Issue on sexual harassment

Introduction

Although the public has recognized sexual harassment as a serious issue and big issue. Initially, the courts only recognized sexual harassment cases in which women were compelled to trade sexual favors for professional survival. This is known as quid pro quo or "this for that" sexual harassment, and it creats when employment decisions on hiring, promotion, transfer, discipline, or termination are made on the basis of submission to or rejection of unwelcome sexual conduct.

In 1986, in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, the Supreme Court upheld the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) definition of sexual harassment, which treats such conduct as sex-based discrimination in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Court ruled that employees have the right to work in environments free from discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult. With this ruling, the Court recognized what has become known as "hostile environment" sexual harassment.

However, interpretation of the "hostile environment" clause of the EEOC guidelines has been the source of much of the debate over sexual harassment. According to the guidelines, "Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when . . . such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment."

Relationships-in-workplace: Office Affairs with colleagues do cause problems at work:

The theme covers relationships at work, which are a major part of our working-life. Not only do we go to work to earn a living and to take care of our homes and families, but we also go to work to enjoy the social-aspects of relating with people.

We develop close and casual friendships with work colleagues. Office affairs with colleagues can create problems for us both at work and home, often impacting career prospects and leading to relationship marriage breakup and divorce! And person get mentally disturb.

The relationships between our personal/family life and our working life are two-way. Relationships at work lead to difficulties and stresses, which can affect our personal and family well-being, just as difficulties at home can affect our performances at work. And also effect organization environment.

Relationships-in-workplace: support through HR departments

Most HR staff can offer some form of assistance in workplace relationship difficulties.

They can assist employees with all or some of the issues identified.

They can organize counseling and mediation, provide informative talks and run groups in the workplace, provide training for supervisors and managers, and tailored programs to meet your organizations needs and gives direction.

This service can benefit the individual by:

  • stress reduction
  • creating a more satisfying workplace
  • Creating more personal fulfillment from home and family life.

All of these services relating to relationships in the workplace can be of real benefit the organization.

Workplace Relationship Quality and Employee Information Experiences:

This study examined the extent to which the amount and quality of work-related information employees received was associated with the quality of their relationships with peer co-workers and their immediate supervisors. Results indicated that supervisor-subordinate relationship quality was positively related to both the amount and quality of information employees received from their immediate supervisor.

Impact of Sexual Harassment on Women

To understand the impact of sexual harassment on women one must listen to the account of its victims as no one conveys the meaning and truth of sexual harassment better than the women who have beared it.

Women often internalise male perceptions of sexual harassment and blame themselves for having brought on the harassment. They not only doubt the validity of their own experiences but begin to believe that they themselves must be 'abnormal', 'cheap', 'indecent' or deserving the violence that comes their way.

Most respondents, men and women, described 'verbal harassment' as eve teasing and contrasted this with 'physical harassment' which has been seen as sexual harassment by a person. They described eve teasing as relatively harmless behavior committed usually by strangers, while sexual harassment would be grievous committed by men in positions of institutional power. In addition, most men and women described eve teasing as isolated incidents while sexual harassment would typically be repetitive and sustained over a long period of time.Many respondents said that they felt extreme anger, frustration and helplessness at not being able to do anything about the harassment.

Many women having faced this behavior also said that they find it difficult to trust or have friendships with men. In response to the question "has sexual harassment /eve teasing affected your academic/personal development in any way?' ,45% of women stated that sexual harassment on Delhi campus roads has affected their personal or academic development in one way or another. Many women have found a way of handling these situations by changing their personalities but at one level these changes are also forced by the circumstances over which they have no control, and have left some of them bitter.

Authority

The university administrators do not want to recognize the magnitude of the problem of sexual harassment faced by women in the University, everyday. The general attitude of the administration has by and large been one that either disbelieves the victim or blames her for 'provoking harassment'. By treating sexual harassment as 'normal' the administration has systematically legimatised the sexist violence women face in the University.

Police

A great deal of cynicism exists regarding police action. Women said that even when they have gone ahead to complain to the police nothing has been done about it. Mostly this happened.In our survey 20.2% women hostellers said that they have faced sexual harassment from policemen, this includes staring, winking and lewd comments.The problem of harassment can be sorted out only if the hostel and university authorities and the police work together in tackling it with carefully.

