Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 3
Words: 570
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College

In the occurrence of increased and evolving outrages concerning sexual harassment and violence in the place of work, one might wonder how such problems can be eradicated. Sexual harassment in the workplace denotes the aggravation of either female or male employees by another, mainly of the opposite sex, based on sex for a favor (Chalabi, 2016). It is a serious issue, which has hampered most workplaces around the globe. It can be broken down into two forms: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Sexual harassment should be addressed and prevented to avoid its detrimental impacts on the victims and, consequently, the success of the organization.

Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment

Quid pro quo represents the form of sexual harassment that arises when some sort of benefits are promised based on sexual favors. For instance, an administrator may seek to promote a junior worker on the condition that he/she satisfies the sexual demands. It mainly happens between an individual on a high rank in the organization and a subordinate (Hudson Jr, 2017). Some of the employment benefits that an executive may offer in exchange for sexual favors encompass approving performance reviews, salary increment, and promotion to mention a few. This form of sexual harassment may also happen in cases where there are threats of negative work effects for refusal to bestow sexual favors. Such unfavorable outcomes include demotion, undesirable assignments, and being fired.

Hostile work environment refers to the kind of sexual harassment that arises where there are persistent, inappropriate sexual remarks, requests, or advances. This is mainly in the form of physical or verbal behaviors that have a sexual perspective, for instance, displaying offensive or undesirable materials such as images of genitalia, sexual jokes, or frequent, unnecessary relations that encompass asking for dates. The occurring forms of behavior have to be unwelcome and persistent for them to result in a hostile environment (Salman, Abdullah, & Saleem, 2016). Contrary to quid pro quo, in hostile environments, there are no provisions of employment benefits in exchange for sex. Therefore, it usually happens among employees across all ranks.

Dealing with the Problem

A single occurrence of sexual harassment, whether as quid pro quo or hostile environment, is unlawful and may be the basis for a court case. The employer may be found legally responsible for the behavior of the employees who perpetrate sexual harassment since they are considered to be under his/her watch (Jacobson & Eaton, 2018). Therefore, employers are required to put stringent measures to ensure that sexual harassment does not occur in the workplace (James, 2017).

The employer should encourage employees to confront colleagues who perpetrate such vices and bring them to his/their attention if they do not dare to face such an individual or when it persists even after being condemned. The majority of professionals recommend that employers take severe measures such as sacking the perpetrators of sexual harassment in the workplace as soon as the conduct becomes “unsuitable” without waiting until it turns out to be illegal.


Sexual harassment is a serious issue that has hampered most workplaces across the world. It occurs in two forms: quid pro quo or hostile environment. It should be effectively tackled and prevented to evade its harmful effects on the victims and the success of the company. Employers should put stern measures to make sure that sexual harassment does not happen in the workplace, for instance, by sacking the perpetrators.


Chalabi, M. (2016). Sexual harassment at work: More than half of claims in US result in no charge. The Guardian. Web.

Hudson Jr, S. W. (2017). Sexual harassment: A myriad of social and business impacts. Journal of Human Resources, 5(2), 1-6.

Jacobson, R. K., & Eaton, A. A. (2018). How organizational policies influence bystander likelihood of reporting moderate and severe sexual harassment at work. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 30(1), 37-62.

James, M. (2017). After Hollywood sexual harassment scandals, they were spurred to action. Now there’s a help line to report abuse and get legal support. Los Angeles Times. Web.

Salman, M., Abdullah, F., & Saleem, A. (2016). Sexual harassment at workplace and its impact on employee turnover intentions. Business & Economic Review, 8(1), 87-102.