Sexual Harassment Definitions

326 words | 2 page(s)

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue. Not only can it make people feel uncomfortable and upset, but it is against the law, and can be very costly to businesses and workers, both financially and personally. There are two primary definitions of sexual harassment: Quid Pro Quo and a Hostile Environment.

Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment is when, either expressedly or implied, demands for sexual favors involve some sort of benefit or avoidance of detriment (University of Maryland). It can mean favors for something like a promotion or a raise, or to avoid being fired (University of Maryland). It can only be done by a person in power, like a supervisor, because they are the ones who are able to promise rewards for the behavior (University of Maryland)

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Hostile Environment harassment can be done by either a person in power or a subordinate, and involves behavior so severe or persistent that it creates an upsetting working environment (University of Maryland). It can be repeated requests for dates, sexual remarks or continuous jokes of a sexual nature (University of Maryland). There is no expectation of a favor being done for the harassment.

I would educate managers on these issues by having annual classes to discuss what constitutes sexual harassment and the differences. I would also want employees to attend these classes, and make it clear that my company would not tolerate any form of sexual harassment, and that they should feel comfortable approaching my human resources department should they have a complaint. If an employee is acting poorly, I would have them come into my office, explain the problem, and, if it continued, make them go to seminars detailing sexual harassment.

If the behavior continued beyond that, I’d terminate them. I want an environment in which my employees feel safe and comfortable.

  • University of Maryland (2013), “Sexual Harassment Law: University Policy and Procedures”, Retrieved by http://www.president.umd.edu/legal/policies/def.html

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