Dalton LindelofProfessor YoungENGL 130110 December 2017Against the Establishment-Women Working in America Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Rep.
John Conyers Jr., Sen. Al Franken, and Ezekiel Elliott all have something in common. These men have been accused of alleged sexual misconduct which has resulted in resignations, terminations, or suspensions.
The United States is the land of equal opportunities and freedoms for all individuals. This has not been the case for women in the workforce. There is a daily parade in the headlines of new accusations against powerful men around the country. Men from all types of industries are coming under fire from women alleging sexual harassment.
Because sexual harassment is a growing epidemic in the United States it is necessary to understand what comprises sexual harassment, next what causes victims to come forward yet others still remain silent, yet some men disagree sexual harassment is just boy talk, and lastly what can be done to prevent sexual harassment in the future. Women have drastically changed the landscape of the United States workforce since 1950. The Status of Women in the States reports as of 2014, nearly six in ten women ages 16 and older (57 percent) worked outside the home, compared with 33.9 percent in 1950 and 43.
3 percent in 1970 (53). That is an increase of 23 percent more women in 60 years have entered the workforce. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports women working in professional occupations such as officials, managers, technicians, and sales workers has increased from 13.97 percent in 1966 to 53.23 percent in 2013 (1). The times are changing but the workforce has not changed to help these women succeed.
Today women make up roughly 51 percent of the population but despite these advancements women working full time in 2013 earned an average of $39,157 whereas in men working full time earned $50,033(2). In 2015 almost one-third of all charges filed with the EEOC involved harassment, and nearly a quarter of those harassment charges involved sexual harassment (Feldblum and Lipnic 7). This evidence proves that sexual harassment is a problem in the United States.
Sexual harassment is a type of sexual discrimination. When sexual harassment takes place on the job it violates Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law prohibits sexual discrimination in the workplace. Sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior that happens to workers because of their sex. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) has strict definitions of sexual harassment and defines workplace sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances or conduct of a sexual nature which unreasonably interferes with the performance of a person’s job or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment (NWLC 1 ).
Sexual harassment can take place in many different ways, quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment are two types of violations that are commonly reported in the workplace. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a person’s submission to or rejection of sexual advances is used as the basis for employment decisions about him or her, or submission to sexual advances is made a condition of his or her employment. The term “Quid pro quo” means something for something. Hostile workplace environment harassment occurs when sexual conduct or gender-based hostility creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. These types of violations are against the law.
LAWS, a professional legal service explains that harassment cases are treated differently in all states and on the Federal level. Harassment charges are given depending on the offense that the harasser committed. Some harassment charges offer a slap on the wrist, while others offer jail time in conjunction with lost wages or other consequences(1).New headlines of alleged sexual harassment are happening everyday. Powerful men are being accused of horrific acts in the workplace. Women are becoming empowered and voicing the workplace harassment that has occurred in the past.
When one woman begins to speak then others realize it is ok to tell their story. The victims have safety in numbers. Sexual harassment in the workplace is usually not an isolated incident. There may be many victims throughout years of abuse. There is a movement entitled #MeToo where people are encouraged to share that they also have been a victim of sexual harassment on social media followed by the hashtag. Tarana Burke created the catchphrase 10 years ago to let people know they are not alone. Because of the recent high profile cases making the news the hashtag has gained a newfound popularity. Even Time magazine selected their person or group of the year to be “the Silence Breakers.
” This group was selected by Time magazine because they drastically influenced the events of the year (Zacharek 1). “The Silence Breakers,” represent the thousands of people across the world who have come forward with their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. The five women shown on the front cover of the magazine are all victims of sexual harassment. Singer Taylor Swift and actress Ashley Judd, both appear on the cover, have been vocal in the press about their sexual assault experiences. Women are becoming empowered and voicing the workplace harassment that has occurred in the past. On the cover of the magazine there is a single bent arm and the face is not visible. This arm is for a woman that wishes not to share her name because she is worried of about losing her job if she comes forward.
Many women are scared of coming forward for fear of being targeted. Few victims of harassment formally make a complaint to their employers or file a charge with the EEOC. According to surveys 70 percent to close to 90 percent of women do not report sexual harassment (Berman and Swanson 1). Victims are terrified of not being believed or feel nothing can be or will be done to correct the harassment.
Some males debate that sexy talk and flirting with a coworker or subordinate does not constitute sexual harassment. A little pat on the butt or an inappropriate sexual suggestion is just playing games. These men believe that women are just pretending to not be interested.
Some women think, “Boys will be boys” and shake off inappropriate behaviors. Many men in power think that the law does not apply to them but what they do not understand is what they are doing is against the law. Employers need to become proactive regarding sexual harassment in the workplace.
In many cases employees are aware of the “dirty little secrets” that are taking place in offices across the country. Many workers are knowledgeable about abuse but when no formal complaints are filed nothing gets done and the abuse continues. Companies do not tolerate theft or constant tardiness nor should they tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace. Teaching all employees first what constitutes sexual harassment is essential.
The next step is making it clear that this type of behavior is unacceptable and if found true it will result in termination. When all employees are treated with respect it builds a safe environment for all. Organizations that focus on accountability, culture and leadership development can connect with all employees and create a workplace for all to flourish and succeed.Sexual harassment is a legitimate concern in our country. All employers and employees must understand that sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination and is against the law. The #MeToo movement has shown that an overwhelming number of women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace and are beginning to disclose this abuse.
When women come together their strength unites them and they feel safe revealing past experiences of sexual harassment. Some believe that the sexual harassment in the news is just fun and games and should not be taken seriously but inappropriate sexual behavior has no place in the workforce. When companies create a culture of accountability for all team members this will strengthen the workplace and reduce sexual harassment. Works CitedBerman, Jillian, and Emily Swanson. “Workplace Sexual Harassment Poll Finds Large Share Of Workers Suffer, Don’t Report.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.
com, 27 Aug. 2013,www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/27/workplace-sexual-harassment-poll_n_3823671.
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Feldblum & Victoria A. Lipnic, 11 Nov. 2016, www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/task_force/harassment/report.cfm.
Hess, Cynthia, and Jessica Milli. “The Status of Women in the States: 2015 (Full Report).” Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 20 May 2015, iwpr.org/publications/the-status-of-women-in-the-states-2015-full-report/. “Sentencing And Punishment- Business | Laws.com.
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” NWLC, National Women’s Law Center, 15 Nov. 2016, nwlc.org/resources/sexual-harassment-in-the-workplace/. U.S.
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gov/eeoc/statistics/reports/american_experiences/.Zacharek, Stephanie, et al. “TIME Person of the Year 2017: The Silence Breakers.
” Time, Time time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers/.