Friday, July 6, 2007

Sexual Harassment, A Form Of Discrimination

Sexual harassment in the workplace is one of the serious problems faced by the employees today. Other than a cause of constant humiliation, it also creates a hostile work environment where victims are forced to work in unbearable conditions.

Sexual harassment, generally, has three elements. They are:

1. Acts constituting unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature;
2. The sexual advances must also have a bearing on the status or condition of employment of the alleged victim; and
3. Sexual advances or acts are unwelcome to the victim and the latter made known his or her dislike of the unwelcome acts.

There are several circumstances that you should know regarding sexual harassment. People think that only opposite sex could be the aggressor and the victim. Below are several facts relating to the commission of sexual harassment that everybody should know in order to be better protected.

1. The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. A woman can sexually harass another woman by uttering lewd remarks designed to humiliate the victim.
2. The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee. This is a departure from generally conceived sexual harassment where the harasser is the superior of the person harassed.
3. The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct. An example would be if you are a co-worker and you are always subjected to the scenario of somebody sexually harassing a co-worker. It also makes the work environment hostile for you.
4. Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.

Employer must also be wary of sexual harassment in the workplace. Discrimination, in any form, is the responsibility of the employer. He owes it to his or her workers to make sure that the employment or the workplace is free from hostile environment.

If you have been sexually harassed, file a complaint with your grievance machinery immediately to make known to the aggressor that the sexual advances are not welcome. It is also an effective mechanism to make the employer known and be made answerable if the sexual harassment in the workplace is tolerated.