Sexual harassment is a type of harassment technique that relates to a sexual nature and the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Harassers or victims may be of any gender. Laws surrounding sexual harassment generally do not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or minor isolated incidents—that is due to the fact that they do not impose a "general civility code". The legal and social understanding of sexual harassment, however, varies by culture. Sexual harassment by an employer is a form of illegal employment discrimination.
Rigorous survey research has identified common characteristics of sexual harassment. The Theresa Vince Inquest, the Gillian Hadley Inquest and the Lori Hxrassment Inquest looked at the tragic murders of these women — Vince and Dupont at the hands of their colleagues, and Court harassment in sexual view workplace who faced workplace harassment from her in-laws vjew was eventually murdered by her ex-husband. They must now act or face increasing risk of liability. This type of sexual harassment is difficult to document but still can significantly affect women's work and career paths. A study from the United Nations showed that
Asian beatiality. DEFINITIONS OF KEY TERMS
All of these forms of workplace harassment target various groups, including women, racial minorities, homosexuals, people with disabilities and immigrants. Today, experts call attention to the fact that those who suffer harassment still do not have equal access to the legal system. If someone continues to verbally harass you and does so in CCourt severe manner, you might have grounds for a complaint. Title VII was not meant to - - or can - - change this. HighlanderF. Lopez, A. Questions are being raised as to whether the leadership of these organizations and their Court harassment in sexual view workplace boards knew about the harassment, and if so, why appropriate action was not taken to stop it and prevent its recurrence. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. If the victim failed to complain or delayed in complaining, the investigation jarassment ascertain why. Harassment can be a form of employment discrimination under various federal, state and local laws. Those accused in these high-profile cases have come from media and entertainment, education, sports, government, finance, the arts, and other areas. Vinson, reported sexual harassment cases grew from 10 cases Court harassment in sexual view workplace registered by the EEOC per year before to case being reported in the subsequent following year. Another Sexually broken of physical harassment at work is workplace violence.
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- The short answer, as reflected in a decision issued by the Hon.
- Workplace harassment is the belittling or threatening behavior directed at an individual worker or a group of workers .
- The award capped a trial in which the former physician assistant at Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento alleged she filed multiple complaints to no avail during her two-year tenure.
Sexual harassment is a type of harassment technique that relates to a sexual nature and the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors.
Harassers or victims may be of any gender. Laws surrounding sexual harassment generally do not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or minor isolated incidents—that is due to the fact that they do not impose a "general civility code".
The legal and social understanding of sexual harassment, however, varies by culture. Sexual harassment by an employer is a form of illegal employment discrimination. For many businesses or organizations, preventing sexual harassment and defending employees from sexual harassment charges have become key goals of legal decision-making. The modern legal understanding of sexual harassment was first developed in the s, although related concepts have existed in many cultures. Although legal activist Catharine MacKinnon is sometimes credited with creating the laws surrounding sexual harassment in the United States with her book entitled Sexual Harassment of Working Women ,  the first known use of the term sexual harassment was in a report about discrimination called "Saturn's Rings" by Mary Rowe , Ph.
In the book In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution , journalist Susan Brownmiller quotes Cornell University activists who believed they had coined the term 'sexual harassment' in after being asked for help by Carmita Dickerson Wood , a year-old single mother who was being harassed by a faculty member at Cornell's Department of Nuclear Physics.
One of the first legal formulations of the concept of sexual harassment as consistent with sex discrimination and therefore prohibited behavior under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of appeared in the seminal book by Catharine MacKinnon  entitled "Sexual Harassment of Working Women". Sexual harassment first became codified in U. Many of the early women pursuing these cases were African American, often former civil rights activists who applied principles of civil rights to sex discrimination.
Williams v. Saxbe and Paulette L. Barnes, Appellant, v. Costle, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency determined it was sex discrimination to fire someone for refusing a supervisor's advances. Jackson was the first federal appeals court case to hold that workplace sexual harassment was employment discrimination.
Another pioneering legal case was Alexander v. Yale , which established that the sexual harassment of female students could be considered sex discrimination under Title IX , and was thus illegal. The term was largely unknown outside academic and legal circles until the early s when Anita Hill witnessed and testified against Supreme Court of the United States nominee Clarence Thomas.
