Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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In the light of the current #MeToo movement and claims against supreme court elect Brett Kavanaugh, sexual harassment has turned into a major issue in the working environment. Many women and men have fallen victim to sexual advancement from co-workers in positions of power. These unwanted advancements, for example, whistling, invasion of one’s personal space, and improper physical contact can regularly be offensive and threatening to the victim. Although sexual harassment is illegal, the quantity of cases keeps on expanding. The consequence of sexual harassment affects the victim’s work execution, wellbeing, and profession. Both men and women are victims of this discrimination; tragically, the majority never reports it to their managers due to fear of retaliation or loss of employment. Overseeing sexual harassment at the workplace should be a top priority for organizations in light of the fact that in this day in age, sexual harassment can affect the economic standpoint of a company.

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In today’s time, sexual harassment is seen as being illegal in the United States. However, history demonstrates this was not always true. In spite of the fact that men encounter sexual behavior, before laws were enforced, it was primarily women who suffered from this experience. Stepping forward or protecting against their aggressor prompts loss of occupations and slander. In American history, with little insurance or repercussions, women were compelled to overlook sexual progression made toward them by men in their working environment. Sexual harassment became a part of these women’s daily life during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Due to the war, women were compelled to work in the twentieth century, in doing as such, they were met with undesirable verbal and physical assault by their administrators. In spite of the fact that the Unions were successful with the manifestations of laws that would shield women from enduring physical work, it didn’t shield them from their filthy manager. Not long after women were basically encouraged to stop working if there were not prepared to deal with the sexual gesture made by their bosses.

The act of sexual harassment is not new, it is about hundreds of years old. An early case of sexual harassment in the U.S were the rapes on African American Women slaves by their masters, with no legitimate resources accessible to the victims. Sex harassment has just been illegal in the U.S since the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Indeed, even after this milestone law passed, the primary sexual harassment cases were not reviewed until the 1970s and the Supreme Court didn’t think about the issue until the 1980s. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is passed which restricts business discrimination against an individual’s on race, skin color, sex, religion, or place of birth. The law protected men and women alike, however, it was only created in an attempt to protect women in the workplace only, this specific ideally remains the same to this day.

 Later in 1972, the Title IX of the Education Amendments was issued, this law forbids sex discrimination in schools that get funding from the government. Following Title IX, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission state that sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination denied by Title VII. In 1986 the Supreme Court decides that sexual harassment can be sex discrimination restricted by Title VII and Congress adjusts Title VII to include more security against segregation in the work environment. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 is finally passed and permits provocation and discriminated parties the privilege to a jury preliminary in a government court. It additionally gives offended victims the opportunity to gather compensatory and correctional harms for the first time in history. 

The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 is passed. This cutoff points to the agreeableness of proof of the past sexual history of the offended party in inappropriate behavior cases, it allows such proof against sexual harassers blamed for the attack. Finally in 1995 Congress passes the Government Accountability Act which makes Congress’ own individuals subject to the same employment laws as everyone else. Inappropriate behavior takes numerous structures, from unpretentious mental weight to by, large sexual assault and statistics are showing that it is being taken more seriously in society.

As of late, accounts of sexual harassment has have arisen, and statistics show that society and law enforcement are taking harassment in the workplace seriously. In information gathered by EEOC, sexual harassment allegations have expanded by 13.7% in 2017 and $70 million dollars are granted to casualties of sexual harassment cases. The data demonstrates that victims are starting to challenge sexual harassment in the workplace, and an expanding measure of individuals are stepping forward, which financially harms organizations due to high rates of accusations and unwanted lawsuits. Prior to 2016, sexual harassment was not being discussed so openly and now that it is, big international and domestic are losing profits, consumers, and resources due to the high rates of accusations. Companies need to take sexual harassment allegations seriously due to movements that can hurt the companies presence in the market.

Me Too Movement

In light of the hashtag me too movement, Sexual harassment has become a major topic of discussion. The Me Too movement is a protest against sexual harassment and sexual assault. The movement was created in 2006 by activist Tarana Burke. Tarana Burke is a is a survivor of sexual violence, she has spoken out about being molested by older men as a child, and raped again as an adult. Due to her first-hand experience, burke dedicated her life to helping women, but more importantly women of color. She initially founded the program as a means to support young women of color from low-income households with resources to help them deal with their traumatic experiences and heal from it. However, the movement was not recognized until 2017, after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted “if you have been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply”. The now-viral tweet spread across the internet, bringing awareness to the cause. Now more than ever before, women are speaking up about their experiences, and perpetrators are being called upon to account for their actions. If a movement as large as the Me Too movement were ever to protest an international company, it would be very problematic

