Two Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace That Could Get You Fired
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Two Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace That Could Get You Fired

Employers should take sexual harassment seriously in the workplace. Unlawful harassment is a form of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Employers should take sexual harassment seriously in the workplace.  Failure to do so could result in embarrassing lawsuits for the company. Hence, it is imperative that managers take the appropriate measures to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and the risk of potential lawsuits. Organizations should also adopt and enforce a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment in the workplace. Perpetrators of sexual harassment (whether deliberate or unintentional) should be reprimanded immediately…for these individuals are a liability to the company.  Now lets examine types of sexual harassment and examples of each.

 Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

             Unlawful harassment is a form of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  “Quid pro quo sexual harassment is sexual harassment in which the harasser requests sexual activity from the harassee in the exchange for work place benefits.” [1]

            * An example of quid pro sexual harassment is when a manager offers to hire, promote, or issue bonuses and raises, to an employee in exchange for sexual favors.

            * Another example is when a manager terminates an employee simply because they refused sexual advances in exchange for continued employment.

            *A final example is when a manager demotes or fires an employee because they opted to end a buddy relationship or workplace romance.

 Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment

             “Hostile environment sexual harassment is sexual harassment in which the harasser creates an abusive, offensive, or intimidating environment for the harassee.” [2]  Inevitably, this type of harassment could actually interfere with an individual’s job performance.

            * An example of a hostile environment is when an employee distributes sexually explicit material, or displays such anywhere in the office.

            *And yet another example is when a manager coerces unwanted verbal or physical contact toward an employee.

            * A final example is when a manager/employee repeatedly uses vulgar, demeaning, and offensive sexually orientated language in the presence of his/her employees.

           * An employee can be a third party victim of sexual harassment if he/she overhears a co-worker articulate offensive and vulgar sexually orientated language to another employee and becomes offended by such.

            Third party retaliation is when an employee, not the victim of sexual harassment, has complained about sexual harassment of an employee, and the employer has subsequently taken retaliatory action against the employee victim. [3]  Employer retaliation could result in the third party along with the victim of being denied promotions, raises, and other job opportunities.

            Conclusion, a manager may be totally oblivious of any kind of sexual harassment in his/her workplace in which they manage.  However, he/she should keep in mind that if sexual harassment does exist in his/her workplace-the company could be held liable.  It is imperative that management takes appropriate action against the perpetrators of sexual harassment.  Employers can help prevent sexual harassment and potential lawsuits by offering training sessions in the workplace to its managers and their employees.[4]



[1] Bennett-Alexander, Hartman. (2007) “Employment Law”: McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. P 316

[2]  Bennett-Alexander, Hartman. (2007) “Employment Law”: McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. P 316

[3] Zachary, Mary-Kathryn. “Sexual Harassment Procedures and Third Party Retaliation”. Supervision. March, 2008.

[4] Maidment, Fred, H. (2008) “Human Resources 08/09”: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. P 60-1

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Comments (1)

A good explanation, well written Donata!

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