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Sexual Harassment On The Job

 

Sexual HarassmentDo you have nude pictures in your workplace? Tell dirty jokes? Make suggestive remarks to other employees? If you answered yes to any of these questions you may be guilty of sexual harassment.

 

Sexual Harassment is an issue that is covered by the same federal law that protects us from sexual discrimination.

 

In today's society the number of sexual harassment cases is rapidly rising. What seemed like a harmless action to some individuals may lead to grounds for suspension, termination, and even lawsuits. It is difficult to determine the false accusations of sexual harassment which can end up costing your company greatly.

 

To discriminate against a person is to deny them rights, benefits, wages, or opportunities because that person belongs to a certain group. Sexual harassment is defined as:  

  1. Unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors; 
  2. Any verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is expressed or implied as a condition of employment;  
  3. Submission to or rejection of such conduct, used as a basis for employment decisions;  
  4. When such conduct substantially interferes with a person's work performance;  
  5. The creation of an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. 

Basically, sexual harassment is any inappropriate and unwelcome behavior with a sexual overtone that causes a negative affect on a person's work environment. Examples of sexual harassment, if carried out in the workplace include:

  1. Displaying obscene or offensive pictures or reading materials  
  2. Making suggestive gestures or sounds  
  3. Whistling or leering  
  4. Exerting unwanted pressure for dates  
  5. Sending letters or making telephone calls not wanted by the receiver  
  6. Inappropriate touching, patting, etc.  
  7. Telling dirty jokes  
  8. Extorting sexual favors from a subordinate  

We usually think of an injury as a traumatic event resulting in broken bones, or blood gushing from open wounds. People also suffer injuries that have no outwardly observable signs.

 

These are psychological injuries which can be just as devastating, disabling and scarring as any visible injury. Victims of sexual harassment often suffer from embarrassment, loss of reputation, fear of retaliation, criticism, blame, loss of their jobs, stress, low productivity, absenteeism, and low morale.

 

Everyone including the harasser, the victim, and the employer suffer when sexual harassment exists in the workplace. Think about your behavior around other employees for a moment. Are you guilty of sexual harassment? If you are, stop now. And if you are the victim of sexual harassment, you do not have to put up with this. Report it to your supervisor immediately.  

 

Some behaviors may not seem offensive in your view, but they may be offensive to others.  

 

 ASHI Authorized Training Center Member of the National Preparedness Coalition