Sexual harassment in the workplace, which ranges from unwelcome comments about sex, gender, or sexual orientation to sexual violence, is a pressing global issue. Although the severity of this problem varies depending on the cultural heritage, gender relations, the level of female emancipation, attitudes towards women in society, and the state of their legal protection, there is no state where it does not exist. As per Republic Act No. 7877: Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 (1995), “work, education or training-related sexual harassment is committed by an employer, employee, manager, supervisor, agent of the employer, teacher, instructor, professor, coach, trainer, or any other person who, having authority, influence or moral ascendancy over another in a work or training or education environment, demands, requests or otherwise requires any sexual favor from the other. ” Thus, sexual harassment in the workplace is one of the most severe occupational hazards today, which can directly affect the success of the production and the physical and psychological well-being of workers.
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Sexual harassment in the workplace has different manifestations and is perpetrated in different ways. According to Republic Act No. 7877 (1995), sexual harassment is committed when sexual favors are a condition of being recruited, continuing a job, receiving any privilege, or promoting a job. Moreover, the refusal to provide sexual services leads to the restriction of the employee, which in any way discriminates against, deprives, or limits employment opportunities and is also referred to as sexual harassment. Examples of sexual harassment in the workplace contain such situations as a boss, threatening to fire, ask to have sexual intercourse, forcing a woman or a man to have sexual intercourse due to debt, or conversations and hints of sexual intercourse, tactile touch from the employer or teacher. Thus, unpleasant physical contact, requests of a sexual nature, and verbal abuse with a sexual connotation are manifestations of sexual harassment.
Republic Act No. 7877 (1995) defines the responsibilities of employers and heads of office or educational institutions to combat sexual harassment. It requires every employer or office manager to take steps to prevent sexual harassment and promulgate rules and regulations governing the investigation, prosecution, resolution, and administrative sanctions of sexual harassment cases. Moreover, Ursua (2001) claims that each employer or office manager should establish a committee on decorum and investigation (“CDI”) that investigates and resolves cases of sexual harassment and takes initiatives to improve understanding and prevent such incidents. According to Ursua (2001), an excellent example of how to combat sexual harassment in the workplace is the policy of the privately held Friendly Sage Foundation, Inc. The company runs a 30-day training program for its potential employees, during which topics such as rules and regulations on sexual harassment, gender issues, violence against women, reproductive health, and sexuality are discussed. In return, the employee must also take measures to prevent sexual harassment. Conte (2019) asserts that such measures include adherence to the corporate dress code, communication by the norms and rules of business ethics, the maintenance of attentiveness and vigilance, and clarity and specific behavior.
Thus, sexual harassment in the workplace is common in modern society. It manifests itself both in the form of physical influence, which is expressed in touching and attempts to influence employees or students forcefully, and psychological influence on the victim, which is described in sexual innuendo, blackmail, and coercion. A vital aspect of this problem is the application of measures to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, which consists of the development and implementation of policy provisions on sexual harassment in the corporate culture, as well as employee behavior that is consistent with business norms.
Conte, A. (2019). Sexual harassment in the workplace: Law and practice. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
Republic Act 7877: Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 (1995). Official Gazette, 91(15), 2144-2146. Web.
Ursua, E. G. (2001). Addressing sexual harassment in the workplace: The Philippine experience. International Labour Organization.
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