Free Sexual Harassment Policy Essay Sample
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This study was designed to offer a qualitative backing for the nuances surrounding the subject of sexual harassment. In it, it has been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that sexual harassment especially at workplace is a matrix of many factors, processes and constructions. For instance, harassment is seen to be based on age, attractiveness, closeness and acquaintance, gender of the victim and harasser, ......According to Saguy (2), although the concept of sexual harassment has rapidly spread across the globe, it still means a bunch of different things in different places. For instance, by the year 2003 although the American Law defined sexual harassment to include group-based discrimination, French Law considered it only as a form of interpersonal violence and the 'quid pro quo version' of the malady. Some scholars have referred to sexual harassment research as a 'junk science' thus demonstrating the highest order of ignorance of the process and the utility it has to a civilized society such as ours. Although the pioneering researches of mid-1970's were easy targets of criticism due to the methodology, subsequent studies have developed more sophisticated experimental designs.
This research found out that in the present day society, most of sexual harassment cases happen at the workplace and other close-acquaintance niches. In additions, more women than men are sexually harassed (Gold The sexual harassment intricacies revolve around, but not limited to, its definition, perspectives and policy in the realms of politics, Law and Sociology. It must be noted form the very onset that the subject has gotten much attention due to studies in gender and promotion of women rights punctuated with feminist touches. In this research, the problem of sexual has been stated, researched upon, analyzed and policy recommendations prescribed. The discussion also defines the action plan in the implementation of sexual harassment policy.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
The term 'sexual harassment' refers to the unwelcome sexual conduct towards other people. The term also entailed a worldview in which in which women were not always, as men would assume, flattered by sexual attention but also, probably largely, aggravated by it. Saguy observed that the term was coined in 1975 by American feminists (3). The act had before then existed for ages without a 'name' so to speak. In the view of the International Labor Organization (ILO), this is a form of gender discrimination based on sex; a manifestation of differential power relations. The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) also received the issue with so much seriousness that it referred to it as some form of gender-based violence. Related activism led to legal entrenchment of the stand that female coworkers should not be viewed as sex objects and that sexual aggression was not to be condoned whether on the basis of cultural constructions of gender or the patriarchal predispositions of men. As it shall be seen in this research, many interviewees who did not report cases of sexual harassment did not consider whatever they underwent as a form of harassment but a 'reality of life'.
On the other hand, the workplace is defined as the physical space within which work is carried out, work-related venues or interactions that involve employees. This description actually includes even the clients and customers. By integrating the above two concepts, it becomes evident that workplace sexual harassment may take the following directions: Receiving of career-related threats, physical sexual abuse and rape, verbal sexual harassment and visual sexual harassment.
The subject of sexual harassment is a somewhat sensitive issue and to some extent; emotive. This is because of the nature of the act itself and, on the part of the harassed person, the effects it has. It is a reality in the present-day society and therefore a need for policy entrenchment by any sound government, employers and a generally civilized human conglomeration. However, in the spirit of a rapidly globalizing world, any policy has to be informed by research; the rationale for the recommendations herein. The general methods or approaches to research include, among others, interviews, surveys, focus groups, participant observation, secondary data, life histories, case studies and the use of secondary data. There may be overlapping instances for different research approaches or methods. Moreover, interviewing is almost the most commonly used method of researching. The primary aim of any research is to carry out an investigation about something that exhibits a discrepancy between what should happen and what actually happens or just to establish the truth on the ground. To support this truth, there has to be data from which sense is made. After this is done, that is analysis, recommendations are done on the basis of the research findings. One of the last stages entails the representation and presentation of the research outcome for policy purposes: Implementation. The specificity of the general research process outlined above has been realized in this research on sexual harassment.
This research began with the perusing of secondary data and materials regarding the subject of sexual harassment. Being such a central theme of social policy, there exists a wealth of literature from all manner of genres. For the purpose of this exercise, academic resources such as book, reports and journals were used. This information was very helpful especially in the understanding of the evolution and current directions in sexual harassment research. It is however, known that in the academic world, especially in the social science, there is, in most cases, an antithesis to every thesis postulated. A synthesis of all these views leads to more research thus improving the quality of the policy.