What can women students do?

Women need to strategize about their safety and not simply ' avoid going out in the late evening alone'. Some strategies that women could use in case of Street Harassment are:

  • Scream for help.
  • Push the person away and hit them with slippers / bags.
  • Use self-defense mechanisms e.g. kick them off balance.
  • Note down the number and features of the vehicle, when somebody hurt.

It is a matter of concern that 91.7% of the women hosteller respondents reported having faced harassment on the campus.

The Effects of Sexual Harassment on the Workplace or School Environment

The impact on the workplace: Sexual harassment has been linked to decreased job satisfaction, can lead to a loss of staff and expertise because of resignations to avoid harassment, or because of resignations or firings of alleged harassers. Every year, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost in Productivity because of effects such as employee absenteeism to avoid harassment, and increased team conflict in environments where harassment is occurring. The increased team conflict also leads to problems with team cohesion and less success in meeting financial goals. The knowledge that harassment is permitted can undermine ethical standards, and discipline in the organization.

The impact in school: In educational environments where sexual harassment is occurring, the impact can be similar to that of the workplace: increased absenteeism by students to avoid harassment, increased student turnover as students leave to escape harassment; conflict amongst students when harassment is present; decreased productivity and performance, and/or decreased participation in school activities, as students must focus on, and strategize about, ways to deal with the harassment, or because of the psychological effects of harassment. The same loss of trust in the ethical standards of a company can also occur at school, leading students, staff, parents, and the general public can lose respect for, and trust in, the institution if nothing is done to improve the situation. Mostly the hunted person are from u get school.

The Effects of Sexual Harassment on the Victim

The effects of sexual harassment vary from person to person, and are contingent on the severity of the harassment. However, sexual harassment is a type of sexual assault, and victims of severe or chronic sexual harassment can suffer the same psychological effects as rape victims. Aggravating factors can exist, such as their becoming the target of retaliation, backlash, or victim blaming after their complaining, or filing a formal grievance. Moreover, people who have experienced sexual harassment occupy a place in our society that is similar to where rape victims were placed in the past, and they can be abused further by the system that is supposed to help and protect . Depending on the situation, a sexual harassment victim can experience anything from mild annoyance to extreme psychological damage, while the impact on a victim's career and life may be minimal, or leave them in ruins.

Some of the effects a sexual harassment victim can experience:

  • Decreased work or school performance.
  • Increased absenteeism to avoid harassment, or because of illness from the stress
  • Having to drop courses, or change academic plans; academic transcripts may be weakened because of decreased school performance
  • Retaliation from the harasser, or colleagues/friends of the harasser, should the victim complain or file a grievance .
  • Becoming publicly sexualized
  • Loss of trust in environments similar to where the harassment occurred
  • Loss of trust in the types of people that occupy similar positions as the harasser or their colleagues
  • Extreme stress upon relationships with significant others, sometimes resulting in divorce; extreme stress on peer relationships, or relationships with colleagues
  • Being ostracized from professional or academic circles
  • Having to relocate to another city, another job, or another school
  • Loss of job and income; loss of tuition because of having to leave school
  • Loss of references/recommendations
  • Loss of career
  • Weakening of support network: colleagues, friends, and even family may distance themselves from the victim or abandon them altogether.

Some of the health effects, psychological and physiological, that can occur in someone who has been sexually harassed:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety and/or panic attacks
  • Sleeplessness and/or nightmares
  • Shame and guilt; self-blame
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue or loss of motivation
  • Difficulties with time (forgetting appointments, trouble gaging time)
  • Stomach problems; gastrointestinal disorders
  • Eating disorders (weight loss or gain)
  • Feeling betrayed and/or violated
  • Feeling powerless, helpless, or out of control
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Loss of confidence and self esteem
  • Overall loss of trust in people; problems with intimacy
  • Problems with sex (sexual dysfunction)
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts; suicide.

CONCLUSION

Sexual harassment in the workplace presents an ongoing and growing risk to businesses operating in the whole world. Today, the time is right for businesses to begin to manage their risk in this area more wisely and carefully. Preventing sexual harassment in the workplace requires a considerable investment of time and personnel. In the end, however, these costs will be offset by significant savings in legal fees and health-care costs. Companies will also benefit from increased worker productivity and employees qualities. . From a purely business perspective, a company only stands to gain not for lose if it takes a no-nonsense, hard-line position on sexual harassment. Not only is it the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. So we should try to stop the sexual harassment. Then we can get good environment for work.

