Sexual Harassment Essay, Research Paper
Sexual Harassment, a form of unlawful sex discrimination. Under federal law in the United States, sexual harassment is unwanted verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature that occurs in the workplace or in an educational setting under certain conditions. Such behavior is illegal if it creates an environment that is hostile or intimidating, if it interferes with a person’s work or school performance, or if acceptance of the harasser’s behavior is made a condition of employment or academic achievement. A number of other countries-including Japan, Canada, Australia, and several European nations-also have laws that prohibit sexual harassment.
Perceptions differ about what behaviors constitute sexual harassment. However, typical examples of sexual harassment include sexually oriented gestures, jokes, or remarks that are unwelcome; repeated and unwanted sexual advances; touching or other unwelcome bodily contact; and physical intimidation. Sexual harassment can occur when one person has power over another and uses it to coerce the person to accept unwanted sexual attention. If a supervisor forces an employee to have sex by threatening to fire the employee, that is sexual harassment. It can also occur among peers-for example, if coworkers repeatedly tell sexual jokes, post pornographic photos, or make unwelcome sexual innuendos to another coworker. Both men and women can be harassers or victims of sexual harassment. However, research indicates that women are more likely to be victims.
The Congress of the United States first prohibited discrimination based on an individual’s sex when it passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, it was not until the mid-1970s that U.S. courts began to interpret sexual harassment as a form of illegal sex discrimination. Since that time complaints of sexual harassment have become much more common. In several high-profile cases, prominent public officials have been accused of sexual harassment. These cases have increased public awareness of the issue and sparked debate concerning what types of behavior should be considered inappropriate or unlawful.
“Sexual Harassment,” Microsoft? Encarta? Encyclopedia 99. ? 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.