Sexual Harassment – It’s About Power

Sexual harassment really comes down to power. Whether it is Quid Pro Quo Harassment or Hostile Workplace, the perpetrator is exerting a form of power when they sexually harass. In Quid Pro Quo harassment, the perpetrator is in a position of power at work and is exerting this power to get sexual favors in exchange for a workplace benefit.

In Hostile Workplace Harassment the perpetrator is deliberately making the workplace a hostile, uncomfortable environment for a co-worker. It is also a power game.  Stopping Harassment is also about power. Both the manager and the management have the power to stop the harassment.  Sexual harassment prevention training has a great part in avoiding sexual abuse in the workplace.  Company’s managers and supervisors are also required to undergo this training.

The power in an organization lies with managers and supervisors who have been given power within the organizational structure, so that the organization can operate effectively. These forces must be used for business productivity and not for personal gain. Positive power can come in the form of no tolerance sexual harassment policy and from the example of individual managers.

A company’s sexual harassment policy should be very specific and cover all aspects of harassment. It must be signed by every employee and every employee must be thoroughly trained on proper behaviour. They should know unequivocally what steps will be taken if they engage in any type of harassment.