Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Complications in Sexual Harassment and Gender Inequality

The article “The Effects of Sexual Harassment Law on Gender Inequality”, posted on July 22, 2008, discusses one of labor and employment’s most prevalent issues, which is sexual harassment.

The article, based on a paper submitted by Daniel Chen and Jasmin Sethi, provide some “potential negative consequences” of the sexual harassment law. According to the article, the enactment of the sexual harassment law may help deter potential acts or violations but in the end, it may have adverse effects on how people view gender equality, more especially in the workplace.

Further, the article suggested that the sexual harassment law could entirely worsen gender inequality because it could be viewed as a tax on the hiring of women, as it would create more problems where discrimination issues may arise.

Whatever complications this law may create, I believe enough laws have been created to address this issue. Employees are guaranteed protection against workplace sexual harassment under both state and federal laws, more specifically Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Under this law, two general categories of sexual harassment may occur:

1. Quid Pro Quo Harassment – When an employee is required to tolerate sexual harassment in order to obtain or keep a job, job benefit, raise, or promotion.

2. Hostile Work Environment Harassment – When harassment at work unreasonably interferes with or alters the employee's work performance, or creates a hostile, abusive or offensive work environment.

To bring an action for sexual harassment, the plaintiff must establish that:

• The plaintiff found the conduct to be hostile, abusive or offensive

• A reasonable person in the position of the plaintiff would consider the conduct hostile, abusive or offensive.

The complainant or plaintiff does not necessarily have to be a victim of the harassment in order to file a complaint against workplace sexual harassment.

To file a suit based upon sexual harassment, the complainant must first file a complaint about the conduct with an administrative agency. For a federal complaint, the complaint would first be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). There are also state and local agencies, to which complaints may be made under state law. These agencies may help you file a case.

Otherwise, you can hire a lawyer familiar with the nature of your case and this will work well to your advantage.