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The Background of Sexual Harassment

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Running head: SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE: AN EMPLOYER LIABILITY

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace:
An Employer Liability
Angela Brittain
Bus310. Human Resource Management
Professor Bucholz
March 15, 2007

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: An Employer Liability
Sexual harassment in the workplace is among the most offensive and demeaning situations an employee can be subjected to. A recent study concluded that at least 40% of women in the workforce have at one time been the object of sexual advances, propositions, or unwanted sexual discussions from men who supervise them or could otherwise affect their career. (Englander, J. P., 1992) Seven out of eight sexual harassment claims that are filed with the Equal Employment
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Specific examples of quid pro quo harassment include: 1) requiring submission to a supervisor 's request for sexual favors as a condition of continued employment; 2) granting specific job benefits such as a salary increase or promotion in exchange for sexual favors; and 3) withholding job benefits, such as a wage increase or promotion, or assigning more onerous tasks to an employee who has rejected a supervisor 's request for sexual favors. A refusal to hire a job applicant or outright termination of employment would, of course, also be actionable in this context. By extension, it has also been held that an employee who has not been the subject of direct sexual harassment has a viable claim against her employer where another, less qualified employee received a promotion or other job benefit instead of the complainant based upon the other 's submission to a superior 's request for sexual favors. (Roberts& Mann, 2002)
Hostile Work Environment
More recently, the U.S. Supreme Court formally recognized a second type of sexual harassment, referred to as "hostile work environment" harassment. Unlike quid pro quo harassment, hostile work environment harassment is actionable even in the absence of any economic effect upon an employee 's job status or employment. (Englander, J. P., 1992) Frequently, a quid pro quo situation does not exist. Many sexual harassment victims are never threatened with termination or lack of
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