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Stopping Sexual Harassment (Sample Communication)

Stopping sexual harassment means defining it, communicating about it, and enforcing penalties against it.

Very good handout from work that perhaps others can adapt as a template.


“Prevention of Sexual Harassment

“Anyone can be a victim of workplace harassment. When [insert company or agency name] employees engage in sexual harassment, it affects the agency’s mission, reputation and credibility.

“Sexual harassment and misconduct create a hostile work environment that lowers emplovees’ morale and productivity. Due to the seriousness of this issue, [insert company or agency name] has a zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy. For clarity, zero-tolerance means that all sexual harassment allegations must be taken seriously and that management officials who observe or are notified of sexual harassment allegations must take prompt and effective action to end the harassment and ensure that it does not reoccur.

“Sexual harassment occurs when: (1) acceptance or rejection to the harassment is required (explicitly or implicitly) for continued employment; (2) acceptance or rejection of the harassment by an individual impacts his/her treatment by the harasser; or (3) the harassment unreasonably interferes with individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment for the target of the harassment or for observers. Sexual harassment can also include behaviors that are not overtly sexual in nature but reflect disparaging attitudes based on sex or gender.

“Sexual harassment behaviors can be grouped into the following three broad categories: (1) gender harassment; (2) unwanted sexual attention of a sexual nature that is directed toward a person; and (3) sexual coercion.

“1. Gender harassment involves unwelcome behaviors that disparage or objectify others based on their sex or gender. Examples include (1) derogatory or unprofessional terms related to sex or gender; (2) unwelcome sexual teasing, joking, comments or questions; (3) exposure to sexually oriented material (e.g., photos, videos or written material); and (4) exposure to sexually oriented conversations.

“2. Unwanted sexual attention includes unwelcome behaviors of a sexual nature that are directed toward an individual. Examples include (1) unwelcome invasion of personal space (e.g., touching, crowding, leaning over); (2) unwelcome communications of a sexual nature (e.g., emails, phone calls, notes, text messages and social media contacts); (3) unwelcome sexually suggestive looks or gestures; (4) pressure for sexual favors; (5) pressure for dates; (6) stalking (e.g., unwanted physical or electronic intrusion into one’s personal life); and (7) sexual assault or attempted sexual assault.

“3. Sexual coercion occurs when an individual is pressured or forced to engage in unwanted sexual behavior. Example includes an offer of preferential treatment in the workplace in exchange for sexual favors (tangible employment action).”

By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal (Dossy). All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain.

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