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Workplace sexual harassment occurs when individuals force their workmates to have sexual intercourse.
The article, ‘Workplace sexual harassment an epidemic in Canada: Report,’ reveals how the recent reports of sexual coercion in Canadian companies prove that workplace sexual harassment is on the rise. Although executives claim that workplace sexual harassment seldom happens, more than 30 percent of association members in a recent survey claimed to encounter workplace sexual harassment. Research also reveals that the number of workplace sexual harassment cases reported is lower than the actual number of sexual harassments that occur because a large percentage of the victims fear to report the issue. Besides this, senior managers never implement rules and regulations that will help reduce workplace sexual harassment. Many workers believe that sexual harassment will end only when all companies stop tolerating the issue.
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Furthermore, some workers suggest that companies must introduce a stand-alone policy for dealing with sexual harassments. This policy must provide a clear definition of sexual assault and also reveal how offenders will be dealt with. Moreover, companies should provide clear instructions to employees regarding their reaction to sexual harassment or how they can prevent it from happening (Workplace sexual harassment, 2018). The government must also ensure that its recent bill incorporates sexual harassment and assault in all workplaces including the military.
According to Swartz (2018), workplace sexual harassment even occurs when people coerce their workers to perform sexual activities outside the workplace. Additionally, the author reveals that a case fails to qualify for sexual harassment if the victim consents the act. However, Swartz (2018), reveals that the consent should not arise from pressure or threats.
Sexual harassment can occur in four ways. First and foremost, it happens when an individual narrates jokes about sexual orientation. Secondly, it also occurs when an individual exhibits sexual material in the workplace, or when a person makes sexual signs to another worker (Swartz, 2018). Thirdly, it occurs when an individual talks about another worker’s sex life, and lastly, sexual harassment happens when a senior manager provides job offers in exchange for sexual favors.
All employers must protect their staff from sexual harassment because it sometimes leads to physical and mental harm. Conversely, employees have the right to report and terminate their contract after sexual harassment. Employees can report to a lawyer if their employers never take sexual harassment cases seriously. Also, all harassers must pay damages, and all employees must be aware of the definition of sexual harassment.
O’Niel (2018), believes sexual harassment is a public health issue despite the fact people believe it is an ethical issue. Victims often suffer from chronic anxiety and depression. And so, these mental disorders often occur in the long term, and statistics reveal that women suffer more from the illnesses than men. Furthermore, sexual harassment has disastrous effects on the heart rate, and blood pressure, hence making it a health issue. Trauma is responsible for causing these physiological effects because it stresses the bodily functions resulting in an involuntary physiological response. Besides this, workplace sexual harassment is mostly done on minority groups such as African American women, and young workers. Research reveals that minority groups suffer more negative health effects as they suffer from heart attacks and other catastrophic health issues. Putting the effects of sexual harassment in consideration, the state must always ensure that all employees are physically and psychologically healthy. Many victims have complained that the state has failed to effectively deal with sexual harassment issues because it inadequately defined the issue.
These victims are not only the individuals who have been forced to perform sexual activities because an individual who witnesses workplace sexual harassment being performed on another person is also a victim. Victims also include individuals who face verbal and physical actions that result in a hostile work surrounding (Dessler and Chhinzer,2017). All victims must realize that the state requires reports to only occur after employers have failed to adequately deal with the harassment.
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Implications of Workplace Sexual Harassment
Workplace sexual harassment must be stopped because it makes the public to have a poor perception of companies. It results in people avoiding employment because they want to avoid the consequences of this behavior. Many husbands have stopped their wives from working because they fear that they might be sexually abused. Besides affecting the public, sexual harassment also affects the government because it results in funds used in the formulation of programs that create awareness of the behavior. Besides this, governments often incur costs in the formulation of rules that prevent sexual harassment. Workplace sexual harassment, therefore, results in unnecessary expenses for the government.