The research team was guided by the firm belief in the premise that sexual harassment was a rampant phenomenon in the current society. There are several niches within which this backward act could happen. Some of it could be expresses as marital rape which led to domestic violence and some other forms. The basic tenet for the research was however the postulated premise that the phenomenon was more rampant at the workplace following the social indicators and reports of such acts through out the media coverage. There was also a mild proposition that probably men were equally harassed despite the patriarchal and male-dominated setting of the research. Therefore, the following research questions formed the nucleus around which the whole process and methodology revolved: Are people really aware that there is anything like 'sexual harassment'? If they are have they experienced it? At what age? From whom? Who is sexually harassed anyway? Are men also sexually harassed? How is the sexual harassment awareness in the population? How about the company policies; do workers know them? Where else could this kind of data be gotten from?
The second phase of the research was a survey which focused on three major categories regarding sexual harassment. They include how the public viewed the issue, how the workplace was expressive of the phenomenon and the wider legal environment. These categories are well illustrated in appendix...However, the actual demarcations of the questionnaire which included the details of the interviewee, their awareness of the subject matter, episodes of such harassments if any and finally the more specific experiences of sexual harassment for those who had been victims in the previous section. The survey began by preparation of the research team in terms of what to expect and how to go about it. It was considered that there were inherent cultural and linguistic concerns that would have affected the investigation. Therefore, a briefing was done so that contextual issues could be handled appropriately. As a way of piloting, focus groups were conducted in which new learners got acquainted with interviewing techniques. It thus meant that the validity of the research findings was high. So as to eliminate the feelings of restriction and strictness at the workplace, it was agreed that respondents were not to be directly interviewed at the work venue. A total of 500 respondents were interviewed using the random sampling method and estates of as the sampling frame.
a) Awareness of Sexual Harassment
There was a score value of five arbitrary units denoting awareness: Very aware, somehow aware, aware, not aware and no answer. To get the level of awareness, a list of five awareness-actions questions was read and answers thereof used for ranking the awareness level. These included receiving career threats, being show sexual gestures, if one stood strategically looking at the interviewee until they were uncomfortable, being physically sexually abused and specific body part being frequently stared at. It was found out that 66.4% of the respondents were very much aware of sexual harassment. The percentages for the others were 16.8%, 7%, 8.6% and 1.2% respectively. This is well illustrated in Table 1. By considering women alone in the, the 'very aware' awareness level was 71.5% while for men alone, it was 58%. Awareness of Workplace Frameworks
To gauge whether workers were aware of their company's, it was found out that only 23% were aware of existence of their companies' policy stipulations over the subject. Conversely, 66.6% said they were not aware of any policies in their company. However, 50.4% knew at least a person or a department concerned with such issues.
2) ACTUAL SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Those who reported having experienced some form of sexual harassment stood at 54.4% while 42.8% had not. Only 2.8% who did not answer. The research was additionally interested in sexual harassment by sex. This is illustrated in Table 2.
3) SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY SEX
In such a male-dominated society, one would expect cases of male sexual harassment to be almost not there. However, the research revealed that even men are equally sexually harassed. This is probably because of the of the redefinition of the parameters for harassment including 'mere' staring of body parts in which the subject becomes very uncomfortable; which could happen even to men. Moreover, it is clearly evident that women are more sexually harassed compared to men. The numbers stood at 42% and 58.3% of men and women respectively.
SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS AND PROBLEM STATEMENT
Although the population seems to be generally aware of the existence of sexual harassment as a malady, only 23% of the population is aware of their workplace policies regarding the subject. It is not because companies do not have those policies per se but that their employees do not know them. Probably the employers would not want the employees to know what is contained in the policies so that it could be very easy for the companies to deprive the victims of sexual harassment of their rights. In other word, employers have failed in the promulgation of their employers' rights of protection from such acts either at the work venue or during the performance of related duties.
