A man approaches a new coworker and begins to massage her shoulders. As she tries to ignore him and continue her worker, he leans over and whispers in her ear, So youre in packing, I could really get used to your packing. Every year millions of people get caught in uncomfortable situations such as this. Whether it is a rude comment, a sexual advance, or a degrading picture, it is illegal, but not uncommon. This act is known as sexual harassment, but what is sexual harassment, and whom does it affect?
The Encyclopedia of Womens History defines sexual harassment as the unwanted sexual advances, demands, or innuendoes directed toward women in the workplace, but sexual harassment can be directed towards anyone at anytime, regardless of age, race, or gender. Sexual harassment is considered a type of sexual discrimination, which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law states it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of such individuals race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Under this act, harassment victims are protected from the loss of their jobs due to reporting the incident, and are entitled to payments for pain and suffering as well as any pay lost. The company for whom the person works for is liable for all expenses due to that person if they knew about the incident or should have known and did not act. Sexual harassment can affect anyone, but the majority of reported incidents are female victims who are harassed by males.
A survey done by the UW Stout Sexual Harassment Education Committee showed that 70 percent of women in a working environment were sexually harassed, but only 42 percent of these cases were reported (Shawn Larsen Sexual Harassment, Frequencies by Gender. ) Furthermore, an estimated 50 to 80 percent of women will be harassed during their working career. Women are more likely to be sexually harassed because they are considered to be more vulnerable. There is an overall discrimination against women, says Phyllis Wetherby, president of First Pittsburgh Now (Pittsburgh Press).
Sexual Harassment is not done for affection; it is an act to receive power. Due to excessive exposure to harassment, women start to develop Sexual Harassment Syndrome. Sexual Harassment Syndrome is the stress caused by constantly absorbing sexual harassment. If not recognized and counseled, it can lead to depression. Men often do not realize they are in the wrong. They may call a girl honey or darling in a friendly way, but the female may take it offensively. Some cases can be truly distinguished, such as the case of Halls vs. Gus Construction, in which three women were severely harassed by their coworkers.
Three women were hired as flag people at road construction sites. Male co-workers immediately subjected the women to outrageous verbal sexual abuse. One of the three women developed a skin reaction to the sun, and the men nicknamed her herpes. Male co-workers continuously asked the women if they wanted to engage in sexual intercourse. On one occasion the men held up one of the female employs so the driver of a truck could touch her. The men subjected all three women to other types of abuse, including mooning them, and urinating in their water bottles and automobiles gas tanks.
The companys supervisor was well aware of these activities. The court found this conduct violated Title VII because it was unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, (Barry S. Roberts, Richard A> Mann Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. ). Women in the workplace are two times more likely (50-85 percent) to be harassed then men (15-30 percent). Sexual Harassment is also a problem in schools and universities. 50 percent of all female college students and 12 percent of male college students experience some form of sexual harassment (UW Stout Sexual Harassment Committee).
It can be inflicted by teacher to student, or student to student harassment. One common example of harassment in schools and colleges is sex in exchange for a passing grade. Others include physical contact, degrading pictures, insults, stalking or staring, or sexual assault. Also included with school harassment is homosexual harassment. Gay and lesbian students are often exposed to outrageously provocative verbal abuse. Sometimes they have to deal with seriously offensive pranks such as degrading messages displayed on their lockers, mayonnaise smeared in their seats, and rude gestures mocking their sexual preference.
The act of sexual harassment is declining in schools, but students still have a 50-85 percent chance of being harassed before they graduate from college. Although very few cases are reported, men are also subjected to sexual harassment. Whether it is male on male or female on male men have a 15-30 percent chance of being sexually harassed in a working or academic environment (Shawn Larsen). A case by Philipe B. McCormick, a department investigator, stated, a male accountant is subjected to the advances of his companies female vice president who unbuttons his shirt, and threads her fingers through his chest hairs.
She invites him to visit her at home when her husband is out of town, and she makes it clear that any raise or promotion depends on the rendezvous (Susan Everly-Douze). An average of 200 men report harassment charges at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission every year, which is only one third of cases reported by women. Ron Green, a lawyer who defends companies in sexual harassment cases says, more men will experience sexual harassment over the coming years as women assume more positions of power in corporate America.
When private surveys are conducted on sexual harassment the percentage triple, then when only self- implied cases are considered. The majority of sexual harassment cases do mostly affect women, but it can happen to men too. Preventing harassment is easier said than done. Like rape victims, these people are scared, says William Y. Rose, director of the Oklahoma Human rights Commission. The first step is creating a plan for the school or work environment to protect the people. In some workplaces, owners have adopted a harassment policy.
This is a single document that lists the procedures and consequences for harassment. Other places have a harassment-training program that all workers must pass and complete before they can start working. This saves companies from money loss and decrease in production as well as making their workers aware of harassment and saving themselves from liability charges. Schools are also pitching in in the fight against harassment. Most schools have a dress code that specifically draws out what apparel is allowed in the building during school hours.
This lessens the distraction in the classroom, and lowers the chance of a child being sexually harassed. Schools also have strict policies that uphold severe consequences for both students and teachers who are charged with harassment. Sexual Harassment is degrading and immorally wrong, and it also presents a threat to business. It can cause reduced production and money loss, and it can cause pain, possibly depression fort the victim. Although harassment is declining, it should not have to be tolerated at all. Sexual harassment is not only wrong, it is ridiculous.