What does Sexual Harassment really mean?

According the the EEOC sexual harrasment is defined as the following:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:

The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.

The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.

The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.

The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.

Okay lets try and tackle these one by one.

1) Unwelcome sexual advances- Vague at best. If a one member asks another member out on a date; And refuses technically speaking that is grounds for sexual harassment. It was unwelcome and an advace. Maybe thats an extreme case and is not really harassment its just one time.

But say a person is persisitent and keeps asking John or Cindy would you like to go out with me Friday night is that sexual harassment? Assuming of course the person does this over an extended period of time. I would say,NO. There is nothing overtly sexual about it really. That person is just being annoying and obnoxious as hell but not harassment. You have any idea how many dates,marriages,happen because one person just kept asking over time?

2) Requests for sexual favors- Ok,no real arugment here. Except doesn't that violate the right to free speech for the individual? Nothing wrong with being blunt is there? Should not be.I can see it being wrong to force a person to perform a sexual favor. But to ask and he/she says no,its not the end of the world is it? Course,not. Move on to Lois,or Steve from accouting.

3)Verbal/Physical conduct that of a sexual nature that affects a person's employment- Ok, another obvious one. Probably the most logical of them all. The rest are completly subjective. If you touch another person's rear end, to me that is assualt plain and simple. No questions asked really, of course it has to be unwarranted touching. So when NBA player's or NFL slap each other on the buttox and say one did not like it,I wonder if he would sue his teammate...You should not be fired because you will not let someone grope you.

Verbal on the other hand is a different story entirely. I worry about where does the risk run between being PC and having free speech. Free speech is not absolute we know that. Cannot yell fire in a movie theater because you will cause panic and maybe mass death,I buy that.

But because you are commenting on a guys' horizontal anatomy or a womans' vertical,where is the harm? If anything more people talk about sex,race,politics,and religion in the office than anything else. It is called "juicy office gossip". Goes on in every office in America everyday. Can we all just be grown-ups about this issue. For once can stop trying to sterilize speech so much to the point we have to talk in constant code like we are windtalkers? Everyone knows what you really mean anyway. This to me sounds like a case of popular speech versus unpopular speech. And people fail to realize you cannot protect popular speech while getting rid of unpopular speech, instead you will destroy free speech altogether.

4)Anyone that is affected by the offensive conduct- I am sorry to say folks. The language in the law is more beautiful than the actuality of human nature. We all are going to get offended by what someone says or does not say. Or what they imply. If that is the case everyone can say at some point they were a victim of sexual harassment.

Id rather have people be straight up and honest. All this poltically correct non-sense drives me nuts. There is nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade. Then youll get what about when it is racial? Im going to say it like this...If you have the balls to call me the N word,then do so if you think you have a pair. Because if that is the only word you can call me you should watch more spelling bee's,because my vocabulary arsenal is a surplus.

Now im not saying men should be allowed to oogle women all day long in the office,that is for construction workers. Or women talking about "the size" or anyother of the parts of a man. The women on "The View" do that just fine. But we have to realize we are all adults here. If we keep sanitizing everything,this society will not be clean it will be blank.

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Comment by Creature on April 30, 2009 at 4:00pm
That's really screwed up that you were relocated. I don't see how that was sexual or harassment.

On the other hand no one should be forced to quit their job due to anxiety related to a co-worker repeatedly making them extremely uncomfortable despite being told flat out "No" or "Stop it." Keep in mind that once upon a time women weren't taken seriously in the workplace, and that these laws had to be put in place because far too often management wouldn't do anything about it.
Comment by Angie Jackson on April 30, 2009 at 10:15am
Well the most common form I deal with personally is just getting honked at while walking down the street. While pushing my son in the stroller, trying to get him to SLEEP. It's actually much more annoying that they're loud than what they're attempting to communicate. (And what on earth do they hope to benefit by drive-by pissing me off? It's not like I'm gonna chase after them and beg to give them a blow job) Crude, but.. yeah. I don't think it should necessarily be illegal to honk at a girl, but if that's the case I'm gonna fight fire with fire. Which is why I carry an AIR HORN.
Comment by Anna on April 29, 2009 at 4:55pm
Dre- that sucks. That chick was ridiculous. I can't believe your boss followed through with you being relocated. I have attended and helped "teach" those classes before. We were always taught 1. Ask the person not to do it again. 2. If they do, involve the supervisor 3. A third time is possible termination. But bumping into someone- wow she has issues.
Comment by Dre Smith on April 29, 2009 at 2:56pm
Which is why I have a great distaste for sexual harrassment law because excusing aside physical confrontations, someone getting in trouble for something said I have a serious problem because in my view it goes heavily against the first amendment. Theorheticallly, I can ask a woman out simply be refuted and just by simply having asked her legally could be construed as sexual harrassment eventhough I will have only asked her once. This happened to me on a recent job of mine. I physically bumped into a female co-worker, mind you the space was small a counter to be exact...I didn't grab her ass or saying anything cept for excuse me...And I'll be damned if it wasn't 3 days later when I got called at home in the office to explain what happened. I wound up getting moved to another location when all I did was bumped into her...and to make matters worse once I was moved she kept coming to my location to transact business. These laws are fucked up and unfair, but being the guy I had to get moved eventhough there was zero credibility to her claim. I won't deny the fact that because I was black and her being white didn't have some effect in that as well.
Comment by Anna on April 28, 2009 at 9:51pm
Sexual Harassment = When someone you are not attracted to is attracted to you -and lets you know it. (Usually at least twice)
I was a manager of 80+ employees at my last job. There was a ton of inappropriate sex talk. However, the only time an employee came to me was under my definition. One guy told me that he felt harassed by a fellow employee who winked at him. The week before he commented on another co-workers breasts in front of me!!!
Comment by Dionysus on April 28, 2009 at 9:26pm
Sexual harrassment can also be more subtle. Some people can skirt the edge of what is considered harrassment quite well and become very skilled in a double speak language which may or may not be a come on. It's been around for so long, some people have become adepts.

That said, the concept of being sexually harrassed is a bit subjective at times and with regards to specific types of people. If you are very sensitive to discussions about sex, even over a few beers with friends, is it really sexual harrassment? You might have felt harrassed but your friends might have taken things much more lightheartedly and they may feel you're overreacting.

It can be very blatant or a slippery slope or unjustified and how each person defines each type is going to be fairly subjective. What is seen as intentionl harrassment can in fact have happened unintentionally. I think it can be a very odd issue when it's not blatant since no one wants to walk around on egg shells either. I would imagine the only way to properly address it is by trying to remain objective and analyze it within the context that it was taking place in.



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