Sexual harassment is an important issue in today’s workplace. Every employee has the right to work in an environment free of sexual harassment and hostile conditions. Therefore, respect is also an important aspect of ethical behaviors and professionalism. There is a federal law related to sexual harassment in Florida Statute § 110.1221. This paper will address three types of behavior that may be interpreted as sexual harassment in the workplace; how to respond to sexual harassment; the consequences to sexual harassment, and how to prevent sexual harassment.
Harassment in the workplace may include less support or on-the-job training to a person of a particular group or denying an employee who deserves a promotion due to their age or gender. Giving a person menial or demeaning assignments or giving them to a particular person because of their race, age or nationality is another form of harassment in the workplace. Another example is withholding important information from a person because of their race, age, or sexual preferences so that they appear unprepared to those who have influence.
Harassment has different kinds of behaviors; it can be verbal, nonverbal or physical. Verbal could be sexual compliments, nonverbal could be facial gestures and physical actions could be touching or horseplay. Now-a-days people are more educated about sexual harassment. It affects both men and women, people in a superior level and even those who are nonemployed. Employees also have to be more aware of certain objects such as swimsuit calendars and screen savers.
There are several options when responding to sexual harassment. On the onset of the harassment, the offended should bring it to the attention of the offender that it is unwelcomed and makes them feel very uncomfortable. The offended can plan a response of what need’s to be said if it happens again. When addressing the incident to the offender, the offended should speak in a tone that does not put blame but asserts that he or she wants the words and or behavior to stop. The offence should also be reported to the superior and a formal complaint should be filed.
There are a variety of consequences that can be imposed to an individual committing sexual harassment. The offended may obtain an attorney and/or file a lawsuit against the offender or their company. The employer may require the offender to attended sexual harassment classes, the offender could also loss their rank in position, he or she may also be suspended without pay, and the worse case scenario, is determination and loss of career.
The elimination of sexual harassment in the workforce is extremely important to every employer. It is difficult to eliminate sexual harassment because attempting to control people’s lustful feelings or feelings in general runs contrary to some strong human urges. While the saying goes “never mix business with pleasure” which is easy to remember, however, it is impossible to enforce because men and women are drawn to each other in the workplace as well as outside the workplace. In my opinion, even though education is the key to understanding and preventing sexual harassment, it is still uncontrollable.