How Should HR Professionals Respond to Sexual Harassment? Essay

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Sexual harassment in the workplace is an ongoing and serious problem that employers in any workplace environment must cope with as justly and fairly as they can. They must also follow the laws that apply to workplace harassment and to do that they must be fully aware of what legal aspects relate to sexual harassment. This paper points to the importance of the human resource (HR) department in terms of setting the standards for all employees to follow in order to be in compliance with federal and state laws. Moreover, this paper provides peer-reviewed information from the scholarly literature that places a good deal of the responsibility for hiring quality people -- and for enforcing existing laws pertaining to employee behavior -- on the shoulders of the HR department.

For example, the HR department should be staffed with well-trained professionals experienced enough to hire quality people that hopefully won't engage in improper behavior. One suggestion for assuring that competent people are hired is offered by Boxall; HR should give prospective employees tests covering their capabilities, the depth of their commitment, and how much of a contribution they potentially could make to the company (Boxall, 2013). Moreover, the smart executive manager in a progressive company might realize how vitally important the legal and social implications of workplace sexual harassment are, and in that context he or she might well hire legal counsel -- on a consultant basis -- to assist the HR director, especially when it comes to the HR director being harassed or having received "unwanted sexual attention" (Tyner, et al., 2010).

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TOPIC: Essay on How Should HR Professionals Respond to Sexual Harassment? Assignment

Prior to delving into the issues mentioned in the introduction, the definition of sexual harassment seems important to review. Sexual harassment is basically "Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature," according to Tyner (35). There are three main kinds of sexual harassment in the workplace, and they are: a) "quid pro quo" (go out with me and I'll get you a promotion); b) also "quid pro quo" (have sex with me or I'll fire you); and c) this is a "hostile environment" harassment, posting a provocatively sexy photo of a co-worker in the break room, or giving a co-worker a squeeze in the buttocks or elsewhere (Tyner, 36).

Meanwhile, there have always been a number of important responsibilities that the HR directors are to be accountable for, but in an age of social media influences, workplace romance, frequent reports of sexual harassment -- and recent laws governing workplace social interactions and other potentially harmful dynamics -- the duties and responsibilities of HR managers have changed and are changing. Tyner and colleague reference a study that shows that HR managers and staff have themselves been the victims of various kinds of inappropriate actions.

The data presented by Tyner shows that 89% of HR professionals say they have received "gender harassment"; 47% report they have received "unwanted sexual attention"; 6% received "sexual coercion"; and 29% actually claimed to have been "sexually harassed" (Tyner, 33). At first glance these data reflect what might not have been obvious to observers previously -- that no one in a workplace environment is immune to unwanted advances or harassment based on their gender. Indeed if the HR director or other professionals in the HR department -- who are supposed to be the gatekeepers for wrongdoing reports and who "serve as the initial judge of whether or not a behavior is appropriate" -- are being approached inappropriately that often then Tyner's assertion is correct: legal counsel should be brought in.

As mentioned in the Introduction, training related to identifying sexual harassment -- and determining whether certain actions warrant sanctions -- is a vitally important activity for HR professionals. That said, an article in the scholarly Human Resource Management journal warns HR managers that as to sexual harassment training: a) is "difficult to design"; b) can be expensive; c) trainees may be "resistant to receiving it"; d) ineffective training may result in "backlash from intended recipients"; and e) "may create a false sense of security" that steps are being taken, but in fact "…real organizational problems" are unaddressed (Perry, et al., 2009).

Another peer-reviewed article in Human Resource Development Quarterly… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "How Should HR Professionals Respond to Sexual Harassment?" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

How Should HR Professionals Respond to Sexual Harassment?.  (2014, April 9).  Retrieved September 27, 2021, from

MLA Format

"How Should HR Professionals Respond to Sexual Harassment?."  9 April 2014.  Web.  27 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"How Should HR Professionals Respond to Sexual Harassment?."  April 9, 2014.  Accessed September 27, 2021.