Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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Sexual harassment in the workplace is a real, widespread issue but is also a broad and ambiguous subject. Many employees and employers do not completely understand what constitutes sexual harassment or even who can be charged with a violation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recognizes two forms of sexual harassment as illegal; quid pro quo (sexual harassment) and hostile environment harassment. Charges can involve harassment of a sexual nature or simply a hostile work environment and therefore, policies and procedures must be put in place and training must be conducted for all employees. All businesses should take precautions to eliminate any chance of sexual harassment to ensure a contented work environment.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment laws are listed in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and apply to employers with fifteen or more employees to include state and local governments (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell, 2011). Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in the working environment (Bohlander & Snell, 2010). But that is a broad definition and can be quite confusing to many employers. Besides physical it can also be verbal or written communication and can be between people of different genders or of the same-sex (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell, 2011). The law is concerned with the conduct and not the sex of the people involved or the presence or absence of sexual desire (Bohlander & Snell, 2010).

Additionally, other forms of sexual harassment are unwanted sexual advances such as touching or groping and/or repeated degrading or sexist remarks that are directed...

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... Sexual harassment is a real problem but can also be used by disgruntled employees who wish to retaliate against an employer or fellow employee for a perceived wrong. Therefore, good investigation practices must be put in place. Because of the ambiguous nature of sexual harassment and hostile working environment harassment, employers need to take precautions even if this means tolerating no harassment of any kind to ensure compliance with the law.

Works Cited

Bohlander, G., & Snell, S. (2010). Managing Human Resources (pp. 116-119). Mason: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Ferrell, O., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2011). Business Ethics. Ethical Decison Making And Cases (pp. 72-74). Mason: South-Western Cengage Learning. (Original work published 2008)

Sexual Harassment. (n.d.). US EEOC Home Page. Retrieved March 5, 2011, from
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