Sexual harassment may occur in a variety of circumstances and in places as varied as factories, schools, colleges, the theater, and the music business. Harassment relationships are specified in many ways:. With the advent of the internet, social interactions, including sexual harassment, increasingly occur online, for example in video games or in chat rooms. The United States' Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC defines workplace sexual harassment as "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
In , 26, people in the US armed forces were assaulted. Child recruits under the age of 18 and children in cadet forces also face an elevated risk. In the UK, for example, hundreds of complaints of the sexual abuse of cadets have been recorded since Individuals detained by the military are also vulnerable to sexual harassment.
During the Iraq War , for example, personnel of the US army and US Central Intelligence Agency committed a number of human rights violations against detainees in the Abu Ghraib prison ,  including rape , sodomy , and other forms of sexual abuse.
Although the risk of sexual misconduct in the armed forces is widely acknowledged, personnel are frequently reluctant to report incidents, typically out of fear of reprisals, according to research in Australia, Canada, France, the UK, and the US. One of the difficulties in understanding sexual harassment is that it involves a range of behaviors. This can be related to difficulty classifying the situation or could be related to stress and humiliation experienced by the recipient.
Author Martha Langelan describes four different classes of harassers. Sexual harassment and assault may be prevented by secondary school ,  college,   and workplace education programs.
Many sororities and fraternities in the United States take preventative measures against hazing and hazing activities during the participants' pledging processes which may often include sexual harassment. Many Greek organizations and universities nationwide have anti-hazing policies that explicitly recognize various acts and examples of hazing, and offer preventative measures for such situations. The impact of sexual harassment can vary. Harnois and Bastos show an association between women's perceptions of workplace sexual harassment and self-reported physical health.
Sexual harassment, by definition, is unwanted and not to be tolerated. There are ways, however, for offended and injured people to overcome the resultant psychological effects, remain in or return to society, regain healthy feelings within personal relationships when they were affected by the outside relationship trauma, regain social approval, and recover the ability to concentrate and be productive in educational and work environments.
These include stress management and therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy ,  friends and family support, and advocacy. A study done by K. Yount found three dominant strategies developed by a sample of women coal miners to manage sexual harassment on the job: the "lady", the "flirt", and the "tomboy".
The "ladies" were typically the older women workers who tended to disengage from the men, kept their distance, avoided using profanity, avoided engaging in any behavior that might be interpreted as suggestive. They also tended to emphasize by their appearance and manners that they were ladies. The consequences for the "ladies" were that they were the targets of the least amount of come-ons, teasing and sexual harassment, but they also accepted the least prestigious and lowest-paid jobs.
As a defense mechanism, they pretended to be flattered when they were the targets of sexual comments. Consequently, they became perceived as the "embodiment of the female stereotype, The "tomboys" were generally single women, but were older than the "flirts".
They attempted to separate themselves from the female stereotype and focused on their status as coal miners and tried to develop a "thick skin". They responded to harassment with humor, comebacks, sexual talk of their own, or reciprocation.
As a result, they were often viewed as sluts or sexually promiscuous and as women who violated the sexual double standard. Consequently, they were subjected to intensified and increased harassment by some men. It was not clear whether the tomboy strategy resulted in better or worse job assignments. The findings of this study may be applicable to other work settings, including factories, restaurants, offices, and universities. The study concludes that individual strategies for coping with sexual harassment are not likely to be effective and may have unexpected negative consequences for the workplace and may even lead to increased sexual harassment.
Women who try to deal with sexual harassment on their own, regardless of what they do, seem to be in a no-win situation. Common psychological, academic, professional, financial, and social effects of sexual harassment and retaliation:. Some of the psychological and health effects that can occur in someone who has been sexually harassed as a result of stress and humiliation : depression ; anxiety ; panic attacks ; sleeplessness; nightmares ; shame ; guilt ; difficulty concentrating; headaches; fatigue ; loss of motivation; stomach problems; eating disorders such as weight loss or gain ; alcoholism ; feeling betrayed, violated, angry, violent towards the perpetrator, powerless or out of control; increased blood pressure; loss of confidence or self-esteem; withdrawal; isolation ; overall loss of trust in people; traumatic stress; post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD ; complex post-traumatic stress disorder ; suicidal thoughts or attempts, and suicide.
