There are many types of sexual harassment that create a hostile work environment where unwanted sexual attention and demands for sexual favors and other verbal or physical sexual activity that explicitly or implicitly interfere with an individual’s job.
The first step in deterrence is awareness, a philosophy that is becoming particularly applicable to the upper management as companies look for new ways to address sexual abuse in the workplace. To successfully solve this persistent issue, it is critical to provide workers with the information, resources, and realistic measures to understand and react to the various forms of abuse.
What Do You Understand About Sexual Harassment Claims?
Most analysts believe that sexual abuse remains largely unreported in the United States and around the world. According to studies, anywhere from 40 to 90 percent of women in the United States have become victims of sexual abuse at work or while doing job duties. Nearly two-thirds of all sexual harassment lawsuits are made against immediate supervisors by women
According to a survey from the German federal anti-discrimination office from 2015, more than 50 percent of all employees in Germany have already experienced or witnessed sexual assaults at work.
Different Forms of Sexual Harassments
- Hostile work environment
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) uses the expressions hostile work atmosphere and quid pro quo to classify sexual assault activities. When unwanted sexual conduct interferes with a person’s work performance or produces an intimidating, aggressive, or abusive working atmosphere, it becomes a hostile work environment.
In a survey conducted by Stop Street Harassment, 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men have experienced some kind of sexual misconduct in their lives.
Although a single disrespectful comment, petty insult, or isolated incident does not constitute illegal activity (unless it is extreme), it is critical that workers consider what is acceptable behavior, whether they are in the workplace, at a business gathering, an industry event, or using a company chat group.
Some examples of behavior that can create a hostile work environment include:
- Physical conduct that isn’t welcome or initiated, such as inappropriate touching, hugging, proximity breaking, or massages.
- Referring to fellow employees using inappropriate terms such as “sexy,” “babe,” or “hottie.”
- Risqué or obscene and offensive jokes or comments, either verbal or written, based on caste, gender, creed, and sexuality.
- Inappropriate remarks by catcalling, innate tone, and other lewd sounds.
- Staring at someone in a way that makes them uncomfortable, and making visual or verbal sexual gestures.
- Display of sexual images and innuendos either in print or digitally.
- Engaging or forcing anyone to talk or share about their sex life, intimacy, and fantasies.
- Gossiping or spreading rumors, stories, and speculations about a co-worker’s personal and sex life.
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment
The Latin phrase quid pro quo means “something for something.” As a result, quid pro quo abuse happens when a boss or other authority figure promises or implies that he or she will give the employer things (a raise or promotion) in exchange for the employee satisfying a sexual demand.
This also happens when a boss or other authority figure promises not to terminate or reprimand an employee in return for any sexual favor. If the hiring decision was based on recognizing or denying sexual advances, a career seeker might also be subjected to this type of abuse.
A male branch manager, for example, puts his hand on a female teller’s leg during an interview. “Don’t you want this job?” he demands as she protests. The presumption is that in order to be recruited, she must cooperate with the hiring manager’s advances.
In practice, courts ask for evidence that the underlying sexual assault occurred in a serious workplace action, such as the complainant being dismissed or suspiciously skipped over for a promotion. If the employee eventually agrees to the employer’s unreasonable demands, the employee can also file a lawsuit.
- Non-direct harassment
The instances of sexual assault mentioned above are typical occurrences of what is referred to as overt sexual harassment. When a secondary survivor is offended by verbal or visual sexual assault, indirect sexual abuse occurs.
For example, if a bystander overhears something inappropriate but was not directed at them, indirect sexual assault has happened.
This harassment may also arise if a bystander overhears a dirty joke or comment, reads a sexually explicit email or text, or comes across images on another worker’s screen saver or naked images of an employee being passed about at work that is considered sexually offensive.
Non-direct sexual harassment can also refer to a person who experiences another person’s sexual misconduct.
Impact and Consequences
As it became more and more impossible to find legal recourse for such sexual overtures, no one could ignore the negative impact they had on any company’s general work environment and efficiency. The threat was triggering several reports of abuse in both the organized and unorganized industries. Any workplace that fell victim to this rising evil has a cascading impact on the whole organization.
From the perspective of human resources, sexual assault has several negative consequences, including:
- Self-blame, self-doubt, and guilt on the victim’s part
- Sleep disturbances, nightmares, and difficulty in resting
- Depression and several toxic self-sabotaging traits like trust issues and fear of intimacy
- Anxiety, fear, restlessness, and decreased interest in work
- Physical and/or emotional withdrawal from close ones like friends, family, and co-workers, and so on.
New Approaches to Training
The ongoing focus on reducing sexual discrimination and strengthening workplace morale provides an impetus for human resource practitioners to experiment with innovative approaches to instruction. Developments of eLearning tools and techniques are changing the traditional paradigm of enforcement instruction.
It offers a new, immersive learning environment, complete with realistic videos and dynamic storylines that assist employees in becoming more mindful of potentially offensive actions (both their own and that of others) and explore the murky waters of what constitutes sexual assault.
Tailoring curriculum to represent the workplace atmosphere of workers further leads to a more relevant and meaningful experience. While the standards of proper behavior may be the same, the conditions for workers employed in an office, restaurant, or manufacturing plant may vary, and instruction may represent this in its material, photos, videos, and evaluations.
Extending instruction to incorporate civility, bystander involvement, and other similar subjects is another way to educate workers about the various forms of discrimination, their effect on victims and organizations, and what should be done to avoid bullying and maintain a safe, welcoming environment.
Impactly offers training programs in order to prevent sexual harassment in workpaces. The training is based on research and includes audio-visuals and also online coaching facilities. The prime motive of this training is to help respect every human in the society and gives importance to behaviour change.
Sexual harassment is illegal and this misconduct can be governed and controlled by several norms. One must comply with the victim of sexual harassment and try to offer help in every form possible. Identify the different types of sexual harassment and take corrective measures and actions against it.