Social movements such as boycotting, public protest, and activists can have a direct and indirect effect on business. These movements can cause bad publicity for businesses. Bad publicity overall negatively affects sales. Companies that are popular internationally can sometimes experience a decline in their business after bad publicity. It damages the long-term success of larger established businesses. Product accessibility can likewise diminish with terrible attention, and potential buyers may have fewer chances to buy items. Brand equity can also suffer long-term damage as a result of bad publicity. This is particularly apparent for organizations that must recall their products due to health and safety hazards. (H&M EXAMPLE) In such cases, regardless of whether just a bit of an item’s supply is recalled, consumers are probably going to maintain a strategic distance from the brand. Gossip, even those with no legitimacy, can influence sale prices very strongly. Nonetheless, A study directed at the Wharton Marketing Department at University of Pennsylvania in 2011, demonstrated that groups of people who have experienced ‘sleeper effect’ while reviewing insights about an organization, message or brand. The sleeper effect is an individual’s inclination to hold an awareness of a product or organization without fundamentally holding negative recollections or states of mind once connected with it. Thus, bad publicity can in some cases be recuperated with time.

Cultural differences in gestures

Greetings are demonstrations of communication in which individuals take part in to make their presence know. While these greeting gesture, for example, handshakes, hugging, and cheek kissing are high culture and circumstance particular and can change within a culture contingent upon social status, it is critical that we perceive these social differences. Companies entering an international market must understand the importance of different cultural gestures. According to the cultural atlas, it is very common for individuals from an Italian culture to kiss on both cheeks. For individuals who are from high-context cultures such as the Chinese, kissing on the cheek can be misinterpreted as a form of sexual harassment. Because companies lack research in different cultural gestures, this can cause many unwanted lawsuit due to cultural misunderstandings.

Effect of a lawsuit in Business

Lawsuits are extremely detrimental to a business, especially a well knows business. Sexual harassment lawsuits affects both the companies image and their profit. Many CEOs and consumers are reluctant to work with an organization that has been slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit. Being associated with an organization that facing a lawsuit, Ceos are afraid that this bad publicity will influence their own image and how the claim will affect their profit. To the extent sexual harassment claims go, this frequently includes some sort of wrongdoing, and the vast majority would prefer not to be related with that even as a substitute.

When the news spreads, big companies can expect to lose most of their current consumer base and new clients investigating their company will catch wind of the claim sooner or later. This causes a decrease in profit and has a ripple effect if companies are working with other international companies lil a B2B business. Certain global organizations will not work with the organization that is under flame since they need to secure their assets and protect their image. Furthermore, Lawsuits are costly, and you could end up burning through a huge number of dollars in legitimate charges on top of whatever your company is required to pay in the event that you lose the case.

 According to a study by the Small Business Administration(SBA), lawsuits are a huge burden, and the impacts extend out beyond just legal fees. Most entrepreneurs need to recover what they lost because of a claim. In many cases, however, raising costs would put the business at competitive impediments so the organization searches for different methods for cutting costs, such as enlisting less workers and entrusting others to accomplish more. Less employees imply less work is being completed, which at last means profit goes down and less capacity to recover from the loss. Litigation, in all its forms, can have a negative effect on a company’s bottom line. Publicized employee disputes can tarnish a company’s reputation. Accusations of fraud or contract disputes can force a company to put the business on hold. Litigation can ultimately diminish a company’s value, drive down sales, or even cause a business to fold.Many businesses close for good as a result of this intense battle. It is very important for every company to have an effective sexual harassment prevention plan in place so they do not have to endure the long battles of a lawsuit

Pros and Con of Business Investment in training

The most effective weapon against sexual harassment is prevention. It’s important for every company to have effective workplace harassment training and subsequent guidelines for how to handle accusations, as not doing so can leave you vulnerable to lawsuits which as previously stated is not good for business. Although most companies have some kind of workplace harassment training in place, others do not due to the belief that it is a waste of money. according to SHRM legal report, companies spend $25 to $50 per employee for sexual harassment training; some businesses are saving money by cutting back on this training for supervisors, so these employees have less awareness and fewer tools for handling harassment situations. However, properly training your employees is actually very cost-conscious. Training provides employees with guidelines of behaviors that is acceptable and unacceptable at the workplace. This bring awareness which later prevents or lowers the chances of employees engaging in unwanted behaviors that could lead to costly lawsuits that are very detrimental to a business. Companies lose millions of dollars over lawsuits, however, it they put in place prevention they can save so much money as opposed to cutting back on training. 

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Sexual harassment in the workplace. (2021, Nov 26). Retrieved February 8, 2023 , from

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