According to Statistics SA’s 2016 Demographic and Health Survey, one in five women over 18 have suffered a gender-based attack. (This category includes sexual harassment.) One of the most common places that this type of gender-based attack takes place is in the workplace. Very often, sexual harassment is a precursor to more violent attacks. This means that it is vital for employers to stop this in its tracks. But to stop this type of harassment, you need to know how to recognise it.
5 Types of Sexual Harassment
1. Physical Conduct
This type of sexual harassment ranges from touching to sexual assault and rape. It includes a strip search by, or in the presence of, the opposite sex.
2. Verbal Forms of Sexual Harassment
If sexual harassment takes a verbal form, the following are examples which fall into this category:
- Unwelcome innuendos,
- Suggestions and hints of a sexual nature,
- Sexual advances,
- Comments laden with sexual overtones, and
- Unwelcome whistling at a person or a group of people.
3. Non-Verbal Forms of Sexual Harassment
Non-verbal forms take the form of unwelcome gestures, indecent exposure, and the unwelcome display of sexually explicit pictures and objects.
4. Quid Pro Quo Harassment
In an employment relationship, an individual in a company influences, or attempts to influence, a process that is vital in another employee’s relationship with the company in exchange for sexual favours from the employee or job applicant. The former individuals could be an:
- Member of management, or
The processes influenced could be of the following nature:
- Salary increases
If favouritism occurs, a person who is in a position of authority rewards only those who respond to his/her sexual advances. Other deserving employees – who do not submit themselves to any sexual advances – are denied promotions, merit ratings or salary increases.
As can be seen from the above, sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue that can have very grave consequences. This means that you need to know everything that there is to know about it so that you can avoid this type of behaviour in your company. Global Business Solutions’ Sexual Harassment Workshop will ensure that you are up to speed with how to recognise and eliminate it. The next public workshop is happening in Durban on 8 September 2017. Follow this link for more information.