Organizational Sexual Harassment and Preventive Actions
In the first instance, sexual harassment must be recognized so that employees are protected at all times and feel empowered to report such incidents to management. Sexual harassment is defined as inappropriate sexual behavior that is offensive, humiliating, or intimidating. It can be written, spoken, or physical and it can take place in person or online. Sexual harassment can happen to anyone, regardless of gender. Sexual harassment may be considered discrimination when it occurs at work, school, or university. More organizations are being pushed to recognize sexual harassment as a criminal offense and to implement systems for reporting and punishing it.
Understanding of Sexual Harassment/ Assault
Sexual harassment encompasses a much broader range of inappropriate sexual behaviors than sexual assault. Sexual harassment can include unwanted sexual contact, such as touching, hugging, or kissing. However, as previously stated, sexual harassment does not have to include sexual touching or contact. It can also include sexual comments, inappropriate jokes, or showing you or others offensive material.
Sexual assault occurs when you are coerced, forced, or tricked into engaging in sexual activity, such as touching, kissing sexual acts, or penetrative sex. If your boss or coworker forced you to kiss them or inappropriately touched you without your consent, this could be considered both sexual harassment and sexual assault.
How People Victimizes in Organizations?
Although both men and women are victims of sexual harassment, however, women face a higher proportion of sexual harassment. This is due to the privileged position that men have in society and in the workplace, which is also known as quid pro quo harassment. Offenders of this type of harassment are usually in positions of power, and they use that power to sexually harass women. Victims frequently feel helpless in the face of such harassment because they are afraid of losing their jobs, raises, or promotions if they complain.
Options you have while Facing this Situation
No one deserves or requests sexual harassment. The working environment should be safe for everyone as far as harassment and discrimination are concerned. Here are some options if you have been sexually harassed.
Speak with the Offender
You can try to resolve the situation by explaining to the person harassing you that their behavior is unacceptable. However, this is only advised if you feel safe and comfortable doing so.
You do not have to deal with sexual harassment on your own. In the workplace, it may be worthwhile to speak with a human resources representative, who will be able to advise you on what to do. You might also want to discuss your concerns with a trusted friend or family member.
Keep Yourself Acquainted with Organizational Policies
If you are being harassed at work, school, or university, learn about their policies and procedures for preventing and dealing with sexual harassment. They may already have procedures in place to deal with these situations and assist you.
Keep any Evidence
Text messages, social media comments, notes, and emails should all be saved. This evidence may also be useful if you file a complaint.
Obtain Advice from a Lawyer
Once you’ve identified sexual harassment in the workplace, consider whether the organization has adequate reporting and disciplinary mechanisms in place. Every organization must have a sexual harassment hotline where victims can report incidents to their direct manager or the human resources department. This should be followed by filing a sexual harassment claim with the human resources department, which can be done online or on paper.
It is also critical to distinguish sexual harassment from other types of workplace harassment that are just as heinous and damaging to employee morale. Harassment and discrimination based on race, religion, or ethnicity, as well as disability and age, are examples. These should be reported separately, and a sexual harassment claim based on such conduct is unlikely to succeed.
Remember that you are under no obligation to tolerate sexual harassment at any cost. Everyone in an organization is responsible for being respectful and courteous to one another. If you believe you are being harassed, do not try to find excuses to ignore it. Defend your right to be respected at all times.