Sexual harassment at the workplace is a recurring challenge across the globe with different organizations coming up with varying measures of intervention to deal with the implications of such a problem. In the contemporary marketplace, organizations are responding to this topic either proactively or reactively to the salient situation, which is a form of discrimination on the grounds of sex. Indeed, such treatments are contrary to the premise of equal treatment accorded to men and women in the workplace environment. Sexual harassment is unlawful as this conduct creates workplace environs that a reasonable person can regard as unfriendly or intimidating. Therefore, the role of this article will be to highlight the concept of sexual harassment in the workplace and the role of the human resource manager in preventing sexual harassment.
According to Mainiero and Jones (2012), sexual harassment can take two forms that entail: first quid pro quo (QPQ) sexual harassment. In this form of sexual harassment, it involves executing employment decisions, for instance, hiring, promotion, and termination based on the compliance of the individual. Second, hostile work environment (HWE), where the individual indulges in activities, which impedes with a person’s work routine leading to an intimidating work environment. In the US, sexual harassment is a violation of the individual fundamental human rights, and thus, it is against the majority of company regulations to harass other employees through unwelcome sexual advances or to create an intimidating work environment through their conduct (Mainiero & Jones, 2012).
Every employer should take the responsibility of making all the requisite mechanism at the workplace to prevent any instances of sexual harassment, which can avoid any liabilities that can arise as a result of court cases. Given the likelihood that legal cases might arise, the employer should execute precautionary measures that minimize instances of sexual harassment and come up with appropriate intervention mechanisms that minimizes the risks of a legal issue or incidents of sexual harassments. For the organization to experience reduced cases of sexual harassment, the employer should come up with sexual harassment policies and monitor its effectiveness (Mainiero & Jones, 2012). That is, the employee should adopt a clear sexual harassment policy that defines sexual harassment, states clearly that sexual offenses are not tolerated, highlights the punishment of sexual offense and that any case of sexual harassment will be handles seriously. However, these policies will only be effective if the employer implements training programs that involves employees, supervisors, and managers.
Mainiero and Jones (2012) state that because of the high prevalence of workplace romance and the inherent fears this can escalate to sexual harassment, the human resource manager should come up with ethical models, which represents the appropriate code of conduct when romance is concerned. The model can guide the employee behavior and can highlight those instances where the HR representatives take actions ones the employees’ activities exceeds the actions that potentially amounts to sexual harassment. Because of the emergence of social media as a means of communication, which creates discord between suitable and unsuitable conducts, the HR should also train their workers on ways of identifying negative behaviors and interests. Mainiero and Jones (2012) point out that while the majority of sexual harassment claims emerge because of workplace romance, pundits believe that organizational policies which prohibit workplace romance are antisocial and impractical. Workplace romance can have positive ramifications on the workplace as it can improve job involvement, engagement, and improved work motivation.
At the workplace environment, the best course of action in controlling sexual harassment entails raising awareness and training. Raising awareness and implementing training programs should be focused on the employees with the Human Resource managers drafting organizational policies, which guides employees on the expected code of conduct. The Human Resource representatives should also appreciate the role played by social media and communicate policies governing employees on the proper usage of social media at the workplace.
- Mainiero, L., & Jones, K. (2012). Workplace Romance 2.0: Developing a Communication Ethics Model to Address Potential Sexual Harassment from Inappropriate Social Media Contacts between Coworkers. Journal of Business Ethics, 114(2), 367-379. doi: 10.1007/s10551-012-1349-8