Table of Contents
In an ethical environment, the foundation or centre values of an organization are known and are well reinforced and practiced. This means that all of the people involved in such an organization that include the leaders, the stakeholders and all of the employee benefit. Leaders usually have the support tools and processes that enable them to boost ethical practices in an organization. There must be an approach to the challenges that tamper with the kind of ethics an organization should have or has set. Leaders should therefore understand the all issues from the perspective of business, legal and value. (Systemic Leadership, 2004). There are very many ethical situations or issues that arise in the work environment and need to be prevented or stopped so that the environment is a better place for the employees. These legal issues affect the business, the government and the society in general. When employees are at ease with one another and are comfortable in their working environment, the results are tremendous.
If the organization is business like, the outcomes are going to be better and profitability of the company for example is going to be much better. Every ethical issue affects the government in that it is the duty of the government to see to it that the wrong doers are punished through the set laws that are put in place by the government. The way people relate in their work place also affect the society because the society is made by all these people in the work places and that moral being in them affect the society in general. Sexual harassment is one of these legal or ethical issues that are found at the work place. It has been occurring in the past and is happening even today. It is therefore most probable that it is going to occur in the future and this calls for corrective measures that should be taken against it. If proactive stance are not taken on this issue the results are lawsuits that are costly, lost employee's morale, poor productivity and the publics image of a company will definitely be eroded. (Roberts, B. and Mann, R., 2010).
In every organization, there are policies which are stated so that the work place practices and behaviors are well looked at. When such set policies and standards are not met, the organization is prone to very negative consequences that need to be avoided. In absence of good ethic, the resulting thing is that there will be legal matters that will come into existence and this is not healthy in any kind of business.
One of legal situations or issues that occur at the work place is sexual harassment. This occurs when one employee makes sexual advances to another employee or employees who are not willing and do not wish for that. These advances are unwelcome. The advances can also be verbal or any kind of physical conduct that is sexual in nature to the other unwilling person. It is in itself a form of discrimination and in the United States it violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sexual harassment is unethical and a legal issue that occurs at the work place making the environment there not conducive for the productivity of those involved. It has been reported time and again and it is present in our contemporary environment. It has many factors that lead to it and those that are involved are punishable by the laws.
In the work place, this harassment is taken to have occurred if when one rejects or submits to the conduct it implicitly or explicitly influence the employment of that individual, it interferes with how that person works and performs at work. Sexual harassment also makes one to feel intimidated and finds the work place to be offensive and hostile to them. If a conduct is welcome, it is thus not a sexual harassment and this is why it is important for a person who feels harassed to tell the harasser either verbally or in written form that they are uncomfortable with what they are doing to them and that they should stop immediately. One may get fired, failed to be promoted, evaluated poorly, demoted, if they decline a sexual advance. There are a times when the harassment does not result to change in the job's status but the performance of the employee is interfered with adversely. One might be forced to decline some of the professional opportunities offered by the organization. (Truesdell, W., 1998)
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Some of the examples of sexual harassment are: 1) playing music that is sexually suggestive, 2) flirting with unwilling person and even asking for dates even if earlier request had been turned down, 3) passing pictures and emails of sexual harassment nature, 4) offensive words, clothing, gestures and jokes that are unwelcome and 5) touching scratching or grabbing by the waste or preventing the employee from moving. A sexual harassment conduct must be severe and invasive. If a conduct is done only once ad not severe it might not qualify to be a sexual harassment.
Employees often complain about such harassment to their supervisors, bosses or even their fellow employees. All the employees need to know that whenever such advances are made to them, they should be at a position to report it to their supervisors or even to the human resource staffs. When such complains are passed, proper investigations and subsequent charges should be put in place. Human resource staffs are always involved by the supervisors.
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In sexual harassment, the perpetrator is not usually an individual of the opposite sex but can be of the same sex. Anybody in the work place environment can be the harasser and it does not mean that it is the supervisor only. Harassers can be the managers, supervisors, coworkers, peers, vendors or suppliers. This kind of harassment does not only affect the targeted person but any other that might learn of it and gets affected. For example other employees might feel that the supervisor favors the person he had sex with better than them and this is a form of harassment also. If advances are made towards an employee, they should speak out to the perpetrator and tell them that what they are doing is not right and that it is not welcome. When complains are made, the employer should be serious about how the investigations are handled and proper steps on how charges on sexual harassment should handled must be followed. Upon investigation retaliation should not be allowed even if the outcome of the investigation was unexpected. There are a times however when an employee may lie for reasons best known to them when this happens, proper disciplinary actions should be taken against this vice. (Susan M., 2011)
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In the work place, the causes of sexual harassment are a times very complex. They may be as a result of socialization, politics or even psychology related. At work, the relationships that exist are intense and intimate where common interests are shared by the parties involved. Most of the times the employees depend on one another for support and team work and depend on their supervisors for career success and opportunities. Due to this closeness, the professional boundaries are blurred and make the people in such an organization step on the line. There are other catalysts to this and these are politics in the work place, poor management problems, frustrations, bullying at the workplace, insecurity financially and job wise. All these in turn result to a hostile environment where relationships are tampered with. (Sexual harassment support, 2009).