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Sexual harassment in education

Sexual harassment in education is unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with a student's ability to learn, study, work or participate in school activities. In the U.S., it is a form of discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.Sexual harassment involves a range of behavior from mild annoyances to sexual assault and rape.

The definition of sexual harassment includes harassment by both peers and individuals in a position of power relative to the person being harassed. In schools, though sexual harassment initiated by students is most common, it can also be perpetrated by teachers or other school employees, and the victim can be a student, a teacher, or other school employee. Sexual harassment of students by teachers or other school employees can cause particularly serious and damaging consequences for the victim.[4] While sexual harassment is legally defined as "unwanted" behavior, many experts agree[Who?] that even consensual sexual interactions between students and teachers constitutes harassment because, they say, the power differential creates a dynamic in which "mutual consent" is impossible.

Statistics

Sexual Harassment Support reports:

"Sexual harassment is common at every stage of education. Verbal and physical harassment begins in elementary school, and 4 out of 5 children experience some form of sexual harassment or bullying. Eight out of 10 will experience this at some point in their school lives, and roughly 25 percent will experience this often. Boys are more likely to physically harass and bully others, or to be physically bullied themselves. Girls are more likely to use, and experience, verbal and psychological harassment and bullying. Six out of 10 students will experience some form of physical sexual harassment."[4]

In their 2002 survey on 2064 students in 8th through 11th grade, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) reported:[5]

  • 83% of girls have been sexually harassed
  • 78% of boys have been sexually harassed
  • 38% of the students were harassed by teachers or school employees
  • 36% of school employees or teachers were harassed by students
  • 42% of school employees or teachers had been harassed by each other

In their recent study (AAUW 2006) on sexual harassment at colleges and universities, the AAUW claimed that while both men and women were targets of sexual harassment, "women are disproportionately negatively affected."

  • 62% of female college students and 61% of male college students report having been sexually harassed at their university.
  • 66% of college students know someone personally who was harassed.
  • 10% or fewer of student sexual harassment victims attempt to report their experiences to a university employee.
  • 35% or more of college students who experience sexual harassment do not tell anyone about their experiences.
  • 80% of students who experienced sexual harassment report being harassed by another student or former student.
  • 39% of students who experienced sexual harassment say the incident or incidents occurred in the dorm.
  • 51% of male college students admit to sexually harassing someone in college, with 22% admitting to harassing someone often or occasionally.
  • 31% of female college students admit to harassing someone in college.

In the "Report Card on Gender Equity," the NCWGE that 30 percent of undergraduate students, and 40 percent of graduate students, have been sexually harassed.

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Work With People: Interpersonal Relationships, Conflict Resolution

Want to work more effectively with people at work? Whether your relationship is with your supervisor, manager, customer or coworker, you want to make your interpersonal relationships positive, supportive, clear, and empowering. Get work relationship advice and improvement ideas. Use these resources for interpersonal relationship problem solving and conflict resolution.

Work Tips @ Diversity Issues @ Dealing With a Bad Boss (12) Customer Service @ Inspirational Quotations (18) Difficult People (11) Negativity (13) Personality Tests (11) Conflict Resolution (23) Employee Surveys (8)

How to Get Along With Your Boss

At one point or another in your career, you will report to a manager, the person you fondly - or not - call boss. The relationships that you create and manage, with both your immediate supervisor and other employees who have managerial or leadership responsibility in your company, are critical for your work success and career progress. And, face it, whether you like it or not, you're in charge of your relationship with your boss.

Ten Tips to Recession-proof Your Job and Career

Don't bury your head in the sand and hope all of the potential threats to your job and career disappear. They won't. Keep your ears tuned into your work grapevine; watch sales; observe your industry; keep a close eye on Washington; listen skeptically to your employer when you see problems not articulated. Now is the time to take steps to recession-proof your job and your career. You can recession-proof your job and career, but start soon, not later, to recession-proof your job and career.

