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Sexual harassment in the workplace - Research Paper Example

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Full name Class title and number Date Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: A Rising Legal Tide The incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace, while prevalent from the early days of women in sweatshops to modern offices, posed a problem for women who, without legal recourse, were often confronted on a daily basis with such discrimination…
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Sexual harassment in the workplace
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Download file to see previous pages Today, sexual harassment cases filed under the law, thanks to several well-publicized court actions, have become a “hot ticket” legal item, with thousands of alleged cases heard each year and as many victims saved from the indignity of work-related sexual advances. Sexual harassment as defined legally by the website Equal Rights Advocates as “unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile work environment” (par. 1). This said “hostile environment” is one of the primary benchmarks for alleged sex discrimination and perhaps the most damaging in its affect on the individual’s civil rights. As one might imagine, to be fired, refused a promotion, demoted or helpless to avoid a poor performance evaluation must be the worst consequence of this deliberate act. Even if the conduct does not result in such actions, constant sexual harassment interferes with work performance, in itself creating the said “hostile environment.” As example, repeated sexual comments unreported can make an individual so uncomfortable as to affect performance and subsequently lead to negative work assessments. No doubt, before Title VII, many a worker was dismissed without the full disclosure of what was going on, or even if it was, out of the control of the offended person. One can only imagine this situation. Sexual harassment is also legally defined as an overt and obvious form of sex discrimination, which means men are allowed--although in the nineties, statistically not as likely as women to do so -- file charges. Today, however, changes have occurred and more men are filing complaints. In 2006 the number of complaints by men sat somewhere around 1870; by 2009 it was up to 2,094. “The spike in male sexual harassment claims coincides with a recession that has hit men harder than women” (Mystal par 2-3). Statistics show that from 2008 to 2010 the number of men who lost their jobs was nearly double that of women. Using the state of Michigan as an example, where unemployment is high, the percentage of claims by men increased nearly 10 percent from 2007 to 2009. (Mystral par. 3). Whether men or women are filing, the conclusion is clear. Since the early nineties things have certainly changed in terms of attitudes toward what was once thought quite acceptable “normal” male/female, or female/male behavior in the workplace. There is a heightened consciousness in society concerning sexual harassment, and a relentless, much-needed, and well-overdue push toward "zero tolerance" of sexual harassment in workplaces, including the military. Those old enough can remember the well-publicized Tailhook scandal regarding sexual abuse and harassment against female military recruits, as well as suits brought against major corporations by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), including Mitsubishi Motor Corporation for a consistent pattern of acceptance of harassment. Conclusions were clear: No one desiring a secure career in the private or public sector today can afford the attitude that may have once prevailed that sexual harassmen ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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