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They may be neurosurgeons or typists, police officers or telephone operators,
construction workers or even members of Congress - more than half of working
women have faced the problem of sexual harassment at some point in their
careers. The situation tends to be worse in male dominated workplaces; in a
l997 Defense Department study, 4 percent of military women have reported
enduring such abuse. Although the severity may vary from patterns of obscene
joking to outright assault, the emotional damage is often profound and long
lasting. Up until just a few years ago, women had no recourse when confronted
with such harassment by a boss or co-worker. However, the problem continues
to thrive among the female work force reminding women of their vulnerability
and creating tensions that make their jobs more difficult.
Defining sexual harassment is one of the law\'s newest frontiers, since it
covers such a wide range conduct. In essence, there are two general types of
sexual harassment: Quid pro quo harassment and condition of work harassment.
Quid pro quo harassment describes a situation in which a person in authority,
typically a male, requires sexual favors from an employee, typically a
female, in return for an employment advantage, such as getting hired, getting
promoted, obtaining better working conditions, or not getting fired.
Condition of work harassment, also known as environment or workplace
harassment, is less direct, and arises when an employee is subjected to
requests for sexual favors, sexual comments or sexual insults, but no
negative employment consequences follow from the employee\'s refusal to accede
to the demands made on her.
Sexual Harassment can be defined as an unwelcome sexual advance, requests for
sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. These
constitute sexual harassment when submission to such conduct is made either
explicitly or implicitly based on a term or condition of an individual\'s
employment. Submission to, or rejection of, such contact by an individual is
used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual. Such
conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an
individual\'s work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile or
offensive working environment."
In 1988, the EEOC amended its guidelines to extend legal responsibility for
the behavior of non-employees as well. This can happen when the employer
puts an employee in a situation where it knows, or should know that unwelcome
sexual advances are likely to occur. For example, when a company requires an
employee to dress in provocative clothing where customers or passersby are
likely to make sexual advances to her.
However, what constitutes "conduct of a sexual nature"? It is understood
that this includes sexual advances or propositions, but this term also refers
to many other forms of indirect sexual harassment as well. The forms that
such sexual harassment can take are as varied as a perverse imagination can
create. Sexual conduct can also include pranks, threats and intimidation,
sexual commentary and lewd humor, and sexual or pornographic pictures
permeating the workplace. Hostile acts related to an employee\'s gender are
another type of prohibited conduct of a sexual nature, even though they may
not involve sexual overtures at all.
Sexual harassment results from a misuse in power - not from sexual
attraction. This misuse in power can be a result of male hostility toward
the number of working women - Surveys have tracked male attitudes about the
proper role of a man in society in order to understand the root of this
When studying the issue of sexual harassment, onemay agree that the problem
stems from an abuse of power. Sexual Harassment attributes the problem to
women\'s subordinate position in the labor force. Women are victimized by
harassment, because they are generally men\'s subordinates on the job, with
men in the position to do the hiring, firing, supervising and promoting.
Sexual harassment can also be caused by men expressing their resentment and
trying to reassert control when they view women as economic competitors. In
fact, sexual harassment is closely linked with sex discrimination. Sexual
discrimination forces women into lower paying jobs, and sexual harassment
help keep them there. Seen in this context, male workers who harass a woman
on the job are doing more than annoying her, they are creating a climate of
intimidation and repression, making the
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Workplace bullying, Business ethics, Labour law, Bullying, Harassment, Sexual harassment, Quid pro quo, Women in the workforce, Workplace, Abuse, Sexual harassment in the US workplace, Workplace harassment
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