Employment Ending Checklist

Employees leave your organization for good and bad reasons. On the positive side, they find new opportunities, go back to school, retire or land their dream job. Less positively, they are fired for poor performance or poor attendance or experience a layoff because of a business downturn. In each instance, you need an employment termination checklist to help the employee exit process go smoothly.

Employee Resignation: How to Handle an Employee Resignation

The reasons are endless for an employee resignation. But, each employee resignation poses the employer with a series of questions. How do you announce the employee's resignation? Who needs to know what about the employee's resignation? When do you tell your employees about the employee resignation? Here are answers to the questions you may have about employee resignation.

Top Ten Reasons to Quit Your Job

Are you feeling increasingly unhappy about your job? Then, it may be time for you to quit your job. Or, address the issues that you dislike about your current career. Without leaving your job, you may be able to solve the problems. Take a look at these reasons to determine whether it's time to quit your current job. Perhaps you can identify adjustments that will re-invigorate your job and career.

Employment Terminations - How to Avoid Legal Problems

The decision to terminate an individual's employment carries with it the risk of a possible legal challenge. Depending upon an employer's policies or whether an employee has an employment contract, an employee may, for example, have a breach of contract or "wrongful discharge" claim. Learn the right questions to ask before you terminate an employee's employment.

Resignation Letter: Future Plans - Sample

Sample letter of resignation or a resignation letter for the human resources policy, checklist, procedure, and samples directory. This resignation letter informs your current employer of your future plans.

Severance Pay

Severance pay is money that an employer might want to provide for an employee who is leaving their employ. Normal circumstances that might warrant severance pay include layoffs, job elimination, and mutual agreement to part ways for whatever reason. Severance pay usually amounts to a week or two of pay for each year of service to the company. In some instances, a severance package might include extended benefits and outplacement assistance.

Buyout

Buyouts are a common method for reducing the number and cost of employees. In a buyout, the employer offers some employees or all employees the opportunity to receive a large severance package in return for leaving their employment.

Readers Share Stories about Their Good Boss

Nothing gets people more worked up than sharing stories about bad bosses. Bad bosses are legend and they impact worldwide workplaces in ways that are tough to quantify. But, bad bosses are key to lower productivity, unmotivated employees, and a failure to retain employees. My good boss, on the other hand, provides an environment in which employees succeed because they are informed, excited, learn...

Gift Giving and Getting at Work

Deciding what to give your boss or coworkers for the endless gift giving opportunities that exist throughout the year is a challenge. Work gifts are not as personal as family gifts. But, work gifts honor work relationships and tell your coworkers they are special to you. Selecting appropriate work gifts strengthens employee bonds at work.

Office Party Blunders

I've covered the seven most common office party blunders. Now, your experience of office party blunders will be most interesting and illuminating for other readers. There are bad behavior blunders at the office party, but there are also missed networking and schmoozing opportunities at the office party. Share your experience.

Top Seven Office Party Gaffes

The office party during the holidays or any other time of the year is a prime professional opportunity to mingle casually with coworkers, impress bosses, and get to know people you don't see every day. Unfortunately, the holiday office party is also a prime opportunity to ruin your professional reputation, alienate coworkers, and fail to capitalize on networking opportunities. These are the seven most common office party blunders. Some could cost you your career.

Dress Code for Customer Interaction and Trade Shows

Even if you work in a casual dress code environment or a business casual work environment, the rules may change when you hit the road for your company with a business mission. Whether you are exhibiting at a trade show, attending a conference or training session, or visiting a customer, the dress code in effect at your \office may change for travel and meeting customers. Take a look at this sample dress code for travel and customer interaction.

To Drink or Not to Drink?

To drink or not to drink at work related events is a question every employee has to ponder for one occasion or another. Whether the business occasion is lunch during an interview, the company holiday party, or a staff networking event on Friday afternoon, alcohol is usually an option. My limit is two. How about you? Make your decision about how much to drink before you are faced with choices.

Stop Being Miserable at Work

Are you miserable at work? Do you never feel good about heading to work? Do you feel unchallenged, unhappy, or not in control? Is your boss the worst? Do your coworkers engage in unjustifiable complaining? If you continue to participate in any of these situations, you will ensure that you will continue to hate your job. And, hating your job is the centerpiece for a miserable life. Why go there?

