Skaine (1996) defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature…when submission or rejection of this conduct explicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment ” (p. 11). The two types of sexual harassment identified by the law are quid pro quo and hostile environment.
Quid pro quo refers to a condition where an employee is forced to provide sexual favors to an individual at a higher job rank in exchange of benefits at the workplace. On the other hand, hostile environment refers to a state where employees are harassed by offensive sexual behavior or any other act or state that intimidates a person sexually at the workplace (Geffner & Braverman, 2005).
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees against discrimination of any nature at the workplace. The Act protects employees from discrimination by their employees either in terms of gender, ethnicity, racial background, religion or any other form (Repa, 2010).
The scenario being experienced at the workplace provides that members of staff are offended by the personal photos and calendars hung in the back of the kitchen that are sexual in nature. Some of these items have been given to the staff from suppliers. The objects hung do not belong to just one individual and are making the other staff members uncomfortable. The other staff members asked for the items to be taken down and have even taken them down themselves, but that has caused more items to be hung up in their place.
From this scenario it is evident that the employees are offended by the pictures and this is a case of a hostile work environment. The rights of the employees have been violated yet they have the right to be protected from sexual harassment. In this scenario, sexual harassment is experienced by the employees and the kitchen manager should take action to protect the rights of the employees.
As the kitchen manager I would ensure that all the complaints are dealt with immediately and appropriately. All pictures identified to cause sexual harassment should be removed and no more pictures of a similar kind should be displayed in future. It is good to discuss the issue with the employees and assure them that it is regrettable that such an offensive act has been happening and that a similar occurrence would not be experienced in future.
A comfortable work environment is a right to all employees and it would be my duty to ensure that all employees are comfortable at the workplace. Moreover, injunction should be placed against suppliers providing materials which are offensive. To add on that, personal photos bearing offensive photos should be banned at the workplace.
It is therefore conclusive that employees have a right to be protected against sexual harassment. Sexual harassment consists of all environmental conditions at the workplace which are sexual in nature and are offensive.
It is the responsibility of the management of the organization to ensure that all the employees are comfortable at the workplace. To avoid a similar occurrence in future, employees of the organization should have the freedom to express their grievances and to discuss matters that may affect them at the workplace.
Geffner, R. and Braverman, M. (2005). Aggression in organizations: violence, abuse, and harassment at work and in schools. Routledge. ISBN 0789028425, 9780789028426
Repa, B. K. (2010). Your Rights in the Workplace. Nolo. ISBN 1413312101, 9781413312102.
Skaine, R. (1996). Power and gender: issues in sexual dominance and harassment. McFarland. ISBN 0786402083, 9780786402083.