About Sexual harassment against women in the workplace

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This thesis investigates the causes and manifestations of sexual violence against women in the workplace. The research will be carried out using an interaction analysis. The main aim is to comprehend sexual assault, its consequences, and how it can be avoided. Sexual assault is a violation of women's rights and a form of discrimination against women that is illegal in many countries around the world. Sexual abuse is common in the workplace and has a negative impact on the physical and psychological well-being of a large number of women. Often, sexual harassment is directed towards women by their fellow employees, supervisors, and other third parties who act by interfering with the integration of women in the workforce. These acts tend to reinforce men’s subordination in the society. In turn, the dignity of women is violated at thus a healthy and safe work environment is not guaranteed. Through this literature review, it will be easy to determine information supporting that many women at the workplace perform poorly and suffer from health-related issues due to sexual harassment from their male counterparts.

Several scholars define sexual harassment as unwelcomed verbal, physical, or visual conduct, which assumes a sexual nature. In the article, “Workplace Sexual Harassment 30 Years on: Review of the Literature”, McDonald (06) states that conduct relating to sexual harassment could be pervasive, severe and have severe effects on the work environment. McDonald (06) says that behaviors of sexual nature are broken into three parts – verbal, visual, and physical. Verbal conduct includes comments on clothing, an individual’s body, sexual or gender-based jokes, which could be in the form of requests for sexual favors or asking the person out repeatedly, threats, rumors about one’s intimate or personal life among others. Visuals entail posters, drawing, emails, screensavers, cartoons, or even texts of sexual nature. Physical conducts include blocking or impeding movement, assault, touching the other party inappropriately among others.

Furthermore, on identification of sexual harassment, Agyepong et al. (69) say that sexual harassment can be grouped into two categories. The first one is the Quid Pro Quo, which means “this for that.” On most occasions, this form of harassment is depicted when the boss in an organization uses rewards in the job including pay rises or promotions and punishments like firing or demotions to lure an employee into sexual acts or sexual relationships. The second category is the sexual environment, which means unreasonable conducts that interfere with the performance at the workplace or presents an intimidating offensive or hostile work environment. For example, it only becomes a sexual harassment when the repeated sexual comments make one uncomfortable to the extent that their work performance suffers.

According to Agyepong et al. (69), in these two types of harassments, employees affected should be in a position to prove to a third party that the conduct was offensive but not necessarily to the victim. An example is when a male employee tells a sexual joke to another female employee, but a third passing female employee might find the joke offensive. This behavior creates a hostile work environment for the employees. Liability is conditioned when the employer knew about the harassment and failed to act against the same.

From the articles, researchers reveal numerous effects of sexual harassment. Stanford University outlines that the impacts of experiencing sexual harassment can be too profound could range from just uncomfortable to devastating. The consequences could last a short term and in some cases could bring about a ripple effect of negative elements in the workplace. In their article, Fidan et al. discuss common effects of harassing women at the place. According to Fidan et al. (64) states that victims of sexual harassment are likely to suffer the loss of appetite, have difficulties in sleeping and most cases experience anger, embarrassment, self-consciousness or fear. According to Stanford University, workers at the institution might think of quitting their jobs, would stay away from designated places in the workplace, would have trouble staying focused or paying attention to their work or even show less participation in group meetings and to a more considerable extent even skip the group meetings.

Next, Ali and Robin (22) say that consequences of sexual harassment are far reaching to the extent that the victim might risk losing her job or a promotion chance when they refuse to give in to the sexual demands from someone higher in authority. According to data as revealed by Equal Rights Advocates, about ninety percent of women in the United States suffer from devastating stress reactions towards sexual harassment such as depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, headaches, sexual dysfunction, and lowered self-esteem. Again, about 4.4 million dollars is lost by sexual harassment victims in terms of wages and about 973,000 hours of unpaid leave.

The scholars of different studies claim that common effects of sexual harassment are demoralizing, cumulative and discourage women from asserting themselves in the workplace. Men perpetrate sexual harassment to reinforce the stereotype that female employees are mere sex objects. The overall effect is that the morale of the employees is severely affected in that both men and women might find themselves disrupted even if they are not directly affected. Typically, everyone within the range of sexual harassment is considerably affected, and this affects negatively on the global productivity of the company.

