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Sexual harassment in the workplace - Meaning and Examples


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What is sexual harassment in the workplace? Some examples of behaviors that can constitute workplace harassment? What are examples of non-verbal and online / digital behavior of sexual harassment in the workplace?
What is Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Work Environment?

Published in: Recruiting & HR
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Sexual harassment in the workplace - Meaning and Examples

  1. 1. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Sonam Mittal – Activist & Gender Consultant Meaning and examples
  2. 2. What is sexual harassment in the workplace? Sexual harassment in the workplace is any behaviour that is; UNWELCOME SEXUAL in nature SUBJECTIVE in experience IMPACT and not ‘intent’ is what matters Often occurs in a matrix of POWER
  3. 3. How do you ascertain ‘unwelcome’ behaviour? Employee complains Verbal responses, usually ‘NO’ Change in expressions Body language Physical / visible signs of discomfort Avoidance
  4. 4. Types of sexual harassment in the workplace? 1. Quid Pro Quo 2. Hostile Work Environment
  5. 5. What is Quid Pro Quo? Implied or explicit promise of preferential / detrimental treatment in employment Implied or expressed threat about present or future employment status
  6. 6. What is Hostile Work Environment? Creating a hostile, intimidating or an offensive work environment Humiliating treatment likely to affect employee health, safety or productivity
  7. 7. Question - An employee whose conduct creates an offensive environment for a co-worker, must intend to offend, for it to be considered harassment. NO Claim for hostile environment sexual harassment does not require proof of intent to harass. Many people accused of harassment genuinely believe their behaviour is funny or attractive. Some people even believe it is welcome or appreciated by everyone.
  8. 8. Forms of sexual harassment in the workplace - Verbal | Sexually suggestive comments, stories, remarks, jokes or innuendos | Insults or taunts of sexual nature | Offensive or inappropriate questions, remarks, comments or jokes | Turning work discussions into sexual topics | Teasing or intrusive questions related to a person’s body, physical appearance or private life | Controlling a person’s reputation by rumour-mongering about her private life | Suggestions, questions, discussion, remarks or passing rumours about a person’s sex life | Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history | Requests for sexual favours or other sexual acts | Repeated or inappropriate invitations to go out on dates or meals | Referring to an adult as a girl, darling, doll, babe, or honey | Name calling such as "bitch", "slut", or "whore" | Profanities and slurs | Threats of sexual nature |
  9. 9. Forms of sexual harassment in the workplace – Non Verbal | Whistling, hooting, barking, grunts, growling, making kissing sounds or howling | Facial expressions like winking, throwing kisses, sucking, licking or smacking lips | Cat calls or wolf whistles | Staring or leering at a person's body parts | Looking a person up and down (elevator eyes) | Sexually suggestive signals or gestures with hands or through body movements | Graffiti, cartoons, faxes, posters or other visuals either in sexual nature or about a person's sexuality | Giving personal gifts | Following, cornering or blocking a person's path | Getting too close for no reason |
  10. 10. Forms of sexual harassment in the workplace – Physical | Hugging, patting, stroking, caressing, kissing or fondling someone against their will | Unwanted or inappropriate physical touch or contact | Deliberate touching, leaning over or pinching | Adjusting clothing | Touching the person's clothing, hair, or body | Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person | Posing provocatively | Indecent exposure or inappropriate display of the body | Neck massage or back rubs | Standing too close or hanging around a person | ‘Accidentally’ brushing up against a person's body | Blocking a person's path | Stalking an individual | Grabbing breasts or buttocks | Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault |
  11. 11. Forms of sexual harassment in the workplace – Online / Electronic | Repeated or inappropriate advances on email or social networking websites | Drawings, pictures, posters calendars or screensavers of sexist or sexual nature | Sexually explicit electronic mail and computer programs | Displaying pornography in the workplace | Unwanted, lewd, obscene, sexually explicit or threatening mms, sms, whatsapp, or e-mails or telephone calls | Sending someone unwanted sexual materials | Unwanted emails, telephone calls, or materials of a sexual nature |
  12. 12. Examples of behaviour not sexual harassment but may merit inquiry* – | Criticizing, insulting, humiliating, blaming, reprimanding or condemning an employee in public | Exclusion from group activities or assignments without a valid reason | Removing areas of responsibility unjustifiably or arbitrarily | Inappropriately giving too little or too much work | Unjustifiable micro management, interference with work or sabotaging instruments of work | Controlling the person by withholding resources (time, budget, autonomy, and training) necessary to succeed | Statements damaging a person’s reputation or career | Overruling authority without a just cause | Threats, intimidation or retaliation against an employee who speaks up about unwelcome behaviour with sexual overtones | *These examples may indicate underlying workplace sexual harassment
  13. 13. Examples that are not sexual harassment – | Following up on work absences | Requiring performance to job standards | Normal exercise of management rights | Work related stress like meeting deadlines or quality standards | Constructive feedback about work and not about the person |
  14. 14. Questions? Parking Lot
  15. 15. Contact - Sonam Mittal MsChief, Azaadi Co-founder, The Spoilt Modern Indian Woman +91-9686199116 @spoiltwoman