Free «Sexual Harassment Issue» Essay Sample

Question one: define sexual harassment as the term is used legally

Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances, favors or requests and other physical or verbal conducts of a sexual mature that create unnecessary hostilities between individuals. Sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination that can be experienced in the work place (Saguy, 2003).   

Question two: explain how sexual harassment differs from gender discrimination

Sexual harassment refers to a conduct that is unnecessary over a performance of an act outside normal supervisory duties. It is a conduct engaged in for personal gratification arising from meanness or for other personal intentions. On the other hand, gender discrimination arises at lines of performance of such management duties as hiring, issuing awards for promotions and firing individuals among others. This is contrary to the meaning of sexual harassment in that harassment happens outside the performance of managerial duties. Gender discrimination refers to discrimination by a managerial dimension based on the sex of an individual (Boland, 2002).  

Question three: provide the legal definition of “qui pro quo” (also known as “vicarious liability”) sexual harassment. Provide one example of a behavior which could be found to be quid pro quo sexual harassment

“Qui pro quo” also termed as “vicarious liability” is defined legally in business as an exchange of goods and services for profit making. Otherwise, qui pro quo is an illegal activity that involves giving out of favors for example, in the form of sex for cash and other illicit activities. For instance, Slowik’s acts are considered as qui pro quo since he did some kind of a tit for tat with Ellerth in favor of him. This was a threat to Ellerth in order for Slowik to gain his intentions.

Question four: provide the legal definition of hostile environment sexual harassment. Provide one example of a behavior which could be found to be hostile environment sexual harassment

Hostile environment sexual harassment refers to a scenario where employees in a work place are continuously subjected to cases of unwanted behaviors involving sex arising from persons as direct supervisors with no steps being taken by the necessary categories to halt the practice. Employees working under such conditions in most cases work with fear and some may not be in a position to report such cases due to the fear of losing their jobs. In the law suit filed by Ellerth, she accuses Slowik of unreported and continuous cases of sexual harassment. This is an example of a hostile environment sexual harassment. Other forms of hostile environment sexual harassment navigated in the Burlington Industries, Inc. vs. Ellerth case include allowance of regular physical contact even if it is not sexual, tolerance of the employees’ activities, which involve engaging in sexual suggestive remarks and allowing regular use of derogatory terms within the organization.

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Question five: list the factors which contribute to a determination of whether behavior is a sexual harassment

As indicated in the case, there are various factors that indicate acts of sexual harassment. These include:

  • Threats from senior management teams that force workers of opposite sex to have sexual relationship with them or otherwise be fired
  • Provocative female dressing
  • Presence of lewd jokes
  • Oppression
  • Repression
  • Justification

Question six: define the standard by which “unreasonable” behavior is determined

There are various standards that can be used to determine instances of “unreasonable” behavior. This is a guiding principle that relates various actions involving opposite sexes in a work place in order to bring out unfavorable and unpleasant actions that should be regarded as of sexual harassment or unreasonable behavior. Specifically, it refers to a standard of determining whether an individual has committed sexual harassment or not (Saguy, 2003).  

Question seven: explain what situations are considered “severe or pervasive” and why these terms are important

A harasser can assume a severe or pervasive conduct in sexual harassment. An act is considered severe if it occurs for a number of times. For instance, a single incident cannot be termed as severe or pervasive. It simply violates criminal laws. A single unwanted act or request might offend an individual or be totally inappropriate. However, this cannot be termed as sexual harassment (Boland, 2002). These terms are very useful as they are used to determine the number of times an act or incident has happened in order to regard it as sexual harassment. Moreover, it yields the number of other individuals who have participated in sexually harassing an individual at work place or anywhere else.

Question eight: give the main legal reason why every company should have a valid written policy against sexual harassment (besides the fact it is the “right” thing to do)

Valid and written policies are subtle to management of sexual harassments within a company. They help the employer to take responsibility in maintaining a working environment free of sexual harassments as a legal duty. They help to prohibit other forms of illegal activities such as gender discrimination within the company.

As stated in the Burlington Industries, Inc. vs. Ellerth case, various forms of harassment as quid pro quo and environment sexual harassment have been practiced by Slowik and Ellerth. This case is a simple form of sexual harassment that normally goes undetected. The court has been asked to review on the validity of accusations made by Ellerth against Slowik. The court’s decision is made in actual favor of Slowik though I feel justice has not been attained. I disagree because of the fact that cases of sexual harassment have not been duly dealt with by this court.


What a good sexual harassment policy should include:



Knowing individual rights

To stand against illegal acts

Speaking up

To let offenders realize their misdeeds

Record keeping

To provide evidence



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