Sexual harassment is a very rampant activity especially at the workplace. This is demonstrated by the fact that out of the population studied, while those who had not been harassed was 42.8%, those who had actually experienced the harassment were 54.4%. In other words, those who had been sexually abused were more than those who had not. There were competing numbers for both man and women on the subject of sexual harassment implying that even men were equally harassed. Additionally, there was a critical problem with the age bracket within which the harassments were most pronounced. This is a probable for future family problems since majority of the victims were young whereas majors were the most harassers.
The question of sexual harassment should be among a country's priorities. It is in the Bill of Rights of every country's Laws that the government has the responsibility of ensuring security of its citizens including those who are at risk of harassment. The government should thus take a lead in prescribing laws from which employers are directed. In fact, it should be a condition registration that a company must have some vital policies including the sexual harassment policy. To begin with, employers should have a sexual harassment policy that expressly prohibits such acts and thus reinforce a non-tolerance culture towards any form of harassment. It should also be made clear, through the relevant State Departments that all employers have a duty to protect the employees from harassment. From the research, the workplace should have very clear and known procedures for presenting and handling such cases. With regard to sexual harassment that happens not necessarily at the work venue, the employer should establish a framework that addresses employees' security in work-related duties outside the actual work venue. At all circumstances, the victim's confidentiality must be protected. At the individual level, every person should make sure that they timely report assault-related cases of harassment.
In general terms, an effective sexual policy implementation should be expected to punish the offenders and also compensate the victims. However, little research has been done on implementation of sexual harassment policies in many countries (Zippel 37). It was unearthed that most research focused on the legal formulation and approaches and also issues such as access to courts and level of awareness. On a sad note, the implementation process is faced by political blocks in which the actors have differential interests. Against this deficiency, Zippel (38) recommended that implementation approaches should consider policies and procedures at the workplace, creation of awareness as a preventive tool and establishment of oversight agencies that monitor, lobby and advocate for the issues at hand there and then. Although, as it has been found out, these kinds of policies elicit more resistance from the conflicting divide, the struggle must be staged up.
Very important it is that a succinct plan of action for the implementation of sexual harassment policy be outlined. This is important as all the stakeholders get committed to the cause and consequently yield results. Otherwise, persons shall continue to languish in harassment related cases which is likely to stir sociological problems. After the recommendations are handed over to the relevant authorities by a research agency, the appropriate government department should take the lead in this process. This was well exemplified by the United States Secretary of States' 1994 directive that a sexual harassment policy action plan be developed (Neumann 151). This was fuelled by the fact that there had been much sexual harassment within the military. As part of the plan, the first element was to establish the Defense Equal Opportunity Council (DEOC), a task force on discrimination and sexual harassment. Secondly, a survey was conducted in 1995 to ascertain the gravity of the phenomenon. In 1998, the Department of Defense was directed by the congress to improve the way in which crimes related to sex were handled.
An action plan consists of what must be achieved, how it would be achieved, when it would be achieved, who should be responsible for what and what resources are needed. It is therefore crystal clear that resourcing, human resourcing and timing are critical components. With regard to sexual harassment policy, the relevant government department should form a committee to execute the above stated components of an action plan.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Before the research results are recapped, it is important to note the general properties of a sexual harassment policy. Such a policy should clearly define sexual harassment preferably the American way, give some examples, deter persons from acting so, promise confidentiality for the reported information and stipulate the legal consequences for the offenders. It is already stipulated under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that it is illegal to discriminate persons on the basis sex. In her Sexual harassment: Your guide to legal action: What you should know and do, Boland recommended that employers should have a sexual harassment policy that succinctly describes that any form of the malady would not be tolerated at all costs (72). According to her, strong policies on this subject encourage victims of this form of harassment to forward their cases and consequently allowing employers to take prompt action against the perpetrators.
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