Top 10 Toughest Questions - Asked and Answered

Regular emails from readers ask hundreds of questions each year. Patterns emerge about the toughest situations you face in your organizations. These are the ten toughest, but most frequent, questions you send my way. I've written a how-to piece to answer each question you've asked. These articles address and answer your toughest questions.

Poll: How Much Trust Exists in Your Organization?

Trust forms the foundation for effective communication, employee retention, and employee motivation and contribution of discretionary energy, the extra effort that people voluntarily invest in work. How much trust do you have in your organization?

Trust Rules: The Most Important Secret About Trust

Without trust, you have nothing. Trust forms the foundation for effective communication, employee retention, and employee motivation and contribution of discretionary energy, the extra effort that people voluntarily invest in work. When trust is present, everything else is easier. Learn more about how to build trust in your workplace.

Play Well With Others: Develop Effective Work Relationships

You can submarine your job and career by the relationships you form at work. No matter your education, experience, or title, if you can't play well with others, you won't succeed. Effective relationships create success and satisfaction on the job. Learn more about seven effective work relationship musts.

Tips for Minimizing Workplace Negativity

Your workplace is seething with negativity and hostility. No matter where the bad vibes came from, it's your responsibility, to help make the atmosphere less negative and more positive, productive, stress-free and supportive.

Tips for Managing Stress and Change at Work

Stress is normal. Everyone feels stress related to work, family, decisions, your future, and more. Stress is both physical and mental. It is caused by major life events such as illness, the death of a loved one, a change in responsibilities or expectations at work, and job promotions, loss, or changes. Read on to understand the impact of stress and stress in the workplace.

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These workplace relationship articles are written to help you more fully understand yourself, others and how to get the very most from your work experience through the relationships you develop as a leader.

Unfortunately most people simply don't have the skills to be able to successfully navigate the minefield that can be workplace relationships.

In fact I'd estimate that more than 80% of the time I spend as a coach to high-performance Breakthrough Leaders - is spent on helping these leaders to work their way through performance issues and problems with others.

You will fast-track and skyrocket your career and your life success when you unlock the keys to building strong, effective relationships with others.

In the early part of my career I was certainly guilty of being too aggressive and abrasive and boy did it cost me. It cost me both in terms of limiting my career progression and it cost me in terms of stress and unhappiness ... I knew I was upsetting others ... I knew people didn't always like me ... I knew that I wasn't being as effective as I could be and I would get more frustrated which led me to take it out on my team which led to..... You can see the spiral I was on.

Now many years later, literally hundreds of books, attending hours upon hours at workshops (either as a learner or trainer) I have much to share with you to help you improve your workplace relationship - in fact the added benefit is when you apply what you discover here in these workplace relationship articles - you'll also improve your personal relationships. And that is possibly even more important!

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This study examined the extent to which the amount and quality of work-related information employees received was associated with the quality of their relationships with peer co-workers and their immediate supervisors. Results indicated that supervisor-subordinate relationship quality was positively related to both the amount and quality of information employees received from their immediate supervisor. In addition, employees' proportions of information peer relationships were negatively related, and their proportions of collegial peer relationships were positively related, to the quality of information they received from their co-workers. Regression analyses also indicated that the quality of information employees received from their supervisors and co-workers was positively related to their job satisfaction and commitment to the organization.

Keywords: Workplace Relationships; Leader-Member Exchange Theory; Information; Co-worker Relationships; Satisfaction; Organizational Commitment; Peer Relationships

A great deal of research indicates the importance of employees being adequately informed (e.g., Miller, 1996; Miller & Jablin, 1991). This body of work demonstrates that the better informed employees are, the less uncertain they are, the more satisfied they are with their jobs, and the better their perceived performance (Brown & Mitchell, 1993). Informed employees also tend to make better decisions and enhance organizational knowledge development and distribution (Sharda, Frankwick, & Turetken, 1999). Scholars increasingly note that, in the current U.S. service and knowledge-based economy, information has "replaced tangible resources as a measure of power" (Eisenberg & Goodall, 2004, p. 16), and is the "fundamental ingredient" in today's organizations (Wheatley, 1994, 2001). With more than half of the U.S. labor force involved in the processing of information, individuals with the best access to information, and Organizations with the most well-informed employees, are the most likely to succeed (Eisenberg & Goodall, 2004; Wheatley, 2001).

