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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Preventing sexual harassment is crucial within a business. It can be harmful to the individual as well as all types of businesses. It is defined as any type of unwelcome or offensive comments, conduct, or gestures based on gender and sexual orientation, and can be verbal or physical. More and more studies have been released mainly talking about how it is slowing down business performance. Managers are challenged with preventing any act of sexual harassment in order to satisfy the individual, while at the same time preventing the business from losing its power needed to achieve its goal. Usually managers do not think that any act of sexual harassment is going on unless they receive complaints from their employers. This is why it is important to have a sexual harassment policy and make it clear to all employees that there is a zero tolerance policy for it in the workplace. Keeping employees satisfied will allow them to work to their potential with no additional stress.

Sexual harassment can dramatically affect individual performance, self-esteem, and absence. Employees who experience sexual harassment show that they are either slacking in performance or unable to carry out their duties. Negative mental effects from this subject include sleep disturbances, reduced self-esteem, increased stress, anger, fear, depression, and anxiety. These acts make the victim want to quit their job and find a new one or continue to work poorly. No business wants its employees having any of these mental disturbances in their lives because it will affect the business negatively. The most obvious effects of sexual harassment occur when the victim loses their job. When a worker is fired for refusing to obey sexual demands of a manager or co-worker, the firing can be connected to another event but can still be connected to the harassment. Other victims may be forced to reassignment or demotion. Sometimes victims who report sexual harassment may find themselves offended again by their co-workers by something called 'backlash'. Backlash includes a change in attitude toward the victim, such as expressing hostility toward or banishing the victim. Victims may face humiliation through gossip, offense of character and reputation, and exclusion from work groups. Victim blaming can occur when the harasser or co-workers hold the victim responsible for either the sexual harassment or the conflicts after the harassment has been reported. Some people may believe that the victim could have stopped the harassment if she had really tried or even that the victim may have been asking for it.

Sexual harassment can also affect the organization. The business is liable for any legal fees and settlement costs that arise, which are harmful for the business because it is money lost for an act that could have been stopped. Even when a sexual harassment act occurs, some people may think it is offensive and others may not, creating even more issues by disrupting work relationships. Studies have found that sexual harassment is linked with more conflict in work teams with less team unity and success in meeting business goals. It is also an embarrassing issue and is hard to talk about so not all issues are brought up to managers, which is why the rules must be laid out on the table. Lastly, if the public finds out about an incident having to do with sexual harassment it can ruin the reputation of the organization and discourage job applicants.

Managers must play an active role in the prevention of sexual harassment. They must first understand



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