What is Sexual Harassment? How is Sexual Harassment viewed Responsibilities, Organizational Policy Statement, Different Perspectives Research Findings (wk 6) 2 U of Lethbridge (Personal Security Policy)
conducts or comments-intimidating, threatening, demeaning or abusive. May be accompanied by direct/indirect or implied threats to grade (s), status, or job.
Between people of differing authority or/similar authority
Impact of creating an hostile environment hostile limits individuals in the pursuit of educational, research, work or personal development goals
Includes but not limited to unwanted sexual advances, unwanted requests for sexual favours, other unwanted verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature either explicitly/implicitly making a term or condition of an individuals educational, employment or personal development progress..
Includes hazing inc but not limited to initiation activities abusive or humiliating which subject the object of the activity to physical or emotional danger (http//www.uleth.ca/ policy/ for further info)- Subtle (contrary to acceptable standards), Harassment (potential physical discomfort emotional anguish) Dangerous Hazing (coercion-use of drug, alcohol)
How to deal with SH by David J. Miramontes (84). San Diego Network Communications, Inc.
Test your own perceptions of what SH invloves
Repeated questions about your personal life
Questions about your interests
Suggestive pictures around ypur work
Compliments on your figure
Comments on your build
Unnecessary personal contact
Frequent use of endearments honey
Showing dirty cartoons
Telling dirty jokes
Excessive dirty or swearing talk
Sex oriented verbal kidding or abuse
Suggestive body movements
Do you find it a dilemma to label each one as SH? Why/
Defining the problem by different people differs?
Behaviours offensive to one person is not the least bothersome to some others
Key issues what bothers or pleases the individuals involved-
2 workers enjoys telling dirty jokes no one hears the jokes - not a SH case.
If a third worker overhears is offended by the jokes, this cld be a case of SH under the quality of environmental issue.
The strongest cases of discrimination due to SH wld involve
Disrespect and prejudice which is excessive and shameful
Unwanted or unwelcome sexual advances, imposed by a supervisor, manager or co-worker of an employee
A connection between the resistance to the sexual conduct and the denial of job opportunities
Conduct may or may not be sexual in nature, but in some instances an individual may perceive the conduct as sexual
A negative effect on the environment
7 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 1980 Fed Guidelines as part of 1964 Civil Rights .
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, other verbal or physical conduct of a SH nature conduct when
Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individuals employment (hire, fire) (Employment Condition)
Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual (promotions, raises) (Employment Decisions)
Such conduct has the purpose of effect of unreasonably interfering with an individuals work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment (unwanted behavior, ma be sexual in nature)- (Offensive Working Environment)
- detrimental effect on work environment or job performance
Quid pro quo
employment or job performance is conditional on unwanted sexual relations
Hostile work environment
an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment
Whos responsible? EEOC
Management Employees where the employer, its agents, or supervisory employees, knew or should have known of the conduct, unless the employer can rebut such apparent liability by showing it took immediate appropriate correction action.
Non-employees where the employer, its agents, or supervisors knew, or should have known of the conduct failed to take immediate appropriate corrective action. EEOC considers the extent of the employers control any other legal responsibility which the employer might have with respect to the conduct of such non-employee.
Guidelines the employers are strictly responsible for the acts of SH regardless of whether the specific acts were authorised or even forbidden regardless of whether the employer knew or should have known of their occurrence.
EEOC procedures for employer to stop SH
Issue a strong clearly stated policy against all forms of SH in the workplace well publicized posted on all employee bulletin boards.
A specific procedure to be adopted publicized to all employees
Management, sups and employees should be educated through an awareness program dealing specifically with SH
Complaints to be investigated promptly and seriously
Appropriate action shd be taken if SH occurs
SAMPLE CORPORATE POLICY ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT
It has always been the policy of __________that our employees should be able to enjoy a work environment free from all forms of discrimination, including sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is a form of misconduct which undermines the integrity of the employment relationship. No employee either male or female should be subjected to unsolicited and unwelcome sexual overtures or conduct, either verbal or physical.
Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature. It refers to behavior which is not welcome, which is personally offensive, which weakens morale, and which therefore interferes with the individual s effectiveness and work environment.
Such conduct, whether committed by supervisors, non-supervisory personnel or non-employees, is specifically prohibited and disciplinary action will be taken f such conduct is found to be valid. Such behavior includes repeated offensive sexual flirtations advances or propositions continued or repeated verbal abuse of a sexual in nature graphic or degrading verbal comments about an individual or his or her appearance the display of sexually suggestive objects or picture or any offensive or abusive contact.
In addition, no one should imply or threaten that an applicant or employees cooperation of a sexual nature (or refusal thereof) will have any effect on the individuals employment, assignment, compensation, advancement, career development or any other condition of employment.
Any questions regarding either this policy or a specific situation should be addressed to the appropriate supervisor or ________________________ _______at ________________________________________
Source How to deal with sexual harassment by David J. Miramontes. San Diego Network Communications, Inc (1984)
What is Harassment? http//www.owjn.org/issues/s- harass/guide.htm (Sang Hyeob Team)
Someone is harassing you if
he is doing things to make you feel uncomfortable
he is saying things to make you feel uncomfortable
he is putting you at risk in some way.
The harasser will pick anything that makes you seem different from him. You might be harassed because of your
political beliefs (including union activities).
Sexual harassment is any unwanted attention of a sexual nature, like remarks about your looks or personal life. Sometimes these comments sound like compliments, but they make you feel uneasy. Sexual harassment can include
degrading words or pictures (like graffiti, photos or posters)
physical contact of any kind
Racial harassment is any action that expresses or promotes racial hatred and stereotypes. It can be obvious or subtle. It can include
spoken or written putdowns
other unwanted comments or acts
Racial harassment can be hidden in questions or remarks that seem positive. Here are some examples
"You are really pretty for a black girl."
"Tell me what it's like to always have your head and hair covered."
"Women from the Philippines are better at that than Canadian women."
"Native people are so good at crafts."
Different kinds of harassment can happen at the same time. Here is an example.
Leslie worked at a government office. She was called "nigger" and "dyke" by her co-workers. A male co-worker told her that he was the "real man" she always wanted and offered to "change her. Anytime." She was told her work was not as good as that of other, white, workers. People said that she thought she was too good for her job because of her university degree.1
. Harassers often have authority in the workplace. Your supervisor might be a harasser. You might also be harassed by a co-worker who wants you out of his way. Or you might be harassed by someone who works under you and doesn't like it. The harasser wants to hold power over you. He counts on your fear of complaining. He may think you are an easy target if there are few women where you work.
Sometimes harassment that occurs outside the workplace affects your work. Actions like these can cause problems or harm relationships among employees
someone from work follows you or hangs around your home
phone calls and letters are sent to your home
things happen at staff parties or retreats.
Some kinds of work can make you feel very vulnerable. Here is an example
Regina works for a family as a live-in nanny. She came to Canada for this job. She has no family and few friends here. It will be several years before she can apply for status as a landed immigrant or Canadian citizen. When something goes wrong in her workplace, which is also where she lives, Regina does not feel that she has anyone to whom she can turn for help.
You have the right to ask your employer, your union, or an outside agency like the Human Rights Commission to take action against harassment.
Shelley worked at a large corporation which she said was "like a boys' club." She complained about sexual harassment. The same day, she was harassed for complaining. Only the supervisor, the man Shelley complained about, and Shelley herself were supposed to know. The "boys," even the ones in the union, stuck by each other. They often made sexual remarks about Shelley, or other women, to her face. They would joke about not upsetting her. The workplace was often postered with pin-ups. When Shelley handed a written complaint to her supervisor, he said, "I don't need this shit." After she left her job, she filed charges with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against the corporation. She charged her employer with discrimination based on sex and with failing to provide a work environment free of sexual harassment.
