Sexual Harassment Rears its Ugly Head - New Claims against US Immigration Boss

Category: Harassment
Posted: 08-25-2012 09:15 PM
Views: 967
Synopsis:

Sexual harassment has once again reared its ugly head in the workplace.  Just today, it has been reported that three subordinate employees have accused a high level political appointee to the U.S. Immigrations and customs enforcement administration of sexual harassment.   This particular case raises an aspect of sexual harassment that is usually overlooked when we think of a perpetrator of harassment - the accused party is a woman and the three subordinate employees are male.

Sexual harassment has once again reared its ugly head in the workplace.  Just today, it has been reported that three subordinate employees have accused a high level political appointee to the U.S. Immigrations and customs enforcement administration of sexual harassment.   This particular case raises an aspect of sexual harassment that is usually overlooked when we think of a perpetrator of harassment - the accused party is a woman and the three subordinate employees are male. 

Sexual harassment in the workplace is not limited to just a male perpetrator and a female victim.  Most people don’t realize that quite often the accused party is female and this type of harassment is on the rise.  In this new case it appears that the harassment was hostile work environment harassment and not Quid Pro Quo.  There was no threat of demotion or promise of advancement by the accused, however she made the work environment for these employees a hostile one.  In one case, she remarked that a male subordinate was sexy and asked a question about his anatomy and in the other two cases she offered to perform a sex act for the male employees in question.  By the legal definition, these men were subjected to a hostile work environment by her actions.

The case always brings up another aspect of sexual harassment that is often overlooked.  Harassment can occur anywhere that an employee represents his or her organization.  The first incident occurred at a work party after hours.  (A common sexual harassment scenario)  The second and third incidents occurred on a work trip to Bogotá Columbia.  One of these incidents occurred over the phone from her hotel room.

Sexual harassment is as much about power as it is about sexual gratification.  This woman used her power to harass subordinate employees and thereby created a hostile workplace environment.   In addition, Quid Pro Quo Harassment is often implied in these situations.  Because the harasser was the boss, these men could have thought that their participation could result in negative or positive employee considerations.  

More than likely the result of this latest claim will be a large monetary settlement, the perpetrator will lose her job (and probably her career as well), the victims will suffer lingering emotional effects and the organization will suffer a loss of reputation.   All of these things can be avoided by taking sexual harassment training seriously.  

Make sure that your organization has the right attitude towards harassment by creating a zero tolerance policy and training every employee on a yearly basis.  This type of diligence will pay off in the long term.

Charlie Bentson King is a writer and VP of Content for TrainingABC.

Comments on Sexual Harassment Rears its Ugly Head - New Claims against US Immigration Boss



google-site-verification: google448d4e5a534bf25c.html