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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment is far more prevalent in the workplace than most people realize. A Cornell Law Review article entitled "Exacerbating the Exasperated: Title VII Liability of Employers for Sexual Harassment" reported that between 40% to 90% of women in the United States workforce have been the victims of some form of sexual harassment on the job. As even conservative Ninth Circuit Judge Kolinsky recognized: "It is a sobering revelation that every woman - every woman - who has spent time in the workforce in the last two decades can tell at least one story about being the object of sexual harassment."

The majority of incidents, particularly egregious incidents, occur between a supervisor and his subordinate. One study of Fortune 500 companies found that almost two thirds of sexual harassment complaints were brought against a woman's immediate supervisor or another person with greater power. Other studies have shown that half of all sexual harassers are the direct supervisors of their target, and that supervisors are more likely to engage in and get away with more severe forms of harassment.

The reason is plain: power is central to a supervisor's harassment of a subordinate. As a result, a victim of sexual harassment is more likely to submit to and less likely to complain when the harasser is a supervisor. Not only do supervisors have, by definition, greater authority and power than do their subordinates, but they also control the norms of the workplace. In addition to determining assignments, evaluating performance and recommending promotions, they influence the "climate" of work: what behaviors are acceptable, what standards exist and how communication occurs. Individuals in higher status positions believe and are believed to have the right to make demands of those in lower status roles. Some managers view harassing behavior as an extension of that right. They expect lower status individuals to comply.

There are two kinds of sexual harassment: "quid pro quo" and "hostile environment." Quid pro quo, a Latin term meaning "this for that," occurs when your boss offers you benefits, or threatens to change your working conditions, based on your response to his demands for sexual favors. "I'll give you a raise if you go out with me...." or "I'll demote you if you don't have sex with me" are examples of "quid pro quo" harassment. Hostile environment harassment occurs when physical, verbal, or visual sexual harassment is severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile or abusive work environment. This type of harassment does not require a loss or threat of loss of your job, or the promise of benefits. Comments about your body, sexual remarks, pornographic pictures displayed at the workplace, and touching and grabbing may all create a hostile work environment. In addition, the conduct must be unwelcome to you. If you like, want, or welcome the conduct, then you are not being sexually harassed. And if the conduct does not relate to your sex or have sexual references, it's not sexual harassment.

A single incident of inappropriate behavior is unlikely to be considered sexual harassment unless it's severe. For example, a single incident of rape or attempted rape would likely constitute sexual harassment (as well as violate criminal laws). However, a single unwanted request for a date or a single sexually suggestive comment, while offensive, may not be defined as sexual harassment. But a number of incidents that are relatively minor may amount to sexual harassment.

Because of the workplace hierarchy, the sexually harassed woman is unlikely to complain. Often, she is economically and emotionally dependent on her aggressor. Moreover, the abuse is humiliating, so the victim is motivated to keep it secret. Fearful of losing her job and economic security, she keeps quiet. She also may fear retraumatization by the legal system if she seeks recourse from higher authorities. Not surprisingly then, studies have shown repeatedly that very few individuals report their experiences or lodge an official complaint. Indeed, a review of ten studies revealed that only ten to fifteen percent of women either responded assertively to or reported the harassment. More than fifty percent of victims simply do and say nothing.

Until 1991, Title VII entitled sexual harassment victims to collect only back pay, lost wages and, if they had been forced to leave, to be reinstated in their jobs. These women, if they won their cases, received a small monetary amount and an intolerable job back. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended in 1991, strengthened the remedies for sexual harassment. It allows sexual harassment victims to recover compensatory damages beyond back pay, and may do so in a jury trial. Moreover, these damages can encompass "future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other no pecuniary losses." Plaintiffs can also collect punitive damages, if they can demonstrate that an employer acted with malice or with reckless or callous indifference.

Against this backdrop, in 1998 the Supreme Court decided in Ellet v. Burlington Industries, No. 97-569 and Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, No. 97-282 that companies may be held vicariously liable if supervisors sexually harass workers even if the employees do not report the harassment and suffered no tangible loss. By making employers liable for supervisors' sexual harassment encourages an employer, as no other regime does, to exercise the greatest possible care in screening prospective managers and in training, supervising and monitoring supervisory personnel? It gives employers an incentive to put effective policies and training programs in place. In fact, 54% of Fortune 500 employers admitted in one survey that fears of legal exposure prompted them to establish company policies against harassment. And experience has shown these policies and programs work. Companies that have implemented sexual harassment training programs have reported reduced numbers of claims that develop into lawsuits.