Is This Harassment?
There are many clear-cut examples of harassment. Racist and homophobic insults are harassment. When a boss demands that an employee have sex or lose her job, it is clearly harassment, and it is against the law. But there are many less obvious examples. Many people are not sure if what they are experiencing is harassment.
Here are some examples of workplace behaviour
a man puts his arms around a woman at work
someone tells an offensive joke
someone says "You look great," or "Your hair looks terrific," or "Did you get any last night?"
These may or may not be examples of harassment. It depends on the situation. Where two people are friends, a comment like "your hair looks terrific" could be a compliment. If the same comment is made by a stranger on the street, it feels very different. If your boss leans over your desk and whispers the comment in your ear while you are working, it feels different again. The important questions are do you feel comfortable with this person making this comment? And does he have any reason for believing that his comments are acceptable and welcome
Here is another example. A group of factory workers have always told off-colour jokes. They are all comfortable with each other. No one is trying to offend anyone, and no one takes the jokes seriously. Since they only work with each other all day, they don't have to worry about upsetting anyone else. The jokes might offend some people, but they are not harassment in this situation. If a new person joined their production line and was bothered by the jokes, they should stop telling them. If they persisted with this behaviour in the presence of the new worker, they would be harassing the new worker
When you don't have support from other workers, it can be very hard to fight.
Stephanie works in the finance department of a large public institution. She is an Ojibway woman, and is the only aboriginal employee in the department. Four months ago the department was reorganized and she now works with a different group of people. They all know each other and have worked together before. They go out to lunch together, talk to each other, and share jokes and slang. Stephanie is left out. She tries to deal with the problem by talking to the only woman in the group, Kate. Stephanie explains that she feels excluded and that she thinks this harms the work. Kate denies anything is happening. She says, "We're not racists, if that's what you mean." Stephanie has said nothing about racism and is a bit surprised.
After this, the workplace becomes unpleasant. It is clear to Stephanie that the others are talking about her. One morning she finds a piece of paper taped to her desk that says "employment equity Indian." When Stephanie complains to her manager, he offers to transfer her. He says, "This is a good group. They work well together. You obviously don't fit in."
What Does the Harasser Think He is Doing?
Harassment can be confusing. You many wonder why the harasser is acting this way.
He might not think he is harassing you.
He might be very surprised when you call what he is doing harassment.
He might not mean to harm you. He is treating you the way he has learned to treat women.
He might feel that he has the right to behave this way with you.
He might not think his actions have a big impact on you.
He might want to push you out of a job that he thinks is for men only.
He might be angry because you are assertive or question his way of doing things.
He might know he is upsetting you or harming you. He may enjoy the challenge. Maybe he feels more powerful when he treats you badly.
And no matter what he thinks he is doing, harassment is wrong. He can stop.
What Does the Law Say Harassment is?
There is more than one definition of harassment under the law. Some forms of harassment are clearer than others. More work has been done on sexual and racial harassment than on other forms. Some other forms of harassment are still being argued in court. Harassment challenges are happening in a range of workplaces. The Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act name different forms of discrimination. You can turn to the section on The Human Rights Commission for more information. Some harassment cases have gone through the courts. The decisions that the courts have made set some precedents, or guidelines, for new cases.
In these precedent-setting cases, the courts have decided
when employers are responsible for workers being harassed
what is and is not acceptable behaviour
to recognize the seriousness of the effects of harassment on women.
An Empirical Investigation of Sexual Harassment Incidences in the Malaysian Workplace (Amie Team)
This paper presents the findings of a study which investigates the factors that contributed to incidences of sexual harassment at the Malaysian workplace. A questionnaire survey which was partly based on the Sexual Experience Questionnaire (SEQ) developed by Fitzgerald et al (1988) was carried out involving 656 respondents. The findings showed that sexual harassment incidences are rampant at Malaysian workplaces. The findings also indicate that it is aggravated by several factors related to both the organization as well as the individual worker. Specifically, a working environment characterized by lack of professionalism and sexist attitudes biased against women would cause female employees to be more prone to being sexually harassed. When the various demographic characteristics were studied, the findings reveal that the sample of women employees who face a greater risk of sexual harassment tend to fall under the category of the unmarried, less educated, and Malay.