The authors then identify several measures effective in minimizing sexual harassment. For example, Barrero insists that employers have the sole responsibility to maintain a sexual harassment-free workplace. It is a legal obligation of every employer and as well makes a good business sense. If allowed, sexual harassment might translate to high prices being paid in terms of lawsuits, employee morale, and low productivity. Anyone can fall victim to sexual harassment, and the effects are as discussed. To this effect, employers are supposed to train their employees on sexual harassment. According to the California law, employers having at least fifty staff members should have two-hour training for supervisors every two years on sexual harassment. Most states have as well developed this idea of training supervisors and employees as well.

On the other hand, Ali and Robin (230) and Buchanan et al. (691) claim that training staff members is a good idea for preventing sexual harassment. Through training, employees will understand forms of sexual harassment and the related effects; hence, they will protect each other. As a manager, one should know what to do to evade lawsuits and minimize on employee complaints. Then, Galdi et al. 348) identify two steps that should be followed to help curb sexual harassment. One is close monitoring of the workplace. The management should reach out to the employees periodically and interact with them on matters of the work environment. According to Galdi et al. (348), the lines of communication in an organization should be kept open to ensure everyone’s view, and opinion is protected. Moreover, the scholars say that management should establish means affected employees can use to file complaints. Pursuing these claims and taking tough disciplinary measures against the culprits can help to stop sexual harassment.

On the same note, Buchanan et al. (692 state that organizations should formulate policies to ensure that all employees should be treated in equal measure. Stereotypes of male dominance should not be allowed to penetrate into the workplace; prejudices against the female gender should be minimized as well as sex-related jokes. Strict legislative laws have been of much help in dealing with cases of sexual harassment. An example is Sri Lanka where one convicted of sexual harassment can serve a jail term of up to five years.

The issue about sexual harassment should be eliminated with in the current civilization. Gone are the days when women used to occupy lower ranks in the society. With the modern civilization, women have proved to be among the best and as such are deserving of better and equal treatment as their male counterparts in the workplace. A combined effort of all the stakeholders is required to help safeguard the rights of women.

It is important to note that having anti-harassment policies in the workplace does not mean that sexual harassment and the associated complaints will be erased. The most effective way to prevent the issue is to have adequate policies along anti-harassment training for staff aimed at assisting and supporting the affected individuals to come forward with the problem to be addressed quickly and effectively. The law is lenient on the side of an employer who acts swiftly and efficiently when informed about sexual harassment, unlike the one who fails to adopt the necessary legal steps against sexual harassment.

In conclusion, the articles reviewed have adequate information on sexual harassment. The authors define sexual harassment as verbal, non-verbal, and physical abuse directed towards women. The articles then suggest that training employees on sexual harassment can minimize the events from occurring. The responsibility of employees is to understand, observe, examine, confront, resolve, and support those affected by this societal ill. In the long run, the work environment should be maintained to favor both genders and allow individuals realize their maximum outputs and productivities.

Works cited

Agyepong, Felicia, et al. "The Typology and Magnitude of Sexual Harassment of Female Students in Ghanaian Senior High Schools." Research in Education, vol. 86, no. 1, Nov. 2011, pp. 61-73. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=tfh&AN=70101057&site=ehost-live.

Buchanan, NiCole T., et al. "A review of organizational strategies for reducing sexual harassment: Insights from the US military." Journal of Social Issues 70.4 (2014): 687-702.

Ali, Faiza and Robin Kramar. "An Exploratory Study of Sexual Harassment in Pakistani Organizations." Asia Pacific Journal of Management, vol. 32, no. 1, Mar. 2015, pp. 229-249. EBSCOhost, doi: 10.1007/s10490-014-9380-1.

Barreiro, Sachi. Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. Learn What Sexual Harassment Is And How To Prevent It. Retrieved from; https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/preventing-sexual-harassment-workplace-29851.html

Fidan, Dilay, et al. "The Effects of Discrimination against Women in Places of Business: A Report on the Tourism Industry." Review of Business, vol. 37, no. 1, Spring2016, pp. 56-71. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=115954548&site=ehost-live.

Galdi, Silvia, et al. "Defending the Victim of Sexual Harassment: The Influence of Civil Courage and Media Exposure." Psychology of Women Quarterly, vol. 41, no. 3, Sept. 2017, pp. 338-351. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1177/0361684317709770.

McDonald, Paula. "Workplace Sexual Harassment 30 Years On: A Review of the Literature." International Journal of Management Reviews, vol. 14, no. 1, Mar. 2012, pp. 1-17. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/j.1468-2370.2011.00300.x.

August 18, 2021

Economics Law


Workforce Learning

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