Sexual harassment is the act of using some element of power to solicit a sexual favor from a person who does not want to participate in a particular activity. It is unwelcome activity in the form of speech, print, gesture, or some other form of sexual communication. Such activity is harmful and illegal and may result in adverse psychological, economic, emotional, and even physical effects on a person. We seem to hear and read more about sexual harassment when it occurs in a private work environment, yet it has been shown to be a common occurrence in other arenas such as educational establishments, the military, and other public institutions.
Typically, sexual harassment involves a male harassing a female who is subordinate in the relationship. However, a male can be the victim of sexual harassment as a result of a female’s behavior, and sexual harassment may also involve two individuals of the same sex. To decrease the incidence of sexual harassment, companies should adopt a clear policy that communicates to employees that sexual harassment is not permitted in their environment and that it will not be tolerated by anyone. We can expect the topic of sexual harassment to continue to be a major concern in our society, for a number of obvious reasons. For example, the role of women in the world is changing. They are more likely to be found in key positions in all walks of life where their presence is important and influential. In addition, they are more educated and more attuned to the need to work for equal treatment, which is something they deserve as major contributors in society.
- Collier, R. (1995). Combating sexual harassment in the workplace. Buckingham, PA: Open University Press.
- Landau, E. (1993). Sexual harassment. New York: Walker and Co.
- Minson, J. (1993). Questions of conduct: Sexual harassment, citizenship, government. New York: St. Martin’s Press.