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Workplace Sexual Harassment

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WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT

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SE YOUR HEAD BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH, BECAUSE IT'S A VERY SENSITIVE WORLD OUT THERE. PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR WAYS TO GET OTHERS IN TROUBLE OR PUT THEM ON REPORT. THE OTHER PART OF THAT IS THAT PEO¬PLE HAVE DIFFERENT ATTITUDES, DIFFERENT MINDS AND DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES. THE BOTTOM LINE IS, YOU HAVE TO RESPECT ALL THOSE PER¬SONALITIES AND DIF-FERENT TWISTS THAT PEOPLE HAVE. TREAT THEM WITH DIGNITY AND WATCH YOURSELF." SAM HOUSTON, CEM, DIVISION CHIEF FOR THE CITY OF JACKSONVILLE'S FLEET MANAGEMENT DIVISION IN FLOR-IDA.

LEGAL ENVIRONMENT OF BUSINESS

ACCTG-XXX-X

SPRING 20XX

MAY XX, 20XX

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AUTHENTICITY DECLARATION

I HEREBY DECLARE THAT THIS PAPER IS MY OWN WORK AND HAS NOT BEEN SUBMITTED PREVIOUSLY FOR ANY OTHER CLASS, DEGREE, OR EXAMINATION IN THIS, OR ANY OTHER UNIVERSITY. I ALSO DECLARE THAT ALL SOURCES USED OR QUOTED HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AND ACKNOWLEDGED PROPERLY AS COMPLETE REFERENCES.

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SIGNATURE DATE

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hat constitutes sexual harassment; why is it a big issue for organizations, and why it applies to me? Perhaps, someday, I'll be harassed at work or I'll harass someone else and will not know it. "It can be a phrase someone makes unintentionally, yet comes across as having sex¬ual connotations, a joke that someone tells, a picture displayed in the shop, or video or e-mails sent to various people. When it comes to what is considered sexual harassment, it's just wide open." It falls on the shoulder of the employer to insure safety, when sexual harassment does occur it creates an unsafe work environment; both physically and/or psychologically. Many instances are without intended harm to the victim or witnesses, but must be dealt with accord¬ingly. Understanding the rules and regulations of what is to be tolerated and what crosses the line is essential for all people interacting within an organization. Incorrectly ac¬cusing someone can be extremely detrimental to their lives and jobs, but then again ignoring what might be considered horseplay can lead to lawsuits against the employer who did not take the initiative to correct such problems. Most times sexual harassment is merely de¬famatory comments about fellow co-work¬ers with intentions of humor. In any case, it's still harassment and should not be tolerated. These so-called jokes can lead to sexual requests, inappropriate touching, posting of nude pictures, written insults, unwanted staring, and po¬tential stalking; in any such case they need to be ad¬dressed professionally and confidentially. "A safe and healthy workplace is paramount to the success of any business."

WHO IS SEXUALLY HARASSED?

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he majority of sexual harassment claims are filed by women, but recent year trends show more men filing complaints. It was debated whether same-sex harassment falls under the pro¬tection of Title VII. Sexual harassment can be male-on-male, and is not limited to only female targets. As long as the harassment is based on sex and not sexual orientation a case can be made. Not yet required, many companies are taking a proactive approach to protect their employees against discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation.

TITLE VII

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mployers are to abide by certain guidelines regarding sexual harassment specified under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII was enacted to prevent discrimination based on race, national origin, religion, and gender. It prohibits favoring one gender over an¬other, and that's where sexual harassment comes in. Employment law differentiates between two forms of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. "Quid pro quo harassment occurs when either (1) "submission to [sexual] conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of an individual's employment" or (2) "submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such indi¬vidual." Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when the sexually-oriented conduct "has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work per¬formance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment."" Because Title VII prohibits sex discrimination as a basis for employment a sexual harassment claim must create an abusive work environment, thus obstructing a person's ability to remain em¬ployed. Generally, cases are decided on a "case by case" basis, meaning there is no standard or precedent to follow. Good advice to employers is to consider any and every instance an employee claims to be a possible hostile environment harassment suit.

QUID PRO QUO

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n a quid pro quo case, "this for that," what if the employer is unaware of a supervisors har-assment? Should they still be held liable? The general rule is yes, in spite some courts disagree with this ruling. "For an employer to be held liable for a supervisor's sexual har-assment, the supervisor must have taken a tangible employment action against the em¬ployee. A tangible employment action is a significant change in employment status, such as firing or failing to promote an employee; resigning the employee to a position with significantly dif-ferent responsibilities; or effecting a significant change in employment benefits." Only a supervisor holds this power, thus harassment by a fellow co-worker does not fall under quid pro quo. However the case, employers are liable for their managers and supervisors and need to be cautious. Sometimes what is considered willing consent transforms into unwilling con-sent after a "tangible employment action" is taken. Basically, once this action is taken the employer is liable. The event happened and it's too late for corrective measures.

An issue arises whether or not a person must endure psychological injury as a result. "Sexual harassment is actionable under Title VII because it affects the terms, privileges, conditions of employment. The Supreme Court clarifies sexual harassment cases stating "that a Title VII plaintiff

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