Retaliation and backlash against a victim are very common, particularly a complainant. Victims who speak out against sexual harassment are often labeled troublemakers who are on their own "power trips", or who are looking for attention.
Similar to cases of rape or sexual assault, the victim often becomes the accused, with their appearance, private life, and character likely to fall under intrusive scrutiny and attack. They may become the targets of mobbing or relational aggression. Women are not necessarily sympathetic to female complainants who have been sexually harassed. If the harasser was male, internalized sexism or jealousy over the sexual attention towards the victim may encourage some women to react with as much hostility towards the complainant as some male colleagues.
Retaliation has occurred when a sexual harassment victim suffers a negative action as a result of the harassment. Retaliation can even involve further sexual harassment, and also stalking and cyberstalking of the victim. Of the women who have approached her to share their own experiences of being sexually harassed by their teachers , feminist and writer Naomi Wolf wrote in I am ashamed of what I tell them: that they should indeed worry about making an accusation because what they fear is likely to come true.
Not one of the women I have heard from had an outcome that was not worse for her than silence. One, I recall, was drummed out of the school by peer pressure. Many faced bureaucratic stonewalling. Some women said they lost their academic status as golden girls overnight; grants dried up, letters of recommendation were no longer forthcoming.
No one was met with a coherent process that was not weighted against them. Usually, the key decision-makers in the college or university—especially if it was a private university—joined forces to, in effect, collude with the faculty member accused; to protect not him necessarily but the reputation of the university, and to keep information from surfacing in a way that could protect other women.
The goal seemed to be not to provide a balanced forum, but damage control. Another woman who was interviewed by sociologist Helen Watson said, "Facing up to the crime and having to deal with it in public is probably worse than suffering in silence.
I found it to be a lot worse than the harassment itself. Backlash stress is stress resulting from an uncertainty regarding changing norms for interacting with women in the workplace.
As a result, women are being handicapped by a lack of the necessary networking and mentorship. The investigation should be designed to obtain a prompt and thorough collection of the facts, an appropriate responsive action, and an expeditious report to the complainant that the investigation has been concluded, and, to the full extent appropriate, the action taken. When organizations do not take the respective satisfactory measures for properly investigating, stress and psychological counseling and guidance, and just deciding of the problem this could lead to:.
Studies show that organizational climate an organization's tolerance, policy, procedure etc. Another element which increases the risk for sexual harassment is the job's gender context having few women in the close working environment or practicing in a field which is atypical for women.
According to Dr. Many women prefer to make a complaint and to have the matter resolved within the workplace rather than to "air out the dirty laundry" with a public complaint and be seen as a traitor by colleagues, superiors and employers, adds Kamir.
It may include a range of actions from mild transgressions to sexual abuse or sexual assault. The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women classifies violence against women into three categories: that occurring in the family, that occurring within the general community, and that perpetrated or condoned by the State.
The term sexual harassment is used in defining violence occurring in the general community, which is defined as: "Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution.
Sexual harassment is subject to a directive in the European Union. In India, the case of Vishakha and others v State of Rajasthan in has been credited with establishing sexual harassment as illegal. In May , the European Union Council and Parliament amended a Council Directive on the equal treatment of men and women in employment to prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace, naming it a form of sex discrimination and violation of dignity.
This Directive required all Member States of the European Union to adopt laws on sexual harassment, or amend existing laws to comply with the Directive by October In , China added new provisions to the Law on Women's Right Protection to include sexual harassment. Sexual harassment was specifically criminalized for the first time in modern Egyptian history in June Sexual harassment remains legal in Kuwait  and Djibouti. While such conduct can be harassment of women by men, many laws around the world which prohibit sexual harassment recognize that both men and women may be harassers or victims of sexual harassment.
There are many similarities, and also important differences in laws and definitions used around the world. Sexual harassment is rife in Egypt.
Waxman June 26, The workplace violence perpetrated by co-workers tends to be less obvious. Finally, after a court finds a verdict in a civil action, it typically awards fees and costs to the prevailing party. That includes all settlements, not just related to sexual harassment, but also discrimination and other cases. The Commission recognizes, however, that men may also be victims and women may also be harassers. Georgetown Law Journal.
Court harassment in sexual view workplace. Read More From TIME
So, in its June 26, , rulings, the Supreme Court did attempt to clarify things. But, though the cases might have been thought to help victims move ahead, the decisions also contributed to a key reason why workplace sexual harassment lawsuits are still hard to file today. Today, experts call attention to the fact that those who suffer harassment still do not have equal access to the legal system. Write to Olivia B. Waxman at olivia. The U.
Supreme Court in Washington, D. By Olivia B. Waxman June 26, Related Stories. In his Admiralty Law column, James E. Mercante discusses some of the noteworthy fire cases litigated in admiralty. On paper, an expert may be incredibly impressive. But is that enough for one to prevail in a case focused on valuation? After 50 years of trying condemnation cases, Michael Rikon offers advice to expert witnesses on how to properly testify in court.
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Employer's Responses to Sexual Harassment | Center for Employment Equity | UMass Amherst
NCBI Bookshelf. This chapter reviews the information gathered through decades of sexual harassment research. It provides definitions of key terms that will be used throughout the report, establishing a common framework from the research literature and the law for discussing these issues.
In reviewing what sexual harassment research has learned over time, the chapter also examines the research methods for studying sexual harassment and the appropriate methods for conducting this research in a reliable way. The chapter provides information on the prevalence of sexual harassment and common characteristics of how sexual harassment is perpetrated and experienced across lines of industry, occupation, and social class.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when 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.
Sexual harassment was first recognized in cases in which women lost their jobs because they rejected sexual overtures from their employers e. Costle 1. Soon it was recognized in employment law that pervasive sexist behavior from coworkers can create odious conditions of employment—what became known as a hostile work environment —and also constitute illegal discrimination Farley ; MacKinnon ; Williams v. Saxbe 2. These two basic forms of sexual harassment, quid pro quo and hostile environment harassment, were summarized in guidelines issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in USEEOC Hostile work or educational environments can be created by behaviors such as addressing women in crude or objectifying terms, posting pornographic images in the office, and by making demeaning or derogatory statements about women, such as telling anti-female jokes.
Hostile environment harassment also encompasses unwanted sexual overtures such as exposing one's genitals, stroking and kissing someone, and pressuring a person for dates even if no quid pro quo is involved Bundy v.
Jackson ; 3 Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson 4. An important distinction between quid pro quo and hostile environment harassment is that the former usually involves a one-on-one relationship in which the perpetrator has control of employment- or educational-related rewards or punishments over the target. In contrast, the latter can involve many perpetrators and many targets. In the hostile environment form of sexual harassment, coworkers often exhibit a pattern of hostile sexist behavior toward multiple targets over an extended period of time Holland and Cortina For hostile sex-related or gender-related behavior to be considered illegal sexual harassment, it must be pervasive or severe enough to be judged as having had a negative impact upon the work or educational environment.
Therefore, isolated or single instances of such behavior typically qualify only when they are judged to be sufficiently severe. Legal scholars and judges continue to use the two subtype definitions of quid pro quo and hostile environment to define sexual harassment. Regarding sexual harassment, the focus of this report, this includes gender harassment , a term designed to emphasize that harmful or illegal sexual harassment does not have to be about sexual activity USEEOC n.
Sexual harassment constitutes discrimination because it is harmful and it is based on gender—it is not necessarily motivated by sexual desire nor does it need to involve sexual activity. Both legal doctrine and social science research recognize gender as encompassing both one's biological sex and gender-based stereotypes and expectations, such as heterosexuality and proper performance of gender roles. Sexual harassment in the form of gender harassment can be based on the violation of cultural gender stereotypes.
While a woman may be gender harassed for taking a job traditionally held by a man or in a traditionally male field. Subsequent sections of this report discuss gender harassment in greater detail. A three-part classification system divides sexual harassment into distinct but related categories: sexual coercion , unwanted sexual attention , and gender harassment see Figure ; Fitzgerald et al.
Sexual coercion entails sexual advances, and makes the conditions of employment or education, for students contingent upon sexual cooperation. Unwanted sexual attention also entails sexual advances, but it does not add professional rewards or threats to force compliance.
Gender harassment is further defined as two types: sexist hostility and crude harassment. The crude harassment form of gender harassment is defined as the use of sexually crude terms that denigrate people based on their gender e.
