Prevent Sexual HarassmentPrevent Sexual Harassment
in the Workplace
Video DVD, Guides, Policies & E-Learning program on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace
by HR Proactive - Profit by Proactive PreventionTM

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Prevent Sexual Harassment:
Employees Video DVD Kit

Sample leader guide


You may be thinking, “Why am I here? I already know what sexual harassment is” or “this doesn’t happen in my workplace.” But you are here today to learn about the legal definition of sexual harassment, liability, and what you can do if you believe you are being sexually harassed. Remember, no workplace is immune to sexual harassment. It can occur in any workplace, to any employee.

It is important to know that sexual harassment is against the law. It is also prohibited by your employer’s policy. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the first federal law to prohibit discrimination based on gender and to prohibit unwelcome sexual conduct that leads to a hostile work environment. Since then, many states have enacted laws that expand upon the federal laws.

Sexual harassment in the workplace can have significant and adverse impacts on both the employer and employees: it can negatively affect productivity, morale, absenteeism and the general health and well-being of employees in the workplace.

Liability for Sexual Harassment

To some extent every employee is responsible for ensuring a workplace free from harassment. There are different types of responsibility or liability.
  1. Corporate Liability

    An employer may be responsible for harassment by supervisors, managers, workers and agents of the employer, particularly if the employer knew or should have known about the harassment and did not take action to stop it.

    Once an employer is aware of harassment, it has an obligation to take immediate action. If the employer finds that allegations of harassment are substantiated, remedies should be implemented that include both a disciplinary and remedial component, to ensure that the behavior stops and does not occur in the future.

    Employers and unions have an obligation to ensure that the working environment is free from sexual harassment or discrimination.

  2. Supervisors, Managers & Employees

    All employees, including supervisors and managers, are responsible for their own behavior, and may be held personally liable if they sexually harass other employees or make inappropriate gender-related comments. Managers and supervisors are liable if they knew that harassment was occurring and did not take steps to stop it.
The Workplace

Employers and employees may also be held liable for incidents of sexual harassment that occur outside normal business hours or off-site, but are related to the workplace and impact employment. This includes using texting, email or other social media (like Facebook) to make offensive, suggestive jokes/remarks or continue pursuing a co-worker thathas refused your advances at work.

A supervisor sexually propositions his administrative assistant in the parking lot after a staff holiday party.

Definition of Harassment

The EEOC defines sexual harassment as:

“Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.”

What makes it sexual harassment is the sexualized nature of the comments or behavior.

Let’s look more closely at the definition:
  1. “... creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.”

    The law does not protect against isolated incidents, good-natured teasing, or offhand comments. It is when these things are persistent enough to make the workplace unpleasant and threatening to the sufferer that the behavior is considered harassment. However, some behaviors are offensive enough to be sexual harassment with only one occurrence.

    A supervisor grabs a subordinate employee’s breast while she is working. That one action is severe enough to meet the standard of sexual harassment.

  2. “... when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment.”

    This part of the definition applies to creation of a hostile work environment. It also addresses the point that sexual harassment is about power. If a person in a supervisory role indicates that the recipient’s job will be affected, either positively or negatively, because of the recipient’s reaction to the behavior, then the behavior is harassment.

    A supervisor calls an employee in to discuss the employee’s future at the company. During the discussion, he tells the employee about another employee who was promoted after engaging in sexual activity with the supervisor. This implicitly implies that the employee is more likely to be promoted if she engages in sexual acts with the supervisor.

  3. “Unwelcome ... advances, requests ... and other verbal or physical conduct”

    They key term here is ‘unwelcome’. There is both a subjective and objective element to this. First, is the harasser’s knowledge of how their actions or comments may be interpreted and second, is how the recipient may interpret them. Even if the harasser sincerely does not believe that their actions are offensive, they may still be found to be harassing if the recipient finds them so.

    While it is recommended that victims of sexual harassment tell the harasser that they find the comments or behavior offensive and unwelcome, the law does not require that a victim protest at the time of harassment. There are many reasons why a victim of sexual harassment may not tell the harasser to stop:
    • Fear of reprisal from harasser or management
    • Fear of not being believed
    • Fear of damaging further career opportunities
    • Not wanting to make waves or rock the boat
What is Not Sexual Harassment?
  • An occasional compliment;
  • Good-natured jokes and jesting where both parties find the conduct acceptable;
  • Office romance where both parties enter into a voluntary relationship; (It should be noted that this carries risk. What happens if the relationship sours? How will that affect the parties’ ability to work together and the comfort level of their co-workers?)
  • Normal exercise of supervisory responsibilities including discipline or counselling.

is key to sexual
harassment prevention

This Prevent Sexual Harassment video DVD training program is an easy tool to help you meet your obligation to train your employees.

Our new 15-minute Sexual Harassment video DVD is a stand-alone program that can be used to train a group of employees or for remedial purposes for Individual One-to-One Training/Coaching.

This Prevent Sexual Harassment Kit contains:
  • One 15-minute video/DVD
  • Easy to use leader’s guide
  • Reproducible participant guide
  • Glossary & further references
  • Reproducible scheduling & attendance form
  • Employee quiz
  • Training certificate
Click here to learn more

Prevent Sexual Harassment in the Workplace - Video DVD, Guides, Policies & E-Learning program on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace
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