Society has a great stake in ensuring that the alarming rate of sexual harassment goes down. A Cleveland State Law Review Article entitled "The Present State of Sexual Harassment Law: Perpetuating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Sexually Harassed Women" reported that 90% to 95% of sexually harassed women suffer from some debilitating stress reaction, including anxiety, depression, headaches, sleep disorders, weight loss or gain, nausea, lowered self-esteem and sexual dysfunction. They experience job-related costs as well: from job loss, decreased morale, decreased job satisfaction to irreparable damage to interpersonal relationships at work. One study found that fully 50% of women who filed a complaint in California were fired; another 25% resigned due to the stresses of the complaint process or the harassment itself. A study of federal employees reported that those who have been harassed lose $4.4 million in wages and 973,000 hours in unpaid leave each year.

The costs are borne not only by the victims of harassment; they create financial havoc for employers as well. Sexual harassment costs a typical Fortune 500 company $6.7 million per year in absenteeism, low productivity and employee turnover. That does not include additional costs for litigation expenses, executive time and tarnished public image should a case wind up in court.

It is, therefore, imperative that employers do everything within their power to discourage, if not eliminate, all incidents of sexual harassment. Making them liable when supervisors abuse their power over subordinates is one small step in this direction. If they are made responsible, employers will have the incentive to create a workplace free of harassing behavior.

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The following cases helped set new precedents for future sexual-harassment cases by revising laws and introducing high-profile public figures.

  1. Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky: Perhaps the most famous presidential scandal in our nation's history, Bill Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky escalated far beyond the Oval Office. People all over the world watched as Clinton's presidency took a backseat to Ken Starr's interest as to whether or not Clinton had "sexual relations with that woman." Eventually, he became the second U.S. president to face an impeachment trial.
  2. Maxine Henderson and Gwen: In 1996, artist Maxine Henderson's impressionist portrait of a nude woman named Gwen rocked the small town of Murfreesboro, Tenn. A local assistant superintendent noticed the painting when it was hung on a wall in City Hall and was so offended by its alleged vulgarity that she "submitted a sexual harassment complaint to the city legal department." The city ultimately decided that the painting violated its own sexual-harassment policies and removed it. As a result, the artist sued the city "for violating her First Amendment rights." Henderson won the case in a U.S. District Court, under the pretenses that the painting hung in a public space and that the city's sexual-harassment policy was not detailed enough in its description of what constituted offensive material.
  3. Burlington Industries v. Kimberly Ellet: When Kimberly Ellet worked at Burlington Industries, she described her experiences as feeling "completely humiliated, embarrassed." An emotional and mental victim of sexual harassment by her supervisor, Ellet never experienced a professional setback or reported the incidents to anyone at work, but according to Court TV, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled "that workers can still bring sexual harassment cases against employers even if the harassment is not reported and the employee's career is never hurt."
  4. Bill Clinton and Paula Jones: As governor of Arkansas, former president Bill Clinton allegedly "propositioned [Paula Jones] and exposed himself to her in a Little Rock hotel room," as reported by The Washington Post. Clinton never admitted to the sexual-harassment charges, despite the "brutal legal and public-relations battle" which ensued during the mid-1990s. The case was resurrected in the public eye during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and it is suggested that "allegations of perjury in [the Paula Jones] deposition are among the 11 possibly impeachable offenses that [Ken] Starr outlined in his ... report to Congress" in 1998.
  5. Kobe Bryant and the Colorado teenager: Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant started out as a young, record-breaking basketball star but quickly became entangled in a sexual assault case involving a Colorado teenager. Bryant did admit to cheating on his wife with the ski-resort employee but always denied the assault charges. Speculation over both Bryant's and the girl's testimony swirled around the courtroom for more than a year, but the case was ultimately dropped.

