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Industrial-Organizational Psychology Learning Module

Sexual Harassment
Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP

Lesson Objectives
At the end of this lecture, you should: Know the definition of sexual harassment Understand the difference between two major types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment Understand the difference between harassment as a legal concern and as a perception Know the major legal milestones regarding sexual harassment Recognize perceptual influences on sexual harassment
Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP

Sexual Harassment is:


Any sexually-based behavior that is knowingly unwanted and either: has an adverse effect on a persons employment status, interferes with a persons job performance, or creates a hostile or intimidating work environment
Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP

The Law on Sexual Harassment


Illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 1977 - First quid pro quo ruling 1986 - First Supreme Court hostile environment ruling 1991 - Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP

How Frequently Does it Occur?

1989: between 42 and 92% of working women have been sexually harassed 1988 & 1995 DOD survey
women

reporting being harassed dropped from 64% to 55%


SH of women a big problem?

1991 & 1998 CNN/Time Poll


Is
1991

- 37% said yes 1998 - 26% said yes


Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP

Personal and Situational Characteristics Affecting Perceptions of Harassment


Harassment is more likely to be perceived when: the target is female and the perpetrator is male the target has less power than the perpetrator the behavior is repeated request by the target for behavior to stop negative consequences follow the target suffers emotional or stress-related symptoms the organization has been soft on perpetrators in the past
Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP

Event 1

An older female works as a cashier at a gas station/garage. The mechanics are male, and most are younger than she is. While the men never make comments to her, she has overheard them making comments about attractive female customers who bring in their cars for repair. There are also several calendars in the shop area showing women in bikinis.

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP

Event 2

A male professor teaches a literature class at a local college. His reading list includes several books that, while considered classics, involve stories of rape or the seduction of women. He occasionally uses graphic metaphors in his classes, such as comparing creative writing to having sex.

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP

Event 3

A male boss asks a female subordinate to travel with him on a personal business trip. There appears to her to be no real business need for her to travel. In order to save money, the trip will require them to stay over on a Saturday night. She refuses, because she feels it is inappropriate. On her next performance evaluation, she receives a much lower rating than she expected.
Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP

Event 4

Ninth-graders at a local middle school (both male and female) tease a classmate because she has a reputation for dating older boys. They call her names such as bitch and tramp. She becomes depressed by the teasing and her schoolwork suffers.

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP

Event 5

A female co-worker has a desk near the water fountain. Male co-workers frequently stop at the fountain on Monday mornings and discuss their weekends. Much of this discussion includes detailed replays of their sexual activity and often includes derogatory or sexist remarks about their women partners. While they never speak to the female co-worker, she can overhear them. She has repeatedly asked them to stop, and she has begun to dread coming in to work on Mondays.
Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP

Event 6

A female supervisor asks a male subordinate out on three occasions. Each time, he refuses, but appears pleased that she has asked him. On the fourth occasion, she warns him that the next time she asks him out, he had better play ball or else. He is now concerned because he needs his job very badly.
Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP

Event 7

A male supervisor frequently goes out to lunch with his male subordinates. His female subordinates are rarely asked. He also plays basketball on weekends with several of the other males. He appears to treat both males and females equally in discussions, but everyone in the office is aware that he always gives better work assignments and higher raises to the male subordinates.
Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP

I-O psychologists are active in prevention of sexual harassment

Help develop effective company policies and procedures on sexual harassment Design training to address:
general

awareness of sexual harassment


policies, procedures

definitions,

communication
to

skills

avoid harassment before it happens

conflict
to

resolution skills

address harassment went it occurs


Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP