Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
It is an act to provide protection against sexual harassed women at the workplace, to seek action remedies for complaints filed & address them thereafter (Harned, 2002).
Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual behavior, to belittle another person by feeling them offended, insulted, etc. It can take any form in a way of physical, verbal or written. Often we deal with sexual harassment in the workplace without even realizing it's hampering our own productivity at work & creating undue pressures. Our own legal terms, actions to be taken, whom to report or disclose if it's not properly coded within an organization it will lead to chaos, confusion & lack of interest (Gutek, 1985).
Sexual harassment can be defined as unwarranted actions, gestures, behavior sought from the other member pressurizing them to give in. It's just a way to harass in order to gain sexual attention & liaisons in return for individual work (Timothy, 2009).
In the workplace it can happen:
• at work
• at work-related events
• between people sharing the same workplace
• between colleagues outside of work.
Major Features of Sexual Harassment-:
• Irrespective of women's age or employment status, employed in any company at any level be it, customer or client, etc.
• The inquiry needs to be conducted within 90 days. The investigation report will be shared with the employer or the District Officer.
• It's mandatory to form an Internal Complaints Committee at each office with 10 or more employees (Lach, 1993).
• The Complaints Committees requires to investigate, reconcile, take necessary actions & records all incidents at every step.
• The inquiry process under the Act should be confidential and the Act lays down a penalty of Rs 5000 on the person who has breached confidentiality (Russell, 1984).
• The Act requires the employer to teach & educate its employees about the act provisions.
• Penalties have or a fine of up to? 50,000. In the case of repeated conduct without taking any actions may result in the cancellation of the employer or of the organization.
• For investigations or proceedings, the government can send an officer to record & for inspections.
There can be two forms of sexual harassment:
Unwelcome advances, requests, any direct sexual gestures or indications for this are part of quid pro quo.
submission or rejections are directly correlated to employment.
There can be numerous ways to indicate such unwelcome advances-:
Through verbal, physical, or both
how frequently it was repeated
Any sexual direct or indirect threats, comments, jokes, touching or showing sexually contents, to arouse or indicate are considered part of the harassment (Schneider, 1997).
Responding to harassment
Any regular, short or long episodes or if the harasser is employers or managers or supervisors or peers should be recorded or informed to the committee or told to the employer at any time before or after the episode.
It is against the law & some of the sexual harassment episodes are also covered in the criminal law act. Any violent, indecent, sharing of sexual contents, bribing, threatening, etc should be reported to police as well (Singh, 2012).
Men & Same-Sex harassment
Any victim be it male or female or the same gender or at many levels be it supervisor or at low levels is protected by sexual harassment laws.
Incidents or occurrences
Even if it occurs once or twice, repeated maybe just for few secs, anything or any act be reported if it's bothering you & it's violating in the way of your employment.
Actions against the victim
No. Your employer cannot take any actions against you & law protects you. The victim who is in charge of harassment is well safeguarded by law. The right to participate in an investigation or part of trials on behalf of the victim is also protected.
Taking a sensible & an appropriate action where its deemed. Measures to be taken-:
2. If the person is directly known to you & you can speak upfront then:
Define the behavior & speak directly to the harasser.
Discuss & tell them it's bothering them straightforwardly.
To stop it immediately.
4. A complaint can file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer which sets up a committee or start the investigation at the earliest. You may file such complain within 180 days if not immediately filed (Barling, 2001).
Anyone attending a workplace is it, employees, clients, customers, etc can be part of such victimization of sexual harassment which can happen anywhere.
A common workplace
Any working organization or any trade, events or any employment institution, organization, etc where the harasser & the victim are working maybe parallel or adjacently or at any verticals can lead to the violation of the sexual harassment act (Fitzgerald, 1988).
For example, a working contract was sexually harassed by the agent of the company during the day time in the office premises. Hence it’s a violation of the sexual harassment act & the victim can file a written or a verbal complaint with the employer & the committee.
Employees or members working in industrial organizations should not be sexually harassed by other individuals of the group.
For example, A union member harassed by the other member is covered under such an act.
Employees or members such as dentists, CA or any professional association should not be sexually harassed as it is also protected by such acts.
For example, A dentist harassed by a fellow member of the professional association is protected by the law & can file a complaint (Mayo, 2013).
Volunteers and unpaid workers
Volunteers and unpaid workers hold the same rights as employees or anyone in a sexual harassment case.
To file a written or verbal complaint in the EEOC or to the employer. We should keep a record of such unwarranted or uncomfortable practices-:
1. Please read employee handbook & identify Equal Employment Opportunity Officer or file an internal complaint with the employer( Maye, 2012)
2. Record all the acts as evidence to provide proof.
3. Find a counselor; speak with family, friends, colleagues to discuss the harassment.
To file a discriminatory charge a TAT time of 180 days with the EEOC whether written or verbal (Tim,2011).
4. In each & every situation one needs to be strong while going through inspections. The harasser & the victim need to work in accordance with the procedure laid.
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Fitzgerald, L. F., Shullman, S. L., Bailey, N., Richards, M., Swecker, J., Gold, Y., ... & Weitzman, L. (1988). The incidence and dimensions of sexual harassment in academia and the workplace. Journal of vocational behavior, 32(2), 152-175.
Fitzgerald, L. F., Swan, S., & Magley, V. J. (1997). But was it really sexual harassment?: Legal, behavioral, and psychological definitions of the workplace victimization of women.
Fitzgerald, L. F. (1993). Sexual harassment: Violence against women in the workplace. American Psychologist, 48(10), 1070.
Gutek, B. A. (1985). Sex and the workplace. Jossey-Bass Inc Pub.
Harned, M. S., Ormerod, A. J., Palmieri, P. A., Collinsworth, L. L., & Reed, M. (2002). Sexual assault and other types of sexual harassment by workplace personnel: a comparison of antecedents and consequences. Journal of occupational health psychology, 7(2), 174.
Lach, D. H., & Gwartney-Gibbs, P. A. (1993). Sociological perspectives on sexual harassment and workplace dispute resolution. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 42(1), 102-115.
Russell, D. E. (1984). Sexual exploitation: Rape, child sexual abuse, and workplace harassment.
Singh, P. (2012). Sexual Harassment at Work Place. Available at SSRN 2118899.
Schneider, K. T., Swan, S., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (1997). Job-related and psychological effects of sexual harassment in the workplace: Empirical evidence from two organizations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82(3), 401.