The workplace is a network of people that all have different personalities and understanding of ethics. Some employees might behave and feel strongly about others and their actions, whereas individual people can be working alone without paying much attention to anyone else. Workplace harassment can be on many bases—gender, racial and sexual, which are all equally important and should never be permitted to happen.
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In the case of the travel company from the case study, the situation needs further analysis. Question 1 deals with the definition of sexual harassment. Generally, it is any unacceptable behavior of sexual nature that goes over the top and can be considered somewhat constant. Sometimes, simple words or teasing can be considered harassment. Jokes can also be a very shaky ground and a lot depends on the situation and context.
Most commonly, it is based on gender and behavior that is unwanted by other party. In severe cases, it involves touching, which is already considered an assault in case it is unwanted. Repetition of advancement towards the person and hinting on anything thought of as private or of sexual nature, is harassment.
Even if there are no direct words or phrases that openly and bluntly state sexual nature, the context could definitely and undeniably hint the true nature of words, thus it will be inappropriate. Most lawsuits happen when it is done by management and the person is promised advancement or other benefits for sexual favors. In Erin’s case, the fact that Matt Owens touched her where he did, does qualify as sexual harassment.
He did not ask if he could do it, permission was not given, so it is inappropriate. It was done in a sneaky way where Erin was unable to avoid it. Any sort of such behavior should be immediately stopped and reported with further consequences for the offender. If even the slightest amount is allowed, it would be difficult to draw the line, so minimalistic harassment should be avoided.
Question 2 deals with actions that Erin Dempsey could have taken other than her response. Prior to the talk and explanations that she gave, a different approach might have been used. It is understandable that in a situation when someone pressures you, it is hard to control the outrage and feelings of anger, so it is difficult to come up with the most appropriate response.
It is possible to assume that Matt thought Erin was playing games with him, whereas it certainly was not the case. Because her honest explanation did not work, she should have changed her tactics, so to be sure that anything she tried did not work. Instead of being blunt and giving her reasons straight out, Erin could have kept silent or repeated several times for him to leave.
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If that did not help, she could have warned him that in case he touched her anywhere, then she would answer to it as an assault and protect herself in any way she believed necessary.
When she warned Matt that she would call Ron Hanson, she should have gone through with it and explained to her boss that she is being prevented from doing her work that must be ready for tomorrow. But if talking and explaining do not work, then she should have punched him in the face or any other place, after Matt touched her.
Question three relates to the responsibility of the company in cases of sexual harassment. Usually, the company must and will take direction action to prevent further harassment. An investigation will be conducted, and all the parties consulted. There could be a meeting set up between the workers and the true matter of things established. It is important to collect all evidence and facts, so that appropriate action is taken.
Organization will most commonly punish the person engaged in sexual harassment, as it has become a very serious matter recently. Depending on the level of harassment, an investigation could be done within the company or police could be notified. In the case study, Daryl Kolendich did not respond appropriately to the problem.
As he is the owner of the company, it is crucial that he sets the pace for the employees and demonstrates what sort of things is permitted and which are absolutely forbidden. He used his position and authority to downplay the incident and gave advice to Erin that he himself should have been given.
He must have taken the time and care to investigate the matter. His primary response should be a strict talk with Matt Owens and possibly, a meeting of the three individuals. Matt should also have been denied pay or any other action should have been given as a punishment.
Daryl Kolendich’s response and his words is exactly what allows for this form of harassment to still exist. If people were punished immediately and showed that any inappropriate behavior is unacceptable, individuals would not be thinking that such actions will go unnoticed and unpunished.
Question 4 proposes a strategy that would help prevent sexual harassment suits and set up a procedure that would deal with such cases in an adequate way. One of the possible solutions would be a consultation with the person against whom the harassment took place and asking their opinion of what should be done in the matter.
In case it was reasonable, the person should be given the consolation that something was done and the perpetrator was punished. This would prevent the victim from feeling insecure and degraded at work, whereas if no action is taken, the person will feel depressed and their work time and productivity will greatly suffer. In some cases, most strict procedures should be implemented, such as termination or police involvement.
It is crucial that people are punished severely and unquestionably if they did commit the act because this will save the company money but most of all, it will shape the behavior and attitude of people by creating a safer and more positive environment to live and work in. Closed circuit cameras could be set up in all areas so that it is easier to determine the fault and facts that took place.
For the longest time people, mostly women were subjected to sexual harassment, and it still goes on in the modern world. If people themselves, authorities and lawmakers do not take any action, then cases such as this will be commonplace and will not stop.
For the world to change, the direct approach must be implemented. It is much better to prevent further incidents than deal with the consequences where people will be physically and emotionally abused.