Sexual Harassment in the workplace – Term Paper

Table of content

• Abstract………………………………………………………………3

• Introduction………………………………………………………….4

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• Current sexual harassment issues at the workplace………………….4

• Where workplace sexual harassment occurs…………………………5

• What to do about sexual harassment at workstation…………………6

• Responding and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace…..8

• Summary……………………………………………………………9

• Conclusion…………………………………………………………10

• References………………………………………………………….11


Sexual harassment refers to the undesirable sexual behavior that can intimidate or humiliate others. This type of harassment can be verbal, physical or in written form. Either way, it still can affect one, and in most occasions, it causes psychological problems. The practice is usually unlawful following the sex discrimination act of 1984. Sexual harassment has become a norm, especially at workplaces as the employees are the most affected. Most employers take advantage of their employees and use sexually motivated words to win some of the employees. Employers usually have the sole responsibility to prevent sexual harassment that their employees may experience at work at all costs. The paper thus takes a look at sexual harassment in-depth. It aims at finding out why sexual harassment usually occurs, how the harassed persons should go about the issue and also how the employers need to respond and protect their employees from such incidents.  


Most employers take advantage of their employees in most organizations. They capitalize on the rate of unemployment being high. The youths, on the other hand, are forced to give in during most instances. Both male and female employees are prone this challenge, and most of them can only get good salaries and promotions at their workplaces once they give in to their outrageous demands (Boland, 2005). Some of the sexual behaviors termed as sexual harassment are so many. Cracking of sexually suggestive jokes with others is also considered sexual harassment. Such jokes may humiliate many before their colleagues and even contributes to low self-esteem. Others include intrusive inquiries regarding one’s private life and physical appearance; inappropriate leering or staring at someone; sexually suggestive hugging, kissing and inappropriate physical contacts. Most employees have raised complaints and even sued their bosses and even colleagues at work because of sexual harassment though that has had minimal impact on this practice. 

Current sexual harassment issues at the workplace

Owing to this situation most employees are forced to endure such pain in their daily lives. Both male and females usually experience sexual harassment at work though the most vulnerable group are female (Boland, 2005). They usually have less authority at work since they usually occupy less powerful, positions in these offices. Men are often believed to be the head and therefore do have their way in whatever thing they want unquestionably (Gregory, 2004). Males do have top positions and all the powers in most firms what give full control. In some companies, even the powerful women still experience this challenge. Due to this kind of harassment, most industries usually face poor quality work as the affected group lose morale in their job (McDonald, 2011). Some employees lack respects for their seniors and most cases in a company where the top manager is a female must always associate her with sexual activities with her juniors what also affect their jobs. Regardless of their positions, the portrayal of a female worker in a sexual manner usually ruin their reputations at work (Gregory, 2004). Sexual harassment at work tends to cost most employer especially those who fail to prevent it. Reduced productivity is the primary impact of this practice as most workers get demoralized. 

Where workplace sexual harassment occurs

Sexual harassment usually occurs at the harasser’s workplace. Most people harass others sexually at the offices (Gregory, 2004). It is common behind the closed door offices, and in these cases, secretaries are the key victims in the hands of their bosses. Given any single moments, managers take advantage of them as they may make some inappropriate physical contacts with the victims or use a sexually suggestive language towards their juniors. Such behaviors lower their self-esteem. Such people also end up losing concentration at their work hence affecting the quality of their job delivery.

This kind of harassment also takes place where the person is experiencing the harassment and the harasser works. Several people usually face sexual harassment at their places of work at all levels (Lightle & Doucet, 2010). The male counterparts often take advantage of their female colleagues where they go to the extent of making some unwelcome remarks towards working women. Some of the colleagues may make some intrusive inquiries on the private life of the others in public what they surely know makes the victims uncomfortable. Such practices have done before the crowd usually affect the victims psychologically, and it takes time to heal and face the same people once again (Lightle & Doucet, 2010). Sexual harassment where someone works make most people resign from their duties, and some even lose their jobs due to poor performance. Some fellow employees usually take advantage of their colleagues’ point of weakness as an opportunity humiliate them sexually before the others. Others who may also be interested in a co-worker’s position also do use this as a means of making the feel unease hence vacate their jobs. 

Sexual harassment at workplace also happens where one being harassed works. People face many sexual harassments even from people not working with them at the same location. Most secret admirers usually take their time to visit these people’s workplaces (Policy Implementation and Reporting Sexual Harassment, n.d.). For those who often play hard to get, they do receive humiliation of their life from these admirers since most do steal a kiss or hug from them publicly without their knowledge. Others to use sexually suggestive languages before other co-workers. In the firms where each worker has a personal office, people take advantage of these and visit their offices where they may sexually harass others (McDonald, 2011). In as much as it is done privately, it still leaves the victims with psychological torcher, and that may lead to their hatred towards people of different sex. Private sexual harassment at the workplace may be more harmful than any other form since many fail to understand the sudden change in the victims especially to those who keep things to themselves.

What to do about sexual harassment at workstation

There is a need to raise the issue directly to the harasser. A person experiencing sexual harassment should gain the courage and face their harassers making it clear to them that their behaviors are unwelcoming. One should be able to stand up for themselves especially what seems to threaten their performance at work. Any practice that is intolerable from any person especially a colleague to be stopped immediately. In cases whereby the managers are involved, the victims may fear to face since their jobs may be at risk but raising the issue is much better (Policy Implementation and Reporting Sexual Harassment, n.d.).

