Essay On Women Sexual Harassment At Workplace In The Form Of Gender Discrimination

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Workplace, Sexual Abuse, Harassment, Employee, Sexual Harassment, Employment, Organization, Management

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2021/03/31

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Introduction

Because of the increasing pressures to remain competitive in the global business environment, every organization is tempted to manage its resources effectively and efficiently to serve more market and attain more market share. One of those resources which managers are bound to manage carefully is the human capital. As businesses expand their operations, more human capital is inducted which gives rise to serious forms of conflicts and issues. One of these issues could be discrimination based on gender or sex.
Therefore, this paper is written to investigate into a most critical and serious concern of men and women where they are sexually harassed or abused in their organizations or workplaces. This paper highlights the key statistics pertaining to the men and women in their organizations who are exposed to sexual harassment at work. Certain types and consequences of sexual harassment are also discussed in this research followed recommendation through which organizations and management could make efforts to run anti-sexual harassment activities, discourage such behavior and help their workforce escape or handle this dilemma.

Discussion

In true essence, sexual abuse or harassment is a kind of coercion or bullying of a sexual nature which represents an inappropriate or un-welcomed promise of rewards or promotions if one meets the sexual demands of the other person. In the context of modern legal occupational laws and regulations, abusing or harassing any employee is considered illegal if one asks for sexual favors against offering of rewards such as promotions, salary increase and job opportunities etc. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of the United States has made it clear that harassing an applicant or employee is unlawful and this kind of abuse includes demands for sexual favors, physical or verbal abuses or harassing attitude of a sexual nature and un-welcomed sexual advances etc.
When it comes to sexual harassment in the organizations or workplaces, a sexual abuse is deemed to be unlawful and illegal when such harassment is so severe and frequent. It is also considered abusing behavior when an offensive or hostile work conditions lead to adverse employment decisions against personnel such as demotion, threat of being fired or an employee is forced to leave the job etc. From a perspective of United States employment, anyone who sexually abuses employees in the workplace could be a manager, supervisor, senior employee, a co-worker and also includes clients/customers etc. Employees who are sexually abused or harassed could belong to any age group or sex (male or female).

Background

Statistics of Sexual Harassment in Organizations or Workplaces
If a detailed investigation is carried out to measure the intensity or statistics about employees sexually harassed in their workplaces or organizations they work for, it will be found that the number of cases filed by men pertaining to the complaints of sexual harassment have tripled in recent years. According to more than fifteen thousand cases brought to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), approximately eleven percent of such complaints are filed by men against their female managers.
As far as organization and workplaces are concerned, it is observed that thirty one percent of the total female population is sexually abused at work and mostly by men. In a similar manner, more than seven percent male employees claim to be exposed to sexual harassment by most of the women and, sometimes by men, in their organizations. Out of these percentages, sixty two percent of the victims usually take no action to report the case.
Of the total number of women who were exposed to sexual harassment at their workplace, it is reported that forty three percent of them were abused by their supervisors, twenty seven percent were harassed by their senior employees, nineteen percent of females were abused by their colleagues at the same level and around eight percent of women were abused sexually by their juniors. From an overall statistical analysis, it can be easily observed that forty ot seventy percent of female employees and ten to twenty percent of male workers have witnessed sexual abuse or harassment in their organizations or workplaces.

Statistics of Sexual Harassment in Organizations or Workplaces

Percentage of Women and Men Affected by Sexual Harassment
As per the U.S. employment laws, both the men and women are subject to sexual abuse or harassment in their workplaces are more likely to be abused by opposite genders. Some of the abuse may also originate from the same gender where more than seventy nine percent of females and twenty one percent of male employees experience sexual abuse or harassment in their organizations or workplaces. Of the total females being abused, ninety one percent of victims have experienced sexual assault and rape. Additionally, when it comes to harassed male members, nine percent of them have suffered from same experiences or situations as women.
It is quite embarrassing for the authorities that more than one million working women, up to 2014, have experienced drug-alcohol facilitated rape, incapacitated rape and forcible rape. One in five women and one in seventy one men have witnessed rape in their entire lifetime. Furthermore, in eight out of eleven cases, the rape victim knew the culprit but could not do anything to retain their jobs for supporting their families. More than fifty percent females who have experience sexual harassment at work report that they were raped by their intimate partners. Forty percent of the remaining percentage reported to have been abused sexually their associates and some report to be abused by strangers (customers). More than any economic, financial or political issue in an American society, sexually abusing and harassing an employee in the workplace is one of the common experiences among working women and is a major source of stress among male employees .

