Sexual Harassment in the Workplace - No Laughing Matter


In this report, I will present my findings of a human resource issue assigned to me, including any prospective legal lines possibly breached. I will articulate the ideal guiding principle for this particular situation. In addition, disparate treatment, hostile work environments, and sexual harassment will be explored, as well as any impending federal infringements in relation.

No Laughing Matter
Mary contacted Human Resources to report that she was being sexually harassed, the victim of unwanted advances, by her corporate sales supervisor Frank. Mary stated she was in the break room when Frank had acknowledged her success in acquiring the Chairs R Us account and commented about Mary having lunch with Mr. Miller five times this week. The comments were dubious at best, making mention of her methods of “persuasion”, stating that Mr. Miller enjoyed “desert”.

Mary advised Frank that the reason she met Mr. Miller for lunch so often was because the details of the sales contract consumed considerable time but she found it a rewarding experience. Frank advised Mary that he would have to sign-off on those lunch meetings for her expense reports, this is why having dinner that evening with him would be beneficial to her.

Declining, Mary offered to meet with Frank in the office, at 10 a.m. the next business day. Frank declined that offer and insisted Mary join him for dinner again, professionally benefiting her, implying that he would in turn keep her out of professional trouble. Frank insisted a third time that Mary go to dinner with him, to give him a reason to sign-off on her expense account. All the while, Frank is walking closer and closer to her at which Mary walked away.
Frank misuses his authority and attempts to manipulate Mary into going to dinner with him to perform sexual favors is a direct violation of trust. Frank illegally discriminated against Mary, the form was sexual harassment, specifically, Quid Pro Quo. Frank would not have necessarily been breaking the law if he had asked Mary out to dinner one time, and without all the dubious commentary. Requesting sexual favors in exchange for professional benefits is also against company policy via the employment handbook and other orientation training, which Frank blatantly professionally disregards through his own actions.

Harassment is a federal crime, not to mention the state laws. We must take care to deflate the possibility of this issue developing into the crime of creating a hostile work place environment therein generally requires more than one incident consisting of inappropriate jokes, lewdness, or having racy propaganda in the work place. Federal law states that it is a crime to treat a worker disparately in the work place. Moving forward in resolving the harassment issue we should be preventative in re-educating our management that when an employee is treated dis similarly from other employees, that is also a federal crime.

To constitute as a federal crime the dissimilar conduct must be on purpose and founded on at least one of the worker aspects that are safeguarded lawfully. In addition, “adverse impact” is different from that of disparate treatment, by the lack of intention, not purposeful. In addition, it is to be valid to the safeguarded workers, categorically. For instance, the disparate treatment happens when a manager permits the common worker to delight in a specific employer advantage but refuses it to another member of the staff.

The groups of people who are federally safeguarded are defined as people over forty years old (Ageism), issues related to the complexion or hues of a person’s skin (Color), personal beliefs (Creed), physical or mental impairment (Disability), attributes in relation to a nation relation, ancestry, physique, culture, or relating to language (National Origin).

Everyone is protected under the Race sector of Title VII from the Civil Rights Act (1964) because genealogically everyone may declare at the least one race. The remaining sectors include religious rites, exercise, and faith (Religion). In addition, males and females are each safeguarded against sexism, which unfortunately does not include taste (Sex & Gender).
Legally, employers are regarded as being automatically accountable for said harassment from their managers in which the victim has suffered a considerable difference within work conditions. However, if the harassment did not culminate to this level the employer is held legally responsible except if provable to have quickly attempted to mend the issue and logically prevent further harassment. In addition, it must also be proven that the worker unreasonably fell short of notifying management or shunning injury in other ways. Employers are also vicariously responsible for their employee’s irresponsible behavior and actions, which we should work towards preventing.

Following a timely, yet comprehensive, and objective inquiry Frank is guilty of harassment. Frank during the investigation was put on administrative paid leave until the inquiry was completed. Evidence suggests that Frank has been habitually flirting with many of the female subordinates over the years, whether unwelcome or not. Frank knowingly put this company in an undesirable position and is a liability. I have reviewed Mary’s employee file to be certain that nothing in it was related to this matter.

As a result of this inquiry, Frank has resigned his position. In continuing corrective and preventative measures, I am scheduling a mandatory online class regarding federal laws and company policies with a quiz that must be passed by everyone. Employees will specifically learn about the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and their purpose. If a case were ever reported, every employee would learn what would ensue.

There will also be mention of other laws that are protected by other agencies. For example, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) enforce the Civil Service Reform Act Of 1978 (CSRA), the Immigration Reform And Control Act Of 1986 (IRCA) by Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices. There are other laws that are handled by the Department of Labor's office, the Department of Justice, the U.S. Access Board, the U.S. Social Security Administration, and Workers Compensation laws are handled by every state as well as federally.

References
Ebert, R., & Griffin, R. (2009). Business essentials. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, Prentice Hall.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2010, April 1). Small Employers on Employer Liability for Harassment by Supervisors. Available from http://www.eeoc.gov.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2010, May 13). Workplace Laws Enforced by Other Federal Agencies. Available from http://www.eeoc.gov.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1999, June 18). EEOC NOTICE Number 915.002 Date 6/18/99: Enforcement Guidance on Vicarious Employer Liability for Unlawful Harassment by Supervisors. Available from http://www.eeoc.gov.

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