Talking to union delegate or contacting union office for support. Sexual harassment at the workplace may prove unbearable to an employee especially when experiencing it from their seniors at the office. The victims may be forced to seek advice from the union’s office. Facing their bosses direct in most cases make many lose their job a risk others are afraid to take. Union’s opinion would be the best solution to such situations since they do guide workers on the right channels to follow without losing it all (Policy Implementation and Reporting Sexual Harassment, n.d.). Following sex discrimination act, it is unlawful to sexually harass an employee at work or any other place regardless of someone’s position in the company. Through the union’s help, their harassers would feel it and may even end up begging them for mercy. For the managing directors who usually threaten their juniors of losing their jobs in case they do anything regarding their inappropriate behaviors often finds it rough when the matter reaches the unions. 

Seeking support from a co-worker. Most workers who face sexual harassment at the offices face many challenges, and they can only come over it by sharing with a colleague.  Those keeping such issues to themselves usually experience psychological problems as they end up lose control over everything. Members may help with an idea on how to handle the situation intelligently without losing their jobs. Their help may grant the victim the courage to keep going and not lose hope. Silence may lead to a dangerous decision that is more harmful to the harassed person, and therefore friend’s and colleagues ideas and support are of value (McIntyre & Renick, 1982). 

Contacting a right community center may also work for those facing sexual harassment challenge (Policy Implementation and Reporting Sexual Harassment, n.d.). For communities with legal centers, the victims have a chance to contact them and raise their complaints against those harassing them at workplaces. No one has a right to harass workers whether permanent or casual in the office or at the field(McIntyre &Renick, 1982).  It may not be easy to win a case against the manager at this level but at make try so as to scare them from their undesirable behavior. The courage to report them to the authority may at a point earn one some respect from the harasser hence end such practices even for sometimes. 

Responding and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace

Employers usually have the sole responsibility to avoid sexual harassment that their employees may experience at work at all costs (Roberts, 2001). A quality of the work done in a firm often depends on the treatment workers receive in office as well as how their managers do respond to cases of sexual harassment incidents they report (Lightle&Doucet, 2010). Employers should ensure that working environments in their companies are friendly and respects human rights. They should not by any chance ignore sexual harassment complaints from an employee whether done formerly of reported through human rights. It is their duty to protect their workers any humiliation and always react to their discomfort at work with an immediate effect. 

Employers need to put proper procedures in place to deal with any sexual harassment that may arise in the company (McDonald, 2011). Failure to do this qualifies an employer as being insensitive to the well-being of the workers especially the most vulnerable like females. The immediacy of the organization to respond to such complaints also matters. In the firms where it takes long to respond to sexual harassment cases usually shows the reluctance of the employers on the issues (Roberts, 2001). That tells that they do not value the reputation of their workers. In every company, the employer should ensure that sexual harassment reports are dealt with immediately, and that motivates the entire body of firm employees. The owner of the firm should ensure that required sources put in place. Without these requirements, the complaints may not be handled in the proper manner as expected by law (McDonald, 2011). They should also ensure that a healthy environment is provided for the person who raised the problem and the harasser makes no threats or intimidation.

They can also actually prevent numerous sexual harassment cases in the companies by enacting anti-sexual harassment laws and policies within the organization. Once these policies put in place, all parties would be aware of their rights, roles, and responsibilities in case of any alleged sexual harassment case(McDonald, 2011). It must be clearly stated in policies how such cases handled in an efficient way. Such laws in an organization can reduce harm as well as liability in when such issues arise. The availability of the policies also promotes diversity and equity of the firm’s goals hence results in good business. 


Sexual harassment has become a custom, especially at workplaces as the employees are the most affected. Most employers take advantage of their employees and use sexually motivated words to win some of them. Other than the employers, workers also do receive such harassment from secret admirers outside the company as well as their fellow colleagues. Companies ought to enhance monitoring to make sure their workplace is free of sexually harassing behaviors. Sexual harassment usually occurs at the harasser’s workplace. Most people harass others sexually at the offices behind closed door offices, and in these cases, secretaries are the key victims in the hands of their bosses. Most employees are forced to endure such pain in their daily lives just keep their jobs and good reputation in the company. 


The victims of such circumstances need to stand up and face their harassers where possible. In case the harasser happens to be their directors or bosses, they would have to seek help and advice from other colleagues as well as the unions. 


Boland, M. L. (2005). Sexual harassment in the workplace. Naperville, IL: Sphinx Pub.

Gregory, R. F. (2004). Unwelcome and unlawful: Sexual harassment in the American workplace. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Lightle, J., &Doucet, E. H. (2010). Sexual harassment in the workplace: Create a better workplace for everyone. United States: Axzo Press.

McDonald, P. (2011). Workplace Sexual Harassment 30 Years on: A Review of the Literature. International Journal of Management Reviews, 14(1), 1-17. doi:10.1111/j.1468- 2370.2011.00300.x

McIntyre, D. I., &Renick, J. C. (1982). Protecting Public Employees and Employers from Sexual Harassment. Public Personnel Management, 11(3), 282-292. doi:10.1177/009102608201100313

Policy Implementation and Reporting Sexual Harassment. (n.d.). Implementing Sexual Harassment Policy: Challenges for the Public Sector Workplace, 61-82. doi:10.4135/9781483328461.n5

Roberts, P. (2001). Employers’ Liability for Sexual and Racial Harassment: Developing the Reasonably Practicable Steps Defence. Industrial Law Journal, 30(4), 388-395. doi:10.1093/ilj/30.4.388;