Most Nations Prohibits Sexual Harassment

Types of Sexual Harassment
Hostile Environment
This is one type of sexual harassment at workplace which represents a situation in which an employee is exposed to un-welcomed and unexpected sexual behavior from those having indirect connection with the employee being harassed. This is a situation where immediate managers or supervisors take no action to help their employee to escape this dilemma. Managers also take no steps to even discontinue or discourage such practices.
There are some situations which reflect the hostile environment where employees, both men and women, are sexually abused or harassed. One of them is posting pornographic pictures in a cubicle of a certain employee. Persistently telling dirty stories or jokes and throwing them on a certain employee, when other personnel at workplace can hear them, is another form of sexual harassment reflecting a hostile environment. When other employees, peers, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders to a business consistently ask for an unwanted attention like asking a certain employee for a date etc is also another category that represents hostile situations. When other people come in frequent physical contact with an employee and when co-workers as well as managers use derogatory terms combined with sexual connotations such girlie-man, pussy and player etc to describe certain employees is also a hostile situation in which an employee is harassed regardless of a gender.

Quid Pro Quo

This kind of sexual harassment is different from the previously described category because in this type, managers or supervisors themselves ask for sexual favors in return for a promotion, job opportunity, salary increase or any other matter within the power of the manager. Managers may also threaten employees to fire them or offer for a lucrative salary increase in return for a sexual act which reflects a sexual harassment named as Quid Pro Quo. In other words, this is a type of sexual harassment in which personnel are deprived of a certain employment benefit in contingency of sexual favors demanded by immediate authorities. For instance, a supervisor may offer a salary increase or promotion to any employee if the latter person fulfills sexual demands of the manager.

Consequences of Sexual Harassment among Employees

When employees of any gender, particularly women, are sexually harassed at work, this has serious implications or consequences which not only influence the person being harassed but also other women and men who witnessed such tragedy second-hand. In some instances, a harassed employee takes risks to lose the employment and sometimes, is deprived of job opportunities and promotions as men or women refuse to surrender to the sexual needs of their mangers, departmental heads or senior authority etc.
There are some situations with serious consequences that the unexpected sexual misconduct of colleagues and managers makes the working environment hostile and create unpleasant occupational conditions. This puts an indirect pressure on employees being harassed, especially women, to quit the job and switch to other job opportunities. When an employee of any gender is harassed by colleagues and managers at workplace, this person becomes so much disturbed or shocked that he or she faces serious physical and emotional consequences and suffers from stress all the time. This reduces their productivity at work due to which they are either fired from the job or surrender to the sexual harassment and compromise with their conscience to keep the job for family support.
Other consequences of a sexual abuse is that it gives a rise to hostility and suspicion among personnel resulting in a sharp decline in employee morale, reduces work productivity, increases the rate of absenteeism and employees’ turnover. The hostility and distraction from work due to sexually harassing an employee tends to compromise legal pursuits of business objectives as well as economic growth rate. Another severe consequence of sexual harassment is that it severely damages the corporate image of an organization.

Prevention of Sexual Harassment

Addressing the Onset of Sexual Harassment Cases
In light of various serious consequences of sexual harassment identified in the previous section of this paper, it is imperative for the management to address the cases of sexual harassment. Equally important is the participation of employees to immediately report the concern if they are about to experience sexual harassment by anyone in their workplace so that this problem could be dealt with beforehand. This section presents some of the simple but highly effective recommendations to preent sexual harassment from happening in the organization.

