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    Sexual Harassment

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    1. In your opinion, which procedures surrounding sexual harassment complaints can/should be improved? How?

    2. What standard of "hostile, threatening, and offensive" environment should we in fact use?

    3. Average reasonable woman would find it offensive?

    4. Average reasonable person would or should know that it is offensive?

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    https://brainmass.com/law/history-and-philosophy-of-law/addressing-sexual-harassment-workplace-33310

    Solution Preview

    Please refer to attached file response. Included as part of my response are two highly relevant articles attached for convenience.

    1. In your opinion, which procedures surrounding sexual harassment complaints can/should be improved? How?

    Before looking at what needs to be changed, let's briefly look at what is.
    Harassment, whether by a supervisor or co-worker, creates a barrier to equality by demeaning its victims, interfering with their ability to work effectively and, in some instances, even forcing them to resign. Despite the publicity surrounding this issue, studies consistently show that employees continue to face harassment in the workplace.
    What is harassment?
    Sexual harassment is a legal concept developed originally to address a particular type of sexual discrimination. Briefly, sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that makes someone feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in the workplace by focusing attention on their gender instead of on their professional qualifications. The concept applies now to both women and men, to adults and to children.
    Sexual harassment is usually defined as behavior by someone higher in status or power toward someone lower in status or power, although harassment by peers or customers is also recognized as a problem. The unequal balance of power is an intrinsic element of the legal definition of sexual harassment.
    Sexual harassment in the workplace can take two forms: quid pro quo and hostile work environment harassment.

    In the quid pro quo type of case, a supervisor requests sexual favors in return for some tangible job benefit, such as a promotion, or threatens a tangible job loss, such as termination, if the employee does not capitulate to the sexual advances (see attached file http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/case/harassment.html?ref=harassment_overture).
    As well, the EEOC requires all organizations with more than 15 employees to develop a sexual harassment policy, to make that policy public, and train employees in issues of sexual harassment. If you're not sure whether or not you're being harassed, talk to someone in the human resources department of your organization.
    Most states also have sexual harassment laws. (see http://www.de.psu.edu/harassment/whatif/ for more information and details).
    Whereas sexual harassment is a specific kind of harassment, harassment is any unwanted physical or verbal conduct that offends or humiliates you. Such conduct can interfere with your ability to do a job or obtain a service.
    Harassment is a type of discrimination. It can take many forms, such as:
    • Threats, intimidation, or verbal abuse;
    • Unwelcome remarks or jokes about subjects like your race, religion, disability or age;
    • Displaying sexist, racist or other offensive pictures or posters;
    • Sexually suggestive remarks or gestures;
    • Inappropriate physical contact, such as touching, patting, pinching or punching;
    • Physical assault, including sexual assault.
    Harassment can consist of a single incident or several incidents over a period of time.
    Harassment, including sexual harassment, can create a negative or hostile work environment, which can interfere with your job performance and result in your being refused a job, a promotion or a training opportunity. The harasser, who could be of the same or opposite sex as the person harassed, may be a supervisor, a co-worker, or someone providing you with a service, such as a bank officer or a clerk in a government department.
    In fact, sexual harassment in the workplace can take two forms: quid pro quo and hostile work environment harassment. In the quid pro quo type of case, a supervisor requests sexual favors in return for some tangible job benefit, such as a promotion, or threatens a tangible job loss, such as termination, if the employee does not capitulate to the sexual advances. Hostile environment cases involve severe and pervasive sexual work environments, including offensive physical touching, vulgar language, pornographic displays, sexual conduct in the workplace, etc. either by managers or co-workers. Hostile environment sexual harassment often affects large groups of employees. Even employees who are not themselves targeted for sexual touching or advances can assert hostile work environment claims based on their being forced to work in an environment that, as a whole, is offensive to them and to others.

    Sexual harassment will be considered to have taken place if a reasonable person ought to have known that the behaviour was unwelcome.
    What to do about it?
    Don't ignore harassment. Report it. In Canada, for example, if you are harassed, there are several steps you can follow:
    • Make it clear to the harasser that his or her actions are not welcome.
    • Document your case. Keep a written record of the incidents, including times, places and witnesses.
    • If you are harassed at work, contact the appropriate person identified in your employer's harassment policy. If you are not satisfied, there might be a union or company grievance procedure you can follow.
    • If you are harassed by the provider of a service, complain to the management.
    • If these steps do not get ...

    Solution Summary

    By responding to the questions, this solution addresses aspects of sexual harassment in the workplace. References are provided. Two informative and related articles are provided, as well.

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