Sexual Harassment In The Workplace Sexual harassment is far more prevalent in the workplace than most people realize. As even conservative Ninth Circuit Judge Kozinski recognized: Other studies have shown that half of all sexual harassers are the direct supervisors of their target, and that supervisors are more likely to engage in and get away with more severe forms of harassment.
The reason is plain: As a result, a victim of sexual harassment is more likely to submit to and less likely to complain when the harasser is a supervisor.
Not only do supervisors have, by definition, greater authority and power than do their subordinates, but they also control the norms of the workplace. In addition to determining assignments, evaluating performance and recommending promotions, they influence the "climate" of work: Individuals in higher status positions believe and are believed to have the right to make demands of those in lower status roles.
Some managers view harassing behavior as an extension of that right.
They expect lower status individuals to comply. There are two kinds of sexual harassment: Hostile environment harassment occurs when physical, verbal, or visual sexual harassment is severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile or abusive work environment.
This type of harassment does not require a loss or threat of loss of your job, or the promise of benefits. Comments about your body, sexual remarks, pornographic pictures displayed at the workplace, and touching and grabbing may all create a hostile work environment. In addition, the conduct must be unwelcome to you. If you like, want, or welcome the conduct, then you are not being sexually harassed. And if the conduct does not relate to your sex or have sexual references, it's not sexual harassment.