Sexual harassment at the workplace is happening all too often with many factors being aggravated by both the individual employee as well as the organization. Like the United States, 35 percent to 53 percent of women are sexually harassed in the workplace, whether it be one of the two categories the Code of Practice on the Prevention and Eradication of Sexual Harassment cites as harassment sexual coercion or sexual annoyance. Sexual coercion is when the harassment directly affects the employees benefits while sexual annoyance is any conduct that the victim feels is offensive. The Code is completely voluntary at this point, but it is starting to make progress in that the employer can end up having mandatory disciplinary actions against those who choose to break the sexual harassment rule.
one of the reasons - the socio-cultural view (Sociocultural Model) of women, that men have a large dominance over women in this particular culture.
The study also pointed to a more likely for an unmarried, younger woman to be harassed than an older married woman. Also the women in more of a subordinate, unprofessional position are more likely to experience sexual harassment than a more professional woman. The studies Ismail and Chee conducted showed that 17.7 of women in unprofessional work environments are victims of offensive language directed towards them then those in a professional work environment (where there is an incidence rate of 7.7).
A question of dress also arose when conducting the survey. There is a definite correlation between how sexily a woman is dressed for work and how the amount of sexual harassment she receives. 16.5 of women who admit to sometimes dressing sexy for work have a high rate of sexual harassment, while the women who are not comfortable dressing in this manner experience a very low rate of harassment.
The demographics of the respondents also seemed to have an affect on how often they fall victim to sexual harassment. Women who have a higher education are much less likely to be harassed and if they are, they do not put up with it as long as those women with a low level of education. And lastly, it was found that women who are Malay experience much higher levels of harassment than those who are non-Malay.
Sexual Harassment Coping Strategies Amongst Women in Manufacturing Organizations in Penang
Barathi Krishnan Intan Osman (2003)
Sexual harassment is one of the most common forms of sexual violation faced by women. Women are sexually harassed in the streets, in public transport and at the workplace. Sexually harassed women often find it difficult to seek appropriate strategies against the harassers due to their social and psychological backgrounds and beliefs. This study examined whether womens feminist attitudes, their gender-role beliefs and demographic factors have any influence on the types of coping strategies they would adopt in cases of sexual harassment. It focused on emotion-focused and problem-solving strategies. Data were collected via questionnaires from 207 female employees of manufacturing organizations in Penang. The findings showed that feminist ideology and gender-role beliefs have significant impact on emotion-focused coping strategy. Race, education level and position in the company showed significant impact towards problem-solving coping strategy
Regardless of all its publicity and the fact that sexual harassment problems have been acknowledged in the last two decades (L. G. Seah, 2004), sexual harassment still remains hidden by most of its victims in our society (Hotelling, 1991).
Due to embarrassment, helplessness and fear of being known, and worse still, of losing their jobs, most of the victims of sexual harassment had to suffer in silence (Lim Ah Lek, 1999).
In Malaysia (in the 1950s), a group of women estate workers in Klang and Sitiawan, Central part of Malaysia went on strike in protest of being sexually harassed (Wani Muthiah, 2001). a case involving a female employee of Jennico Associates who has been harassed by her employer was brought to the Malaysian court in 1999 (Wan Hazmir Bakar, 1999).
Another case in point involved a woman employee of the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) who was harassed and sexually assaulted by Public Bank security guards in Kuala Lumpur (The Star, December 4, 2002). These cases proved that incidences of sexual harassment occur in varied working environment regardless of the victims position in an organization
Gosselin (1984) concludes that sexual harassment is a widespread phenomenon with social, economic and psychological consequences for the victim. For the victims, it often produces feelings of revulsion, disgust, anger, and helplessness. It damages the victims health. It results in emotional and physical stress and stress-related illnesses.
