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￿ It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of
that person's sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or
unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other ver-
bal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
￿ Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can
include offensive remarks about a person's sex. For example, it is ille-
gal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women
in general. Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a
man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.
The US Equal Opportunity Commission (2012a) recently explained
that the law does not prohibit non-serious teasing, offhand comments, or
isolated incidents. Harassment becomes illegal when it is frequent or
severe and creates a hostile work environment or results in an adverse
employment decision. The harasser can be a supervisor, supervisor in
another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the
Preventing sexual harassment and defending employees from sexual
harassment charges have become key reasons for legal decision-making in
many organizations. Ebeid, Kaul, Neumann, and Shane (2003) wrote
how management has been primarily concerned with workplace discrim-
ination and due process. Sexual harassment issues related to emotional
abuse that is inflicted on employees by supervisors or managers are sel-
dom addressed. The organizational climate can become more sexually
abusive when it permits or tolerates this type of abusive treatment by
supervisors, managers, and employees.
From an international perspective, the Commission of the European
Union in 2002 agreed that sexual harassment in the workplace can have a
negative effect upon workers' health, morale and performance ( Zippel,
2006 ). Anxiety and stress created by sexual harassment in the workplace can
also result in worker absenteeism or seeking other employment. Besides the
adverse consequences of sexual harassment on workers themselves it
can also have a damaging impact on co-workers, significant others, and the
organization itself.
Although there are numerous types of sexual harassers, Langelan (1993)
identified several distinct classes who can be found in the workplace. One
of these classes was described as public harassers who are sometimes seen
in the workplace as people who exhibit extremely aggressive sexual
behavior. They can be identified by their nasty sexual innuendos and
strongly suggestive sexual attitudes toward people in the workplace. Another
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