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  1. S.A.C. Capital Advisors LCC: Major hedge-fund company S.A.C. Capital Advisors, founded in the early 1990s, is a "$14 billion dollar group of multi-strategy, multi-discipline" company. Yet in 2007, a scandal erupted that "stunned" Wall Street. Former S.A.C. Capital Advisors employee Andrew Tong filed suit against his supervisor Ping Jiang, whom is said to have forced Tong into taking female hormones and wearing female clothing in order "to eliminate the trader's aggressive male attitude so he could become a more obedient and detail-oriented player" at work, The New York Times reports. According to CNBC, S.A.C. Capital Advisors and Ping Jiang "vehemently deny the charges" and have reached no settlement with Tong.
  2. Koko the Gorilla: Koko the gorilla resides in comfort at Woodside, Calif.-based The Gorilla Foundation. Koko the gorilla has also been involved in a grotesque sexual-harassment case along with her handlers and their supervisor. Court TV reports that "former gorilla caretakers Nancy Alperin and Kendra Keller asked for more than $1 million in damages in their sexual discrimination and wrongful termination suit," which claims that the two women were forced to expose their breasts to the gorilla in order to indulge her fetish. Alperin and Keller maintained that they were fired when they refused to show their breasts to the gorilla, but they ultimately reached a settlement with the foundation.
  3. 6-Year Old Boy v. Brockton School District: How old do you have to be in order to stand accused of sexual harassment? In this particular case, involving the Brockton School District near Boston, you only have to be 6 years old. The elementary school boy was apparently found with "his hand inside the waistband of a girl's pants, touching the skin on her back," a violation of the school's sexual-harassment policy. According to the boy's mother, however, her son "doesn't even know what that word 'sexual' is. I don't see how I'm going to explain it to him," she added. Though the school wished to press charges, the district attorney's office deemed the boy too young to be prosecuted.

Sexual harassment in education

Sexual harassment in education is unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with a student's ability to learn study, work or participate in school activities. In the U.S., it is a form of discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.[1] Sexual harassment involves a range of behavior from mild annoyances to sexual assault and rape.[2] [3]

The definition of sexual harassment includes harassment by both peers and individuals in a position of power relative to the person being harassed. In schools, though sexual harassment initiated by students is most common, it can also be perpetrated by teachers or other school employees, and the victim can be a student, a teacher, or other school employee. Sexual harassment of students by teachers or other school employees can cause particularly serious and damaging consequences for the victim.[4] While sexual harassment is legally defined as "unwanted" behavior, many experts agree[Who?] that even consensual sexual interactions between students and teachers constitutes harassment because, they say, the power differential creates a dynamic in which "mutual consent" is impossible.

Statistics

Sexual Harassment Support reports:

"Sexual harassment is common at every stage of education. Verbal and physical harassment begins in elementary school, and 4 out of 5 children experience some form of sexual harassment or bullying. Eight out of 10 will experience this at some point in their school lives, and roughly 25 percent will experience this often. Boys are more likely to physically harass and bully others, or to be physically bullied themselves. Girls are more likely to use, and experience, verbal and psychological harassment and bullying. Six out of 10 students will experience some form of physical sexual harassment."[4]

In their 2002 survey on 2064 students in 8th through 11th grade, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) reported.

  • 83% of girls have been sexually harassed
  • 78% of boys have been sexually harassed
  • 38% of the students were harassed by teachers or school employees
  • 36% of school employees or teachers were harassed by students
  • 42% of school employees or teachers had been harassed by each other

In their recent study (AAUW 2006) on sexual harassment at colleges and universities, the AAUW claimed that while both men and women were targets of sexual harassment, "women are disproportionately negatively affected."

  • 62% of female college students and 61% of male college students report having been sexually harassed at their university.
  • 66% of college students know someone personally who was harassed.
  • 10% or fewer of student sexual harassment victims attempt to report their experiences to a university employee.
  • 35% or more of college students who experience sexual harassment do not tell anyone about their experiences.
  • 80% of students who experienced sexual harassment report being harassed by another student or former student.
  • 39% of students who experienced sexual harassment say the incident or incidents occurred in the dorm.
  • 51% of male college students admit to sexually harassing someone in college, with 22% admitting to harassing someone often or occasionally.
  • 31% of female college students admit to harassing someone in college.

In the "Report Card on Gender Equity," the NCWGE that 30 percent of undergraduate students, and 40 percent of graduate students, have been sexually harassed.

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