Sexual harassment adversely affects employee morale, job performance, productivity, and absenteeism among affected employees. Women have been reported being fired or refused advancement as a result of rejecting sexual advances (Errington Davidson, 1980). Moreover many female employees who face sexual harassment choose to resign from their jobs rather than fight or endure the offensive conditions (Gosselin, 1984).
Although a small proportion of men experience sexual harassment, it is mainly women in junior positions who are the victims of harassment from male colleagues or superiors. Those usually responsible for harassment have been proven in previous research to be men of status either equal to or higher than the victim and that physical harassment is more likely from superiors than from colleagues (Stanford Gardiner, 1993 in Worsfold McCann, 2000
this study will examine whether womens feminist ideology, gender-role beliefs and demographic factors influence women to use different types of coping strategies as these variables have been shown to affect the way women cope with sexual harassment (Brooks Perot, 1991 Jensen Gutek, 1982 Fitzgerald et all, 1988 Gruber Bjorn, 1986 Gutek, 1985 and Schneider, 1982).
The definition of sexual harassment is fairly broad (Northcraft and Neale, 1994).
The guideline developed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC, 1980) which describes sexual harassment as I) quid pro quo harassment, in which sexual conduct is made a condition of employment and 2) hostile work environment harassment, in which sexual conduct unreasonably interferes with work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
The Malaysian Trade Union Congress stated that sexual harassment comprised unwanted sexual advances, including unnecessary physical contact, touching or patting, suggestive and unwelcome remarks, jokes, comments about appearance and verbal abuse. It also includes leering and compromising invitations, use of pornographic pictures at the workplace, demands for sexual favors and physical assault (New Straits Times, April 4, 1996).
IRS (1996a) presented almost a similar viewpoint on what employers considered to be sexual harassment based on a survey on students studying hospitality management in the UK higher education system from which majority identified sexual assaults, demand for sexual favors, and unwanted physical contact as definite examples of sexual harassment. Offensive flirtation, gender related derogatory remarks, suggestive remarks, and sexist and patronising behaviour also forms of sexual harassment by more than half of the sample (Worsfold and MacCann, 2000)
Coping strategies refer to the specific efforts, both behavioral and psychological, that people employ to master, tolerate, reduce, or minimize stressful events. (Taylor, 1998).
The two general coping are emotion-focused and problem-solving coping. The former is a method of dealing with the emotional effects of sexual harassment problem without changing the causal situation, where the victims will keep quiet, ignores the problem, blame themselves or resign without taking any action,
Problem-solving coping strategy is an attempt to analyze the problem and determine its best solution. This strategy includes complaints to the police, and through companys procedures or discuss with companys upper management. (Folkman Lazarus, 1985). Folkman and Lazarus (1985), found that victims choose either emotion-focused or problem-solving coping strategies as a method of dealing with sexual harassment.
Most women use emotion-focused coping mechanisms which are distancing and escape based, instead of problem-solving coping mechanisms when trying to handle the problem of sexual harassment (Folkman et al, 1985)
The study used the sociocultural model which focuses on the larger social and political context in which sexual harassment occurs.
This model proposes that harassing behaviors at work are an extension of male dominance in the society in which the organization is embedded (Farley, 1978 MacKinnon, 1979). It posits that workers bring their gender roles and stereotypes into the workplace.
The model asserts that men and women are socialized
for stereotyped interactions to occur. Men are expected to display dominating and aggressive behaviors, whereas women remain more passive and blame themselves for being victimized. As a result of this manner of socialization, men view their behaviors as natural and justified (Vaux, 1993).
The study also employs the sex-role spillover model (Gutek Morasch, 1982) which assumes that workers bring gender-based expectations for behavior into the workplace, though these beliefs are not appropriate for work which proposes that gender identity is more salient than the worker identity.
Men and women, therefore, fall back on these gender-based expectations in their work environments, where they are inappropriate. Conflicts are more likely to arise in situations in which the sex-role stereotypes are discrepant with the work roles of the particular genders. These are places in which gender is made more pronounced and is recognized over the work role.
Women are, therefore, more likely to experience sexual
harassment in nontraditional work situations involving works other than nurturing or being a sex object.
Based on these two theories, the variables of interests feminist ideology and gender role beliefs towards sexual harassment will be the determinants on the types of coping strategies women would adopt if they are sexually harassed
It has been reported that younger individuals are more likely to make a formal complaint when sexually harassed than are older ones (Terpstra Cook, 1985) which is complimentary to the finding of Barak, Fisher, and Houston (1992) that older, more experienced women are more likely to perceive an environment as sexually hostile and therefore conclude that their claim will not be taken seriously or that they would experience some other negative outcome.
In a study of whistle-blowers' perceptions of organizational retaliation, Parmerlee, Near and Jensen (1982) also found that younger individuals were more likely than older ones to report instances of wrongdoing. Given the evidence from these studies, younger individuals appear to have more positive expectations concerning the outcome of reporting incidents of sexual harassment than do older individuals. Brooks and Perot (1991) found age and marital status have direct influence on perceived offensiveness of the incident and that perceived offensiveness have a direct influence on reporting the incident.
However, Gruber and Bjorn (1986) Ragins and Scandura (1995) found that age, marital status, education do not consistently predict differences in women's assertiveness in handling sexual harassment.
The inconsistent results could be explained by the fact that older women tend to have more organizational resources such as seniority or status which is likely to increase their assertiveness but younger women are often targeted for more severe and frequent sexual harassment which in turn prompts them to be more assertive (Gruber Bjorn, 1986).
Sharifah (2001) in her study found position and education level were important factors in adopting positive coping strategies amongst women who were sexually harassed. The most popular strategies used were sharing the information with trusted person and discussing with top management. Sharifah (2001) claimed that most of her respondents were from management level, therefore they could have higher understanding on exercising their rights as employees and at the same time closer to the top management as compared to the lower level employees. The same results were also found in Wan Azharis (1996) research which unrevealed that lower level employee would prefer to keep quiet rather than complain since they have fear of retaliation from the harasser.
Emotion-focused coping strategies
Problem-focused coping strategies
H1 Women who holds conservative gender-role attitudes would adopt emotion-focused coping strategies when encounter with sexual harassment.
H2 Women with feminist ideology, would adopt problem-focused coping strategies against sexual harassment.
H3 There is a relationship between demographic factors namely age, race, marital status, education level, position and duration in the company with the coping strategies against sexual harassment.
Section 1 focused on the demographic data of the respondents. The six variables are age, race, marital status, education level, position in the company and duration of service in the company.
Section 2 was made up of three statements 1) Women are considered as sex objects at working place
2)Women behave in a seductive manner at work will be rewarded more for that behavior than for competence
at work and 3) Sexual harassment at work reflects a power relationship, male over female to
These are 1) Wage-earning women should limit their employment to specific female jobs such as teachers, nurses and secretaries 2) In a work group, it is womans responsibility to make coffee or take notes at the meeting 3) It is a womans responsibility to prevent sexual harassment, 4) Women need to be blamed and it is their fault if sexual harassment occurs. Both independent variables were measured based on 5 point Likert Scale 1 being Strongly Disagree to 5 being Strongly Agree.
Section 4 contains six items to measure the types of coping strategies that would be adopted
(Folkman Lazarus, 1985 and Hippensteele, 1996) were measured based on 5 point Likert Scale
1 being Strongly Disagree to 5 being Strongly Agree. Items 1, 2, and 6 measure the emotion-focused coping
strategy, while the remaining items measure the problem-solving coping strategy.
