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Paper Presentation on Sexual and Racial Harrasement

Paper Presentation on Sexual and Racial Harrasement

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Published by: azhar on Dec 30, 2012
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Paper Presentation on Sexual and Racial Harrasement
Submitted By :Trupti Salunkhe and Pallavi Thakur(MMS 2
nd
Year)
Introduction of the Subject 
A few decades ago, the workplace was seen to be a space occupied largely by men. Over theyears, women have started entering the workforce in large numbers and are now seen in almostevery sector of the economy. With this, the composition of the workforce and the relateddynamics of the workplace have undergone a change, throwing up many issues that seem tolargely affect women. Studies reveal that sexual harassment is still endemic, often hidden andpresent in different forms within organisations. Very often, these forms of sexual harassment areso subtle and covert that women do not speak out about them, leading employers and others tobelieve that the issue is trivial, therefore does not have to be addressed in a systematic manner.This thinking is exacerbated by the fact that there is no awareness that sexual harassment has adeep, negative and long lasting, traumatic impact on women, both mentally, emotionally andphysically.Given the patriarchal structure of most societies, the issue of sexual harassment within theworkplace is an issue that needs to be highlighted and addressed highlighting the fact thatworkplaces should be conducive to the needs of both women and men. Today, sexual harassmentwithin the workplace is viewed as acts of violence against women as well as a a violation of human rights.
Why is it important to address the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace
Organisations are frequently of the opinion that there is no need to set up Committees to dealwith cases of sexual harassment, as there are no reported cases within their organisation.However, not having data on reported cases of sexual harassment, should in no way make oneassume that there have been no such incidents. Organisations should reflect on the fact that whilethere is a rise in the number of incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as anincrease in the national statistics of violence against women to and against this backdrop tofurther analyse why these happenings in society are not reflected in their organisation. If we saythat organisations are the microcosms of society and reflect what actually happens in society, theabsence of reported cases of sexual harassment goes against this analysis and logic, and points to
the fact that there is something amiss in the organisation’s data on this phenomenon.
What organisations need to consider is that if there is an absence of a mechanism to redress casesof sexual harassment, women are at a loss as to whom they should speak to in case they face aproblem. Moreover not having a committee in place points to the fact that the organization doesnot recognize or give priority to these issues
 – 
a clear message that such complaints are notentertained. Therefore, it is important to have a committee in place that gives clear directionsabout whom to approach in case of sexual harassment, the procedures that will be adopted, thelength of time for investigation, etc. It is now coming to the fore, that in the absence of formal
 
structures, women often hold back from sharing incidents about sexual harassment.The impact of sexual harassment is so strong that the victim refrains from reporting the case dueto the following reasons:
 
They are embarrassed and humiliated by the incident.
 
They fear the matter will be trivialised and disregarded.
 
There is a sense of insecurity that they will not be believed, as very often there is noproof of the incident.
 
They feel that no action will be taken and the perpetrator will be allowed to go free.
 
There is a fear from gossip and further humiliation.
 
They also fear negative repercussions and retaliation from the harasser or even theprincipal employer.
 
They fear being asked to leave or taking a transfer even if the harasser is found guilty.In short, women fear being made victims twice over if they raise their voices about sexualharassment, first by complaining and secondly when they are victimised for having complained.Employers should recognise that sexual harassment in the workplace takes away from thewoman her right to live and work with dignity. Often, these small and mundane instances take onaccumulative and enhanced patterns, permeating the entire lives of the affected women.It is therefore of crucial importance to define and label these behaviours as sexual harassment,thereby recognising that they do exist and have a negative impact on the environment of theworkplace. It is only by doing so will organisations/ individuals recognise that they are common
occurrences and important to address rather than trite and confined to ‘just a particular woman’and her ‘peculiarities’ (Wise and Stanely in Thomas and Kitzinger 1997:114).
 
RACIAL HARRASEMENT
Racial harassment occurs when a person or group repeatedly uses discriminatory remarks,behaviours or practices to show racial intolerance against a co-worker or their colour, descent,culture, language or religion.For example:
 
Making jokes, insinuations, humiliating comments or racially oriented remarks.
 
Criticizing and being intolerant in regards to the victim’s differences: his or her accent,
clothing, hairdo, customs and beliefs.
 
Acting seemingly disgusted or showing contempt in the victim’s presence.
 
Finding excuses for not working with the victim.
 
Stereotyping the victim with subordinate tasks or case-loads.
 
Trying to hinder or stop the victim’s chances for a promotion.
 
Showing comic strips, pictures or images that are racially degrading.
 
Warning! When joining a professional association or union, or when signing a contract, keep awatchful eye on discriminatory measures.
Consequences of Racial Harrasement
FOR THE VICTIMThe victim of racial harassment feels hurt, outraged and humiliated. He or she feels rejected,unable to function properly, be self-achieving and move forward because of invisible barriersraised against the victim at work 
.
FOR WITