In the workplace, sexual harassment refers to the unwelcome sexual conducts or advances that make a working environment intimidating, offensive, or hostile (Anderson & Bouravnev, 2011). It is the responsibility of all employers to make sure that their workplaces are free from sexual harassment and related activities. Flourishing of sexual harassment in the workplace will make an employer incur a number of unnecessary expenses due to low productivity, reduced employee morale, and lawsuits (Tudor, 2010). Studies show that women experience vices, such as sexual violence in the workplace, more frequently than men do (Hershcovis & Barling, 2010). This discussion will consider the causes of sexual harassment, negative impacts of sexual harassment, and prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace.
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Causes of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Women have a higher likelihood of experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace than their male counterparts (Hershcovis & Barling, 2010). This is because most women lack power, perform their duties in insecure and vulnerable positions within an organization, have low levels of self-confidence, and have undergone socialization to suffering in silence. Therefore, the underlying causes of sexual violence in the workplace include male self-perception and violence, economics of female workers’ work, and sex discrimination. Data regarding the demographics of the United States depicts that for every ten women, one woman experiences sexual assault or rape during her life (Hershcovis & Barling, 2010). Many women experience battering and other domestic violence incidents. In the United States, violence against women happens in many workplaces just as they occur at home. Some men consider women’s effort toward economic productivity as a threat to men’s traditional role of being the sole providers of their families. Therefore, men resort to violence, including sexual harassment in the workplace as self-protection. Sexual harassment affects the roles of women in economic and social life, which indirectly or directly affects the positions of women within the labor market (Subhani et al., 2012).
Men view women as their competitors in the economic world, thereby try to harass them sexually to express resentment (Tudor, 2010). In spite of the impediments that women experience in looking for jobs, many women have become employees of various organizations across the world. That is because a number of families cannot meet the basic requirements of healthy life if both the husband and wife do not work on a full-time basis. In the male dominated workplaces, men subject women employees to lesser-valued chores, low remunerations, sexual harassment, lack of job promotions, among other negative reactions to cause humiliation and embarrassment (Subhani et al., 2012). Another reaction of men against women employees is sexual favors, as well as submission to various sexual behaviors for employees to avoid demotion and termination of job.
Sex discrimination is another cause of sexual harassment that forces female workers into low paying jobs (Perry, Kulik, & Field, 2009). Male employees discriminate their female counterparts by harassing them sexually to keep them in the low paying jobs, as well as discouraging them from seeking high paying chores within an organization. Employers often give secretaries and waitresses degrading chores, which make the female workers feel that sexism and male domination is normal. Therefore, female workers sometimes do not resist sexual harassment with the hopes that employers may raise their remunerations.
Effects of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment has a number of negative effects in the workplace, including absenteeism of female workers, reduced job satisfaction, and loss of expertise due to resignation or firing of harassers (Subhani et al., 2012). Because of sexual harassment, female workers may experience health problems, such as headaches, depression, eating disorders, increased blood pressure, and traumatic stress. Therefore, it is evident that the primary impact of sexual harassment in the workplace appears in low organizational productivity (Dionisi, Barling, & Dupré, 2012). This happens because workplace environment will not favor female workers to perform the assigned tasks effectively. An organization may lose clients, which happens when the clients realize that the organization does not treat female workers fairly (Subhani et al., 2012).
Prevention of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
It is the responsibility of employers to ensure that employees do not experience vices, such as violence and sexual harassment, in the workplace. Thus, an employer should take various steps, including adopting a clear sexual harassment policy, training employees, and training managers and supervisors to reduce or stop any incidents of sexual harassment or violence (Perry, Kulik, & Field, 2009). Employers should also monitor their workplaces and take sexual harassment complaints and the related complaints seriously. The employee handbook should contain a policy that is against sexual harassment in the workplace. The policy should provide a clear definition of sexual harassment to ensure that all employees understand the actions that lead to sexual harassment. A sexual harassment policy should also state the punishment that a wrongdoer will receive upon engaging in sexual harassment activities (Perry, Kulik, & Field, 2009). Employers should conduct a number of training sessions for workers to help the workers understand sexual harassment, and they should overcome it in the workplace. In addition, employers should conduct many training sessions for managers and supervisors. Managers and supervisors should gain enough information on how to deal with complaints of sexual harassment (Perry, Kulik, & Field, 2009).
In conclusion, sexual harassment is among the vices that employees, especially female employees, experience in various organizations across the world. Some of the factors that lead to sexual harassment in the workplace include male self-perception and violence, economics of female workers’ work, and sex discrimination (Tudor, 2010). Sexual harassment will affect the performance of an organization in a negative manner because female workers will not feel comfortable in the workplace due to insecurity. Therefore, employers should look for ways to ensure that their workplaces are free from sexual harassment activities (Perry, Kulik, & Field, 2009).