Definition of sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is unwelcome or unwanted verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile work environment.
Our book also refers to sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal of physical conduct of sexual nature. Both definitions boil down to the same thing; it is conduct from one person toward the other person that is not welcome. Now, we also have to make clear: conduct is NOT sexual harassment if it is welcome. This is very important for those affected by the conduct and for those accused of the conduct. We have to keep in mind that the conduct of the sexual harasser must be either severe or pervasive to be classified as sexual harassment. A single invitation for a lunch or request for a date might offend you but it may not be considered sexual harassment.
The best way to protect oneself from such unwanted sexual misconducts is to communicate clearly and openly, either verbally or in writing.
There are many consequences of sexual harassment, which include creating a hostile and offensive work environment, interfering with an individual's work performance, and negatively influencing an individual's employment opportunity.
In USA we have two types of prohibited conduct in the work environment: (i) quid pro quo, and (ii) hostile environment. Quid pro quo ( the Latin term for "this for that") harassment is usually performed by a person in a position of manager, supervisor or any other person of authority. They typically demand sexual favors as a condition to getting or keeping a job, benefits, or promotions. In this case there are only two people involved. A hostile environment is a situation in which one or more employees are subjected to sexual harassment on a regular basis. In many cases employers are also liable for the hostile environment because employees of the authority figure are marked as harassers.
There many unacceptable behaviors that don't have place at a work environment: (i) verbal harassment — inappropriate derogatory comments, slurs, or any sexual explicit words used to describe an individual, phone calls, (ii) physical harassment — inappropriate touching of an individual's body or clothing, kissing, hugging, impending or blocking someone's movement, (iii) visual harassment — display of sexually offensive pictures, emails, text messages, looking up and down at someone's body, and (iv) sexual favors/requests — repeated requests for date in exchange for some benefits.
According to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
COMPARISON OF SELECT EEOC CHARGES FILED (2010 and 2013)
Type of Charge
Number of Charges in 2010
Percentage of Total Charges in 2010
Number of Charges in 2013
Percentage of Total Charges in 2013 Race Discrimination
35.3% Sex Discrimination
29.5% Sexual Harassment
7.7% Pregnancy Discrimination
For my presentation I picked case from the New York Daily News written by Daniel Beekman on 5/29/2014. The title of the article is "Woman says she was fired from Midtown Starbucks after complaining about harassment, files lawsuit.”
According to Holly Wu, a young lady who worked at a Starbucks in New York City, she emailed a written complaint to her district manager after a few male employees repeatedly asked her for sex. They also touched her inappropriately and sent her pornographic videos and photos.
Three weeks after her complaint she was fired from her job without warning. Because the investigation was still in progress, Starbucks representative was not able to