Sexual Harassment at Workplace – An Overview

Sexual harassment whether at the workplace, the street, at leisure or even at home is a problem gaining increasing recognition in the society.

According to the US Equal Opportunity Employment Commission:

Workplace sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. All these actions constitute sexual harassment when:

o Submission to such behaviour is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;

o Submission or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting individual; or

o The conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the individual performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

The Concept Development

Sexual harassment is a subjective reality. It has become a fact of life since a very long time but the concept of sexual harassment is relatively new as the term was neologised for the first time in the mid-1970s by the Working Women United Institute. 

Only recently has it been recognized as a serious problem. Sexual harassment in the workplace is one of the most common, in which the victims find themselves under pressure to provide sexual services in exchange for advantages in the workplace or face a hostile work environment.