Sexual Harassment at workplace - Meaning types and effects
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Sexual Harassment at workplace - Meaning types and effects
Sexual Harassment at Workplace:
Meaning, Types & Effects
Sexual Harassment at Workplace : Meaning
According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is:
“Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or
physical conduct of a sexual nature when: …
Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition
of an individual's employment, or …
•Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis
for employment decisions affecting such individual, or …
•Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably
interfering with an individual's work performance or
creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working
Sexual harassment includes many things...
• Actual or attempted
rape or sexual assault.
• Unwanted sexual looks
• Unwanted pressure for sexual favors.
• Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning
over, cornering, or pinching.
• Unwanted letters, telephone calls,
or materials of a sexual nature.
• Unwanted pressure for dates.
• Referring to an adult as a girl, hunk, doll, babe, or honey.
• Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking.
• Sexual innuendos or stories.
Sexually suggestive signals.
• Sexual comments.
Types of sexual harassment claims
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC), there are two types of sexual harassment claims:
1.Quid pro quo
2.Hostile work environment
1. Quid pro quo harassment
Quid pro quo harassment entails expressed or implied demands for sexual favors in
return of some benefit or to avoid some detriment in the workplace. This benefit
could be a promotion, pay increase, etc. detriment on the other hand involve
termination, demotion, etc. This type of harassment is perpetrated only by someone
in a position of power or authority over another (e.g., manager or supervisor).
2. Hostile work environment harassment
Hostile work environment harassment interferes with an individual’ s ability to
perform their job. It:
•Creates an intimidating, offensive, threatening or humiliating work environment
•Causes a situation where a person’ s psychological well-being is adversely affected.
It can be perpetrated by anyone in the work environment including a peer,
supervisor, subordinate, etc.
An employee can claim sexual harassment under
one or both sexual harassment types.
1. Gender Harassment
Gender harassment involves generalized sexist comments
and behavior that convey insulting or degrading meanings
Examples include insulting remarks, obscene jokes about
sex or women in general.
2. Seductive Behavior
Seductive behavior involves unwanted, inappropriate and
offensive sexual advances.
Examples include repeated unsolicited sexual invitations,
insistent requests for drinks or dates, phone calls and other
3. Sexual Bribery
Solicitation of sexual activity or other sex-linked behavior in
return of a reward; the proposition may be either overt or
4. Sexual Coercion
Sexual coercion involves coercion of sexual activity or other
sex-linked behavior by threat of punishment.
Examples include negative performance evaluations, threat
of termination, etc.
5. Sexual Imposition
Sexual imposition means gross sexual imposition (such as
forceful touching, feeling, grabbing) or direct sexual assault.
Of the five explained behaviors, gender harassment is by far the most
common instance of sexual harassment at workplace, followed by
Be it of any type, the defining characteristic of sexual harassment is that it
is unwanted. It's important to clearly let an harasser know that certain
actions are unwelcome.
Effects of Sexual Harassment
Being sexually harassed can tell upon your physical,
psychological and vocational health. Women who have been
harassed often change their jobs, career goals, educational
programs or academic pursuits. Effects of sexual harassment
Effects of Sexual Harassment:
Insecurity, embarrassment, feelings of betrayal Confusion, feelings of being
powerless Shame, self-consciousness, low self-esteem
Guilt, self-blame, isolation
Sleep Disturbances, nightmares
Depression, anxiety, shock, denial
Effects of Sexual Harassment: CareerRelated Effects
Unfavorable performance evaluations
Decreased job satisfaction
Loss of job or promotion
Drop in academic or work performance due to stress
What To Do If You Are Sexually Harassed?
There is no standard way to respond to harassment. Every situation is
unique and only you can evaluate the problem and decide upon the
best possible response.
Family, friends, human resource professionals and women's groups can
offer information, advice and support, but ultimately its you who can
decide what is right for you.
Just remember that ignoring the situation is not a solution. And above
all, DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF FOR THE HARASSMENT.
Place the onus of the blame where it belongs, i.e., the harasser. Selfblame will only cause depression and will not help you or the
In case of sexual harassment you
• Say NO to the perpetrator!
• Tell someone; don't keep
it to yourself.
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