Sexual harassment is a big problem in many organizations. This paper deals with the activities of an organization that works for the uplift of working women. An interview with the Human Resource (HR) Manager of a company also has been included.
What is sexual harassment?
Women are the main victims of sexual harassment in work environments. Young women are sexually exploited in many ways. But, all kinds of sexual behavior do not come under the definition of sexual harassment. The definition of sexual harassment is “Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature between the same or opposite genders when submission to, or rejection of, such conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, work performance, or creates a hostile or intimidating work environment.” (Equal opportunity branch (EO), 2009, para.1).
Activities of AMWA
American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) is an organization that works for the welfare of professional women. It is one of the best organizations in the US that act for the professional uplift of women. Activities of this organization emphasize women in the medical field.
AMWA has observed different situations that women can be sexually exploited. “The American Medical Women’s Association has adopted the position to oppose all forms of sexual harassment and gender discrimination against women in medical academia, organizations, hospitals, clinics, private practices, publishing endeavors, and any other professional activities.” (Gender discrimination & sexual harassment, 2000, para.2).
Sexual harassment that happens inside an organization is mostly related to a lack of professional ethics. In most cases as there are chances to lose a position or job itself if incidents are reported to authorities. AMWA has implemented strict rules to prevent all kinds of sexual harassment.
Showing pictures or cartoons with sexual intention, sexual oriented verbal actions, commands which have sexual references that hurt women, etc are controlled by AMWA. Indeed, it supports other organizations that act for a similar purpose. Different kinds of training are also given to students and professionals to tackle sexual harassment.
Interview with a Human Resource Manager in a Cotton Mill
Name of the HR Manager: Joseph M. Jacob
Type of the company: Cotton Mill
Number of employees: Men: 627; Women: 381
It was an interview conducted with the Human Resource Manager of a cotton mill in which 1008 employees work – 381 female employees and 267 male employees. The purpose of the interview was to assess various aspects relating to sexual harassment in the workplace. It was a half an hour interview conducted in the house of the Human Resource Manager Joseph M. Jacob. Five questions were asked to the interviewee. They were: How do you come to know cases of sexual harassment at the workplace in your company? How do you manage such situations and incidents occurring in your company? Is there any gender difference in sexual harassment? Is there any age difference or age-specific in which the employees are being harassed? Is it happening only between the supervisors and staff?
In reply to these questions, he told that he has been working in this company for the last five years as a human resource manager. During this period, 18 such incidents were brought to the attention of the company. It included one physical abuse, 14 verbal harassments, and 3 cases of showing pornography. The approach of the company is that once such a case is reported, it attempts to resolve the problem amicably. If the problem cannot be solved by mutual understanding, it is presented in front of the Chief Executive Officer. Then the victim is taken care of by the company and the offender is dismissed. The physical abuse happened when a male employee intentionally abused physically a female employee. The harassed female employee gave a written complaint and it resulted in the dismissal of the male employee who abused the woman physically. All 14 verbal harassments were reported between supervisors and employees. Five incidents of harassment were reported between supervisors and male employees while nine such cases were reported between supervisors and female employees. All verbally harassed employees were below 30 years old. Three cases of forced displaying of pornography occurred among male employees. They were aged between 23 and 26 at the time of the incident. The aged persons forced them to watch pornography. The HR Manager told that these were only reported incidents. There may be many cases that were unnoticed and not reported.
From these data, we can understand that there is gender difference and age difference in sexual harassment occurred in this company. Even though the number of female employees is low, 10 out of 18 cases were against female employees. And also the sexually harassed persons were below the age of 30. Likewise, 14 cases showed that supervisors were responsible for the harassment.
AMWA has very attractive rules and regulations to prevent sexual harassment. But, creating awareness about the reasons for the problem would be a better solution to solve problems. For that, different kinds of training sessions should be there for the professionals and students. There are highly qualified professionals to provide training. “The goal of eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace must begin with prevention.” (Sexual harassment prevention, 2003, p.1, para.4).
In organizations, sexual harassments come under discussion only if there is a reported incident. Most of the victims are not able to report it to authorities because of professional and personal reasons.
Equal opportunity branch (EO): Prevention of sexual harassment (POSH). (2009). U.S.Army: Deputy Chief of Staff, Army G-1. Web.
Gender discrimination & sexual harassment. (2000). AMWA: American Medical Women’s Association. Web.
Sexual harassment prevention: Welcome!. (2003). NYS Governor’s Office of Employee Relations. Web.