Two common types of sexual harassment claims are a) unwelcome attention, advances, or verbal comments directed at a member of the same or opposite sex by a co-worker and, b) quid pro quo sexual harassment that happens when a supervisor promises to give, or take away, benefits in exchange for sex or sexual favors.
In the United States the topic of sexual harassment is very controversial and has led to a tendency for businesses to establish iron-clad standards and regulations regarding appropriate behavior in the work place.
To minimize (for it is nearly impossible to eliminate) sexual harassment at the workplace leaders should go to the US Department of State's Office of Civil Rights to obtain information on current laws pertaining sexual harassment in the work place. Additionally, there must be employer and employee training about
- what exactly is sexual harassment, the consequences for the actions
- available routes to report sexual harassment confidentially
- consequences of sexual harassment
- current protocols and action plans to deal with inappropriate workplace behavior
- examples of sexual harassment- Leaders must also consider that the cultural and social backgrounds of some employees may render them unaware of what exactly is considered sexual harassment in a mainstream environment.
- cultural implications of sexual harassment: especially geared toward employees of backgrounds whose culturally delineated "personal space" is different from that of the mainstream environment.
Prevention and education are always the most powerful tools to counteract any obstacle in the workplace, and in life, really. Once an employee has been made aware of a situation, and has been told about the consequences of failing to comply, the employer no longer can be held liable for not having addressed the situation beforehand.