Although recognition of sexual harassment, along with prevention methods for it, has profoundly increased in the past twenty years, stronger measures need to be taken to completely eliminate sexual harassment and its harmful effects from the workplace. This paper introduces the definitions and forms of sexual harassment, along with other noteworthy background information. It will present current policies and legal remedies for sexual harassment, including those of the state, federal statues, and individual workplace programs. The outcomes for the different parties involved in sexual harassment will also be discussed. The paper will conclude with proposed changes and improvements that can be made in the future in order to further combat sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is a crime that plagues academic institutions and workplaces. Although the problem is widespread, it seems that a lack of information (largely due to the fact that the issue has been ignored and incidents are under reported) helps account for the deficit in knowledge people have about this serious issue. The Supreme Court did not uphold a sexual harassment charge until 1986, in the case of Meritor Savings v. Vinson, where it ruled for the first time that sexual harassment was a form of sexual discrimination (Lindeman and Kadue, p. 11). Before this ruling, although the EEOC had established guidelines prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace, it was often viewed as an issue that people, mainly women, had to put up with.
As the statistics repeatedly show, primarily women experience sexual harassment. It is said that 90% of sexual harassment cases involve men harassing women, while only 1% of the cases filed involve women harassing men [the other 9% involve same sex-harassment](Bravo and Cassedy, p. 64). Another alarming finding is that one out of every two women will experience sexual harassment sometime during their academic or work life (Fitzgerald and Ormerod, p.