Sexual harassment is a kind of sexual discrimination. It is widely occurring all over the world. Many people come across such discrimination in the workplaces every day. Sometimes, a woman will not climb the career ladder if she does not have a sexual relationship with her boss. Sexual harassment has different forms. They are gender harassment, seductive behavior, sexual bribery, sexual coercion, and sexual imposition. It can be insulting paintings, jokes or humor. Gender harassment is a typical sexist comment or conducts that express offensive and humiliating behavior towards women. Seductive behavior is irrelevant, unwished and insulting sexual abuse. It can be iterated unwished sexual bid, obstinate dinner invitations, persevering calls or dates. Sexual bribery is a sex-linked conduct by the pledge of reward. It is done directly or unassumingly. Sexual coercion is a sex-linked conduct by menace of reprimand. Sexual imposition is shown in constrained touching, grabbing (Sexual Harassment: Myths and Realities, 2010).
Sexual harassment, from a legal point of view, is unwanted verbal, visional, or corporal behavior of a sexual nature that is rude or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates an unkind work environment (Defining Sexual Harassment, n.d.).
Sexual harassment is not the same as gender discrimination. As was mentioned above, sexual harassment is an unwanted sexual behavior towards women. It involves offensive jokes, allusions or rude touching. If the woman does not agree to such conduct, the employer will not give her any benefits or climbing the career ladder. Gender discrimination is refusing to hire the person, giving another position or paying another sum of money for the same job, because of the person’s gender. If there are no obvious reasons for hiring the person or giving benefits, it will be gender discrimination. If the reason is a refusal from sexual relations, it will be a sexual harassment.
The legal definition of quid pro quo is a form of sexual blackmail. From Latin, “quid pro quo” means “something for something” or “this for that”. This term is also known as vicarious liability (Quid Pro Quo, n.d.). There are many examples of such sexual harassment in daily life. The employer can make a condition of the employee. If the employer does not have sexual relation with him, she will not gain the benefits. Such a situation can also occur at school, college or university. If the pupil or student does not have sexual relations with the teacher or director, she/he will not graduate or get a good mark.
Hostile environment sexual harassment can be referred to situations at the workplaces where sexual harassment emanates from colleagues, for instance. The employee knows about this, however, he does not do anything to stop it. It is not the same as quid pro quo. It is derived from it. Such facts are widespread in most workplaces. An employee considers that it is not his affairs, and that is why he does not do anything. Even when the employer complaints him, he will not do anything. It is his position, and it is hard to change it. Such examples can be found everywhere (Pellicciotti, 1988).
Every country has its own standards. The conception of sexual harassment in one country differs from the conception of sexual harassment in another one. How to determine the sexual harassment? Some factors contribute to a determination of whether the behavior is sexual harassment. Firstly, the sexual harassment will occur if sexual behavior is unwished. Secondly, it occurs if the person constantly gets offensive pictures, jokes or allusions. Thirdly, if the employer does not want to hire or raise the person because of refusal to have sexual relations. Fourthly, if unreasonable behavior is longstanding. Everyone understands what sexual harassment is. Everybody can differentiate it from flirting or addresses. If the person files the petition in court, it will be beneficial to have witnesses or evidences (Pellicciotti, 1988).
From my perspective, unreasonable behavior means a conduct at work that is not appropriate for it. Of course, when people work in the office, they can joke, talk and communicate. However, such communication must be friendly, inoffensive and seemly. If a person wants to have some relations with another one, the last one must wish this too. One person must receive a prior consent of another one before communication. From my point of view, if the person makes offensive direct or hidden allusions about sexual relations in the work, it is not right; such a behavior is unreasonable.
In the legislative system of the states exist two types of harassment: severe and pervasive. These types of harassment are different. However, these terms are very important. According to them, the court can decide whether harassment is serious enough. Severe harassment is a type of harassment that occurs once; however, in a rude form. For instance, when the employer said something offensive (rude comment or a joke that had sexual nature) or touched the victim. Pervasive harassment is a type of harassment that occurs many times or over a long period; however, in this case, the behavior is less offensive and rude. In addition, courts take into consideration, whether the harassment has changed employee’s working conditions (Druhan, 2013).
From my perspective, every company should have a valid written policy against sexual harassment. It will help to reduce the cases of sexual harassment. In addition, it can prevent it at all. A valid written policy works like insurance for employers. Every employee, who knows this policy, will follow the rules. In the policy of the company some phrases, which can lead to the sexual harassment that are forbidden to use, may be written.
A high-profile case, Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services Inc. took place in 1998. The Supreme Court of the United States reviewed this case. Oncale lodged a complaint against Sundowner. He blamed his employer. He claimed that his male colleagues constantly exposed to sexual harassment. The employer knew about it. Everything was done with his acquiescence. Oncale was a roustabout in the company. He worked in a team of eight people. He was forcibly exposed to sexual harassment several times. All members of the team were present there. In addition, he was sodomized with the cake of soap. They threatened him with the rape. Oncale asked the supervisor to protect him; however, he did nothing. In addition, he offended him; he called him a name indicating homosexualism. Oncale had nothing to do. He left his employment. In the layoff notice, he wrote: “voluntarily left due to sexual harassment and verbal abuse” (Joseph Oncale, Petitioner v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Incorporated, et al., 1997). In his suit, he wrote “… sexual harassment directed against me by respondent coworkers in their workplace constituted “discrimination ... because of ... sex”” (Joseph Oncale, Petitioner v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Incorporated, et al., 1997). It was the precedent, when the court had to analyze the same-sex harassment. There was no motivation of “sexual desire.” Moreover, according to U.S. federal law, employment discrimination that is based on sexual orientation is not prohibited. In addition, the district court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decided that, according to Title VII, Oncale had no case of action, which protected him from harassment from other male workers. In addition, the Supreme Court made a precedent, which could help to deal with same gender discrimination in the future. The Supreme Court decided: “Any type of discriminations based on sex can be actionable if it puts the victim in a position of objective disadvantage in the workplace” (Joseph Oncale, Petitioner v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Incorporated, et al., 1997).
From my perspective, the Supreme Court adjudicated in a case fairly. The person must feel comfortable in the workplace in spite of working only with males or females. The Supreme Court proved that everybody could find help at the courts. Human rights are above all!