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Legal/Ethical Issue - Research Paper Example

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Sexual Harassment Course: Institution Date Sexual Harassment The work environment is usually surrounded with a number of legal and ethical issues. These issues usually have either positive or negative impacts not only to the individual employees but also on the overall performance of the organization…
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Legal/Ethical Issue
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Download file to see previous pages Various studies have shown that sexual harassment is one of the most popular ethical issues in the present work environment across the world; most organizations grapple with the challenge of this issue, especially in regard to preventing it (Hunt et al, 2010). Lim and Cortina (2005) argue that this issue has not been given the attention it deserves because in most cases it is quite difficult to ascertain the exact characteristics of sexual harassment. They go further and argue that there are other reasons why this issue has not been given deserved attention even though it is a serious issue. The other reason he provides is that some employees do not understand the issue and do not even realize when they are victims of sexual harassment, while in some instances; victims fail to report sexual harassment offence because of several reasons such as fearing to get fired. Businesses, government, and society takes the issue of sexual harassment very seriously, and there are punitive measures that have been put in place to deter and/or punish the offenders (Pryor et al, 2003). Sexual harassment is the main ethical issue in the work environment. So what is sexual harassment in relation to the work environment? The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2010) identifies sexual harassment as a type of sex discrimination which violates the Civil Rights Act. Legally, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome visual, physical, or verbal conduct that is of sexual nature and is pervasive or severe, thus having the potential of creating a hostile work environment or affecting the working conditions (Lim & Cortina, 2005)). Unwelcome sexual advances, physical or verbal conduct, and requests for sexual favors constitute sexual harassment in the work environment when: rejection of or submission to such conduct by an individual is used as the basis of making decisions relating to the job affecting that particular individual; such conduct has effect or purpose of interfering, unreasonably, with the performance of an individual work or creating an offensive, hostile, or intimidating work environment; or, submission to such conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a condition of employment of an individual (Hunt et al, 2010). It is important to note that sexual harassment can happen in various circumstances, which include but not limited to the following: the harasser can the supervisor of the victim, co- worker, or an agent of the employer; the conduct of the harasser must be unwelcome; the harasser as well as the victim may be a man or a woman, and the victim does not always have to be of the opposite sex; sexual harassment may occur without discharge of the victim or economic injury to the victim; and, the victim could be any individual affected by the offensive conduct, and does not necessarily have to be the person harassed (Key, 1998). In modern days, businesses, government, and the society ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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