Workplace sexual harassment has also resulted in conflicts between workers and their senior managers. Many seniors dislike workers who report workplace sexual harassment to the government because it leads to a poor company image which results in a lack of customers, and public support. Furthermore, the shareholders of such companies also suffer from workplace harassment reports because they lead to the depreciation of the value of their shares. For this reason, many managers often fire individuals who report sexual harassment cases. Companies, therefore, lose valuable workers because of workplace sexual harassment. Furthermore, company owners often suffer from lower productivity as a result of sexual harassment as firms with many sexual harassment cases usually have unproductive employees (Luman, 2018). Demotivation and lack of morale often lead to lower productivity levels. Victims often feel the sexual offenders might ask for more favors or sometimes they feel demoralized because only employees who provide senior managers with sexual favors receive promotions.
Moreover, workplace sexual harassment results in low productivity as employees become fearful and anxious because they think they might be asked for sexual favors (O’Neil, 2018). Besides this, the hostile environment that occurs as a result of sexual harassment often reduces employees’ morale hence resulting in low productivity. Sexual harassment also causes absenteeism among the victims because they fear future harassments (Dessler and Chhinzer,2017). Also, workplace sexual harassment results in many personal costs involved when a victim reports a case. Besides personal costs, company owners also suffer costs which come in the form of civil claims.
People who have been fired because of reporting sexual harassment often suffer from unemployment because their employers often fail to provide them with good recommendations. Furthermore, workplace sexual harassment caused by senior managers often results in victims and witnesses disrespecting their seniors and ignoring their instructions (Luman, 2018). This effect often leads to a lack of collaboration among seniors and their subordinates hence jeopardizing a company’s ability to succeed. Besides the victims, workplace sexual harassment also affects the harassers. Harassers usually become addicted to the behavior and some end up losing their jobs and serving a jail term as a result of several reports. Besides this, the harassers sometimes fail to be effective in their jobs when they become addicted to sexual harassment.
What HR Can Learn
Human Resource (HR) departments can learn several things from sexual harassment. For instance, the HR can learn the importance of monitoring employees to ensure that they spot those who sexually harass their colleagues. Most workplace sexual harassment cases occur as a result of poor monitoring (Luman, 2018). Employees exploit their subordinates because they realize that no one is watching their actions. For this reason, constant monitoring and supervising of employees will reduce workplace sexual harassment (Dessler and Chhinzer,2017). Additionally, the HR can also learn the importance of providing adequate training to employees on how to handle sexual harassment. Employees must realize the appropriate procedure for handling workplace sexual harassment, and the disadvantages of reporting sexual harassment cases to the state.
The HR can also learn the importance of creating rules that govern employees’ dress codes because some cases of workplace sexual harassment occur because the victims had an inappropriate dress code. The HR must, therefore, create rules that prevent the wearing of tight and short clothes. Also, the HR can learn the importance of taking the responsibility of approving workers because sometimes sexual harassment occurs when supervisors ask for sexual favors from their subordinates in exchange for approval. In addition, the HR can learn the importance of announcing the punishments that will follow sexual harassment as most harassers often commit the act because they know their acts will go unpunished.
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In conclusion, the HR must realize that sexual harassment is on the rise. Studies reveal that most HR managers are never concerned with workplace sexual harassment because few victims report their harassers. The HR must stop assuming that sexual harassment does not exist in their companies because they have never received reports or witnessed it. Instead, they must work on eradicating this behavior before it leads to catastrophic effects on both the company and the employees.
- Luman, M. (2018, January 18). Effects of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace | 360training.com Blog.
- Dessler, G., & Chhinzer, N. (2017). Human resources management in Canada (12th ed.). Don Mills, Ontario: Pearson Education Canada.
- O’Neil, A. (2018). Workplace sexual harassment is a public health issue and should be treated as such. The Conversation.
- Swartz, M. (2018). Sexual harassment at work. Monster.
- Workplace sexual harassment an epidemic in Canada: Report. (2018). HuffPost.