Sexual Harassment at Work: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and How It Harms Your Organization (Topic Overview)Dec 21, 2021
What is sexual harassment? Many people think sexual harassment involves a very specific situation: a boss (usually a man) threatening to fire a direct report (usually a woman) if she doesn’t sleep with him. But that scenario is just one of many that fall under the umbrella of sexual harassment.
In reality, research shows that sexual harassment is made up of a wide range of derogatory, demeaning, and/or humiliating behaviors rooted in traditional, heteronormative beliefs about sex and gender. While sexual harassment does include behavior aimed at starting a sexual relationship, it can also involve sexist comments that are meant to reinforce norms about how women and men are “supposed” to behave.
As organizations continue to struggle with this issue—often very publicly—it’s essential that leaders recognize the realities, myths, and costs of sexual harassment for both their employees and their business. In particular, leaders must pay attention to the many organizational factors that drive how often sexual harassment occurs and what happens when it does.
- Three types of sexual harassment.
- Five common misconceptions about sexual harassment.
- Costs for organizations.
- Additional resources.
How to cite this product: Brassel, S. (2021). Sexual harassment at work: What it is, what it isn’t, and how it harms your organization: Topic overview. Catalyst.