child care issue that very day and was not late again. Another incident involved an incident in an elevator where Goode reached around her from behind and grabbed her breasts (October 2001). Kitty complained to him about being touched, but Goode merely laughed and told her to "loosen up". Other times Goode would comment on the figures of other hospital personnel in Kitty's presence, normally he would comment about the breast size of every women employee from nurses to doctors.

Chester also liked to tell jokes that had a theme of women with big butts. Kitty; herself; was a little heavy but not over weight. She would laugh at the big butt jokes but told Chester she did not like the comments about women's breasts. At a staff meeting Goode commented to Kitty that if she ever wanted to be a patient he would love to start the process for her to be admitted to the maternity ward.

Kitty told a co-worker (Matt Dillon - who happened to be a supervisor when Goode went on vacation) about Goode's behavior, but Kitty did not formally report it to management until January 2003 when she reported Goode's harassing conduct to one of his supervisors in accordance with hospital procedures set out in the employee manual [Kitty had read the manual during orientation and signed an acknowledgment; however; the manual had been updated several times since then and it was missing on her floor and it took her several weeks to find a copy which she finally found at another nursing station on a different floor; Kitty had not attended yearly classes on the hospital's harassment procedures due to scheduling problems; however she had seen the posters in the employees kitchen area concerning reporting sexual harassment].

An investigation was immediately started against Goode, prompting him to retire. Shortly after he retired Kitty was given new working hours and she was transferred to the grave yard shift because her new supervisor who knew Goode was wary of working with her. Kitty quit her job to attend to her "emotional issues" resulting from her experiences with the hospital.

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