Both women and men can and do experience all three forms of sexual harassment, but some subgroups face higher rates than others. For example, women who are lesbian or bisexual Cortina et al. Interestingly, the motivation underlying sexual coercion and unwanted sexual attention behaviors appears different from the motivation underlying gender harassment.
Some researchers further define the verbal insults associated with gender harassment, along with accompanying nonverbal affronts, as microaggressions. This term can also be broken down into three categories: microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations Sue et al.
There is some concern that microaggression remains a poorly defined construct, with porous boundaries. Additionally, the use of the term micro is misleading, as it implies all these experiences are minor or imperceptible acts. Yet some microaggressions, such as referring to people by using offensive names, are obviously offensive and can be deeply damaging.
For these reasons, our committee chose to focus on incivility , a term in greater use in the workplace aggression literature. Lim and Cortina point out that if sexual harassment is tolerated in an organization or not seen as a deviant behavior, incidents of general incivility would be expected to be even less likely to receive attention from management. Based on these findings, it could be argued that generalized incivility should be a red flag for leadership or management in work and education environments, because when gender harassment occurs, it is virtually always in environments with high rates of uncivil conduct Cortina et al.
For example, it can include pornography being displayed in a common area or sexually abusive language being used publicly in the work or education environment Parker Ambient unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion refer to observed instances of unwanted sexual pursuit, targeted at a fellow employee.
In other words, one need not be personally targeted to feel the effects of sexual harassment much like second-hand smoke. Despite refined definitions and terms to describe sexual harassment and gender discrimination, documenting the degree of these behaviors in work and education environments remains challenging. This is in part because individuals experiencing these behaviors rarely label them as such. Sexual harassment a form of discrimination is composed of three categories of behavior: 1 gender harassment verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion, or second-class status about members of one gender , 2 unwanted sexual attention verbal or physical unwelcome sexual advances, which can include assault , and 3 sexual coercion when favorable professional or educational treatment is conditioned on sexual activity.
Harassing behavior can be either direct targeted at an individual or ambient a general level of sexual harassment in an environment. Box provides a quick review of the key terms introduced in this chapter. The goal of providing recommendations for preventing sexual harassment and mitigating its effects in academic science, engineering, and medicine requires evidence-based research.
Different studies have different strengths and weaknesses, and these should be kept in mind when reviewing their findings, particularly if leaders in academic institutions, legislators, and researchers hope to design meaningful and effective interventions and policies. Important findings have also emerged using in-depth interviews, case studies, sociolegal analyses, and other methods.
When conducting or reviewing research examining sexual harassment, it is crucial that the methods used to conduct the research match the goals for the research. It is crucial to note that the prevalence of sexual harassment in a population is best estimated using representative surveys and not by relying on the invariably lower number of official reports of sexual harassment made to an organization see the discussion in Chapter 4 about how rare it is for women to formally report their experience.
The next sections discuss these various research methods and the kind of information they provide. Surveys, containing well-validated instruments, can be useful in estimating the prevalence how common sexual harassment experiences or behaviors are among people in a given population and determining correlates, antecedents, outcomes, and factors that attenuate or amplify outcomes from sexual harassment.
For instance, they can assess links between harassment and different aspects of targets' well-being, targets' understanding of the resources available to them, and the strategies they use to cope. Basing a survey on a defined population accessible from a comprehensive list, or sample frame, can be helpful. Sometimes, too, using multiple instruments and data sources can be a highly effective approach. Though surveys have often focused on the targets of sexually harassing behavior e. Conducting surveys on sexual harassment is challenging, but fortunately researchers have addressed many of these challenges.
Those wishing to conduct a survey on sexual harassment ought to follow the scientific methods described below and the ethical and safety guidelines for this type of research WHO Poorly conducting surveys on sexual harassment is unethical because responding to the survey could needlessly retraumatize the respondent.
Additionally, the resulting inaccurate data from such a survey could be used to question the importance and legitimacy of such an important and sensitive topic WHO An initial challenge in conducting survey research on sexual harassment is that many women are not likely to label their experiences as sexual harassment. Regardless of whether women self-label their experiences as sexual harassment or not, they all have similar negative psychological and professional outcomes Magley, Hulin, et al.