Ill keep quiet and blame myself
Ill be patient and ignore the problem
Ill make a complaint through Grievance Procedure
Ill make a police complaint
Ill bring this matter to the court
Ill resign without taking any action
200 responses were returned and usable, a response rate 50 .
The majority of them (57.5) are within the age of 21 to 30 years old). In terms of racial distribution,
Malays were the majority (47.5), followed by Chinese (30), Indians (20) and other races (2.5).
In terms of highest level of education, 5.0 percent respondents are SRP / PMR / LCE holders. The majority of respondents (30.5) are SPM / MCE holders. Among the respondents, only 14 respondents highest levels of education are STPM (7.0). Diploma holders constitute 18.0 percent. Bachelor degree and Master degree holders constitute 29.5 percent and 10.0 percent respectively.
In term of position in company, most of the respondents were from supervisory category. They constitute 45.5 percent from 200 respondents. This is followed by non-supervisory category with 30.0 percent. 15 percent were production workers and 9.5 percent were from managerial category.
In terms of duration of service in the present organization, 20.5 percent of the respondents had less than 1 year of service, while 18.0 percent had 1 to 2 years of service in the present company. 33 respondents representing 16.5 percent had 2 to 3 years of service this is followed by 9.5 percent of respondents with 3 to 4 years of service. 10.5 percent of the respondents had 4 to 5 years of service, while majority of 25.0 percent had more than 5 years of service in present company.
. feminist ideology and gender-role beliefs have significant impact on emotion-focused coping strategy.
. feminist ideology and gender-role beliefs have no significant impact on problem-solving coping strategy.
age, marital status and duration of service are almost significant in influencing emotion-focused strategy that women would adopt if they are sexually harassed
age, race and position in the company are almost significant in influencing problem-solving coping strategy adopted by women if they are sexually harassed
Discussion and Conclusions
Feminist attitude was found to be a significant predictor of emotion-focused coping strategy. This study found that female employees who hold pro-feminist ideology will choose emotion-focused coping strategy if they encounter with sexual harassment. However, this finding found to be inconsistent with past researches that have been done internationally. International researchers such as Brooks and Perot (1991) Schneider (1982) and Jensen and Gutek (1982) found that women who have high feminist attitude would adopt problem-solving coping strategies if they encounter with sexual harassment. One of the possible reasons for this inconsistency could be the cultural difference among women in our country and women in the country the research done. Due to the differences in the environment and cultural beliefs, women in Malaysia prefer to be silent and ignore the sexual harassment problem although they have a high feminist element in them.
Gender-role beliefs is found to have significant impact on emotion-focused coping strategy. In other words, female employees in this study who hold high gender-role belief will use emotion-focused coping strategy if they are sexually harassed. This finding is supported by researches conducted by Brooks and Perot (1991) Fitzgerald (1988) and Gutek (1985).
They found that women who endorse gender-role beliefs generally respond less assertively to sexual harassment or choose emotion-focused coping strategy. In can be said that women in our society still hold the traditional cultural role for women as wife and mother and they believe that wage-earning women should limit their employment opportunities to specific female jobs.
Women with this kind of gender-based expectations in their work environment will blame themselves if sexual harassment occur and choose to keep quiet and ignore the problem.
Overall, the findings of this study show that women will choose emotion-focused or the passive type of coping strategies if they encounter sexual harassment.
The results of this study seem to suggest that women in this country are not playing an active role in preventing and eradicating sexual harassment. Therefore, they need to be encouraged to take problem-solving or the active type of strategies if they are sexually harassed.
One of the ways is by promoting the Code of Practice and Eradication of Sexual Harassment in workplace. This task can be taken by Human Resources Ministry and the Women and Family Development Ministry.
It is hoped that the findings of the study will help the ministries to decide whether there is a need to have a specific law on sexual harassment to educate, and address issues/consequences arising out of
47 Office Romance and Power
Co-workers believe that employees in relationships abuse their power to favour each other.
Higher risk of sexual harassment when relationship breaks off.