Shaping of Organization Culture

When sexual harassment cases are reported to human rights, decision makers hold the employers liable and calculate damages depending upon the situation. At times, organizations may fail to respond or address such cases. However, though organizations may wish to deal with and settle sexual harassment cases yet they may be unable to respond appropriately if a poisoned environment exists in the corporate boundaries. There may be a lack an organizational culture that prohibits or prevents sexual harassment at work with employees. Therefore, there is a need to first change the entire dynamics of a corporate culture. Organizations need to achieve this by providing employee training and sexual education to employees in an attempt to appropriately address this dilemma.
The corporate culture of an organization must be changed to address sexual harassment at work for which an organization must assess if it has met its duties to address employment rights. To achieve this motive of modifying an organization’s corporate culture, it is necessary that an entity should have appropriate procedures in place to deal with sexual harassment and employment discrimination. The promptness and seriousness of an organization and its members to deal with and respond to sexual harassment cases should also be assessed.
Of equal importance is to keep the principal-agent relationship in the front when addressing and solving the sexual harassment cases. When a person is employed is inducted as a manager or employee, he becomes an agent to the principal (organization or employer). From a legal perspective, when supervising and managing operations agents should take full responsibility to prohibit and prevent sexual harassment a work. The principal should also take responsibility for the conduct of its agents by strictly prohibiting hostile environment and quid pro quo sexual harassment.

Top Management Involvement

In addition to modifying the corporate culture, employers or organizations should also assume the responsibility for professional conduct of their managers and supervisors. In prohibiting physical and mental abuses at work, top management should be involved in the process for protection of employees from hostile environment and quid pro quo sexual harassment. Among top management, supervisors or managers should assume control to hold their subordinates liable for any sexually abusing behavior and taking no steps for its prevention . They must get themselves involved to take actions against sexual abuses once such cases are reported by victims. Top management should encourage employees to report sexually abusing behaviors at work immediately and refrain from tolerating any case .

Formation of Policies, Which Do Not Tolerate Sexual Harassment

Employee Training and Formation of Harassment Free Organizations
Apart from management’s role in prohibiting sexual harassment activities at the workplace, it is an equal responsibility of employee to immediately report those issues when they or any other person experiences sexual abuse by colleagues, managers or external parties. Therefore, to encourage employees to do so, they must be adequately trained in this field and should be made aware of their occupational rights conducting workshops or seminars every two years on sexually harassing activities in the workplace. This could be done for promotion of organization-wide knowledge of employee right and related human resource zero-tolerance policies.

Conclusion

After a careful analysis of the dilemma called sexual harassment at the workplace, it is found that most of the male and female employees are sexually abused by opposite genders in their organizations . Employees are most of the abused sexually by their managers, supervisors, co-workers, senior employees and sometimes, by external parties like customers or clients. Many immediate managers force their subordinates to surrender to meet their sexual demands as employees are promised increase in salaries, promotions and other employment benefits. If an employee refuses to provide sexual favors, they are threatened by their supervisors of poor performance reviews, demotion and deprivation of career opportunities etc.
Apart from male workers, female employees experience more sexual abuses or harassment but fail to report such issue for keeping their job to support families. To prohibit and prevent the sexual harassment in the organization and to encourage employees to be aware of their occupational rights, it is necessary to change the organization’s corporate culture, involve the top management and adequate training must be provided to employees are some of the recommendation with which such practice could be easily discouraged from happening.

References

Epp, C. R. (2010). Making Rights Real: Activists, Bureaucrats, and the Creation of the Legalistic State. University of Chicago Press.
Johnson, R. (n.d). Seven Ways to Deal With Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. Retrieved April 22, 2015, from The Houston Chronicle: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/seven-ways-deal-sexual-harassment-workplace-18095.html
Langer, G. (2011, November 16). One in Four U.S. Women Reports Workplace Harassment. Retrieved April 22, 2015, from ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/11/one-in-four-u-s-women-reports-workplace-harassment/
Miller, B. (2014, September 3). Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Quid Pro Quo Versus Hostile Work Environment - See more at: http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2014/09/03/sexual-harassment-in-the-workplace-quid-pro-quo-versus-hostile-work-environment/#sthash.gDypOVKU.dpuf. Retrieved April 22, 2015, from HR Daily Advisor: http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2014/09/03/sexual-harassment-in-the-workplace-quid-pro-quo-versus-hostile-work-environment/
Paludi, M. A., Paludi, C. A., & DeSouza, E. (2011). Praeger Handbook on Understanding and Preventing Workplace Discrimination: Legal, management, and social science perspectives. ABC-CLIO.
Walsh, D. (2012). Employment Law for Human Resource Practice. Cengage Learning.

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