The public consciousness of sexual harassment and specific sexually harassing behaviors. This labeling issue was first identified in research on rape and sexual violence. With extensive psychometric evidence supporting it, the SEQ has become the gold standard in the assessment of sexual harassment experiences in both work and school settings Cortina and Berdahl Unfortunately, some recent studies attempting to measure the prevalence of sexual harassment have not followed this good practice and are thus likely to have low prevalence rates, be missing data about those who have experienced gender harassment, and as a result be unreliable for evaluating the prevalence of sexual harassment.
Another hurdle faced by surveys on sexual harassment is that women who have experienced sexual harassment may be reluctant to respond to a survey on the topic or to admit being a target or victim because sexual harassment can be stigmatizing, humiliating, and traumatizing Greco, O'Boyle, and Walter ; Bumiller , To encourage open self-reports, it is important that survey responses are confidential, if not anonymous, and to reassure survey participants that this is the case.
Additionally, to help avoid a nonresponse bias i. In a meta-analytic review of the incidence of sexual harassment in the United States, Ilies and colleagues found that directly asking respondents whether they had experienced sexual harassment as opposed to using questionnaires that list behaviors that constitute sexual harassment led to substantially lower estimates of sexual harassment incidence.
When determining prevalence estimates, attention must be given to minimizing nonresponse biases in the survey sample. Nonresponse biases include attitudes and other characteristics that disincline people from survey participation Krosnick et al. A reluctance to answer questions about sexually harassing experiences could represent a nonresponse bias.
While low response rates are not synonymous with low levels of nonresponse bias, generally low response rates should be interpreted with caution and will raise limitations on what conclusions can be drawn because of the representativeness of the survey sample Dillman, Smyth, and Christian ; Ilies et al.
Just as it is important to be cautious about deriving prevalence estimates from samples with lower response rates, researchers and leaders in academic institutions must also be judicious when deriving such estimates from nonprobability samples see Yeager, Krosnick, and Javitz  for a discussion of the problems with opt-in internet surveys.
A challenge for any survey that is particularly important for sexual harassment surveys is their ability to gather information about nonmajority members of a given workplace or campus.
Often women of color and sexual- and gender-minority women have been underrepresented among survey respondents, resulting in unreliable prevalence rates for these specific populations. Recent research is beginning to address this by looking at sexual harassment through the lens of intersectionality and by working to oversample these underrepresented populations when conducting surveys.
Convenience sampling in which participants are recruited from social media or specialized groups with a specific target group in mind and snowball sampling recruiting additional subjects by asking participants who else they know in their networks who would also know about the topic are useful means of recruiting hard-to-reach or underrepresented populations e.
These studies can yield critical insights, even though the samples cannot be considered representative of a particular population. A good example of this approach is the recent study about the experiences of women of color in the fields of astronomy and planetary science, identified via convenience sampling. When determining and comparing prevalence rates, it is important to distinguish the prevalence rates for women separate from men and not to rely on a combined prevalence for both genders.
Another methodological feature to be particularly attentive to when estimating and comparing prevalence rates is the time period respondents are asked about. In some studies, no time limit is given, while others may limit it to the last 12 or 24 months. However, after long enough periods, memory deterioration sets in, leaving behind only those sexual harassment experiences that left a lasting memory, and leaving out everyday sexist comments or ambient harassment.
Additionally, longer time periods can also introduce the risk that the incident could have occurred at a past environment, not the current one under investigation. Lastly, a key obstacle to obtaining accurate prevalence numbers across academia and between fields or workplaces is the number of surveys available that do not always use a standardized method for measuring or defining sexual harassment. Unfortunately, when institutions make their decisions about which survey or questions to use, they often do not seem to be aware of good practices in sexual harassment research or to have consulted with a sexual harassment researcher, because different methodologies and measurement approaches have been used Wood et al.
The largest concern when comparing prevalence rates is differences in how sexual harassment is defined in the survey and during the analysis of the responses.
In other words, the direct query method gives an estimate of prevalence based on the respondent's perception, while the behavioral experiences method estimates the extent to which potentially harassing incidents happen in an organization. This research also demonstrates that these differences were not due to differences in work environments or to sampling method Ilies et al.
Another way that information has been gathered about sexual harassment has been through laboratory experiments, in which researchers examine the occurrence of sexually harassing behaviors by manipulating variables under controlled conditions. This approach, however, does not provide information on the prevalence of sexual harassment.