According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sexual harassment can be defined as unwelcome sexual advances, wishes for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct clearly or completely affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work routine or creates a threatening, antagonistic or unpleasant work environment (EEOC, 2002). The victim or harasser can either be a man or a woman, and sexual harassment is not always targeted to members of the opposite sex. Sufferers of sexual harassment in the place of work can be subject to fear or anxiety, lower efficiency, a higher level of stress and substance abuse (EEOC, 2002).
Quid pro quo harassment is when employment or employment decisions for an employee are based on that employees’ reception or dismissal of unwanted sexual behavior (EEOC, 2002). An example cited by Paul is that of Valerie Craig, an employee of Y & Y Snacks, Inc. She had joined some co-workers and her supervisor for drinks after work one day in July of 1978. Her supervisor drove her home and anticipated that they become more intimately familiar. She refused his request for sexual relations, upon which she was fired after ten days from the incident. She soon filed a complaint of sexual harassment with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the case wound its way through the courts. Craig won, the company was held accountable for damages, and she received back pay, return to work, and an order barring Y & Y from taking negative action against her in the future (Paul, 1998).
Sexual harassment in the workplace is not tolerable in spite of the power issues or the stimulus. The harasser must be regimented for the harassment in a way that directly communicates in no indecisive terms that such actions will not be tolerated. To avoid sexual harassment's expensive penalty and diminish its occurrence, employers need to recognize and understand both the reason for the harassment and the precise form of power being abused (UMC, 2007).
According to Goodman (1991), power in sexual harassment has been viewed differently by men and women. The literature on sexual harassment generally characterizes it as an abuse of either role or sexual power. From the cases Goodman (1991) mentions in her report, it can be noted that for men, power comes from official authority, and they view sexual harassers as principally managers and supervisors. Men acknowledged that co-workers could sexually harass one another, but co-worker harassment was mainly seen as a mix-up (UMC, 2007). However, women often distinguish all members of an organization as possible harassers, viewing it can be initiated by any person who is perceived as having power.
However, it has been claimed that sexual harassment regulations are based on the point of view of the victim, nearly always a woman, and based almost...