The Spud Seller Inc., a potato wholesaler in the San Luis Valley, allowed a supervisor in the packaging plant to sexually harass female workers over an extended period after management was first placed on notice by a complaint lodged in 2004. The potato seller created a hostile work environment by allowing supervisors to sexually harass female employees after complaints had been made, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed last week.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) describes sexual harassment as a form of gender discrimination that is in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court made employers more liable for sexual harassment of their employees. Moreover, the Society for Human Resource Management has reported that 62% of companies now offer sexual harassment prevention training programs, and 97% have a written sexual harassment policy.
But the problem continues. On www.sexualharassmentsupport.org the results of a recent telephone poll of 782 U.S. workers reports:
- · 31% of the female workers reported they had been harassed at work
- · 7% of the male workers reported they had been harassed at work
- · 62% of targets took no action
- · 100% of women reported the harasser was a man
- · 59% of men reported the harasser was a woman
- · 41% of men reported the harasser was another man
Of the women who had been harassed:
- · 43% were harassed by a supervisor
- · 27% were harassed by an employee senior to them
- · 19% were harassed by a coworker at their level
- · 8% were harassed by a junior employee
What to do if you are a victim – communicate your objection to the behavior. Tell the offender their attention is unwanted. Set clear, verbal boundaries. Ignoring the behavior actually encourages it to continue. For more advice, visit http://www.sexualharassmentsupport.org/WhatToDo.html.