Some Facts About Sexual Harassment

by John Barrett on November 29, 2012

We all know that sexual harassment occurs in a variety of ways. Some may not be as apparent as others, but it is still sexual harassment in the end. Every individual that comes across it interprets it differently; some blow it off and think it’s not a big deal, others are affected by it. Every company that has a human resources department defines sexual harassment differently, but there is one true definition that it is based on, as provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It states that sexual harassment is any “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct affects an individual’s employment.”

With that in mind, here are some facts about sexual harassment that you need to know as an employee of any business.

  • Sexual harassment has a high price tag to it. If you do a business analysis of it, sexual harassment causes a loss of work production, in turn affecting the bottom line. Also, if claims are made then the company hires attorneys and pays fees for their services. It is difficult to put an actual price on sexual harassment but it has been known to bankrupt companies.
  • Even executives are sexually harassed. Executives and high level personnel are every bit as affected by harassment as the entry level worker. Employees that are “lower ranking” have sexually harassed “higher ranking” employees in various ways. The common misnomer about work place sexual harassment is that it is people in power harassing those beneath them. This is certainly not always the case.
  • Harassment takes place even outside work. Undoubtedly companies hold meetings in various places, there are morale functions, team building activities, and many other events that are held outside the “office”. Even in these contexts, there is still the possibility of sexual harassment taking place. In fact, a good number of sexual harassment cases take place outside the office.
  • Perpetrators are generally not one-time offenders. Take that in for a moment. They often exhibit patterns of harassment that are not conducive to the work place environment. If they have harassed an individual or group of individuals then they more than likely did it somewhere else, too. It is almost scary to know what they are like outside work. Repeat patterns of sexual harassment are common and they may not even know they are doing it.
  • Since the Anita Hill v. Clarence Thomas case, the rise in sexual harassment claims has gone up 50 percent. Prior to 1990, sexual harassment wasn’t a priority in the office space. Today, however, that dynamic has changed and is ever changing. The country saw a number of high profile cases of sexual harassment in the work place, the most notable one after the Thomas deliberations, being the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinski scandal.
  • Workplace changes have taken place. The last twenty years have been defining for businesses. They are cracking down on harassment and it is showing better production and better people. Today, companies can ill-afford to have sexual harassment claims on them because of reputation and cost. The adoption of zero tolerance holds for businesses of all sizes.

If history is any indicator, we have a ways to go to perfect the prevention of sexual harassment in the work place. It all starts with us and our willingness to take a stand. It doesn’t make any difference if you currently work at the business where you were harassed. Your rights are your rights. Sexual harassment goes against Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As such, you should have people helping you keep those rights. There are sexual harassment lawyers in Los Angeles who specialize in that.


John Barrett

John Barrett

John Barrett

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