So as to address and prevent this kind of harassment, there are set policies that need to be adopted in any organization. There need be a policy for sexual harassment, general policies for harassment, policies regarding the conduction of investigations when such harassments have been reported in the company and policies that shows how it is not ethical for a superior to date their juniors and the way forward when such relationship forms in an organization. When such policies are created, the employees need to be trained on them so as to avoid any form of sexual harassment in the organization. It is known that when people of different sex come together the ultimate thing that happens is that they tend to fall in love to one another but it has always been unacceptable for the reporting staff to be dated.
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Managers have a role in the prevention of sexual harassment and in the investigations in case there has been a report on such. In an organization set up, the supervisors and the managers are the first people who are involved with the performance of the employees and manage the works that are done by the employee. Whenever there is a problem that involves the employees it means that their performance is definitely going to be poor and that the managers and the supervisors will be concerned. They always make sure that the workplace culture is that where there is no form of any harassment. They therefore have to take crucial steps in solving any kind of a problem.
The law does not permit sexual harassment and therefore laws have been put in place that protect an employee from the boss, customers, coworkers and other peers at work. Harassment is encountered by both individuals of the opposite sex and a person of the opposite sex or same sex can harass the employee. In the amended federal law, sexual harassment is forbidden at the place of work in the civil rights act title vii of 1964. Here the employers are made responsible for preventing any kind of sexual harassment at the job place and even stop it if it occurs. (Equal Rights Advocates, 2011)
Sexual harassment is also prohibited in California law where it applies to employment agencies, private public employers, state licensing boards, labor organizations and local and state government that have either one or more employees. All other laws do not permit sexual harassment at the work places. (Equal Rights Advocates, 2011)
Statistics shows only the formal complains and leaves out majority of cases that have not been reported. Thought the number of cases filed by men is beginning to increase, majority of the cases are filed by women. These men file against their female supervisors who make sexual advances towards them.
In both blue collar jobs such as firefighting and mining and white collar jobs such as technology and surgery there occurs sexual harassments. In both cases the employers are at a position to be held reliable for the harassment against the employees. They are often reliable for damages (Sexual harassment support, 2009).
A legal and ethical environment usually has an influence on the employee's attitude and behavior in the work place. Leaders should thus understand this and be at a position to create a working environment that is ethical through participation and acting as role models so that the organizations ethical environment climate will be shaped as desired. A legal environment thus results to ethical conducts, employees get to have a commitment to the codes of conduct, ethical problems are well reported, creation of an organization that is just and the outcomes are better since the trust in the organization will be increased as well as the commitment from the employees resulting to the satisfaction of the customers. (Systemic Leadership, 2004).
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Every leader wants a work environment that is ethical since lack of such will definitely devastate the credibility of a company or organization. Some legal considerations are also very important. Everybody prefers to work in an environment that is really ethical and whose values are clear. These environments have openness and trust that influence the employees positively in their interpersonal relationships and the effectiveness of a team. In such environment, the business will be credible, productive and very profitable. (Systemic Leadership, 2004).
Sexual harassment is a vice that should not be let to occur in any society particularly at the work place. Each person should be at a position to feel at ease wherever they are working so that the employers get the required results. It is thus evident that when one is harassed sexually at the work place there is poor productivity and the way people relate with each other changes very much. The environment that one works in should be favorable so that the goals of an organization are achieved. Each one in the organization has a goal to play so as to eradicate this vice starting with the offended who should be able to let the harasser know that they are not comfortable with what is being done to then and that the harasser should stop the advances immediately. The coworkers and the peers in the organization should also help the offended by disclosing such things to the employees or the supervisor so that immediate action can be taken.
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When such complains reach the boss and the human resource management, they should act on it immediately and should not retaliate since this is not acceptable. The offended should not be treated differently with other coworkers as this might also kill their morale. When filed cases of sexual harassment are investigated, charges should be accorded appropriately. It is therefore very evident that this form of a legal situation cost the government, the society and the business itself very greatly and appropriate measures should be kept in place by the managers for success in their businesses. Managers should not risk lawsuits that are costly, lost employee's morale, poor productivity and eroded public image of a company. (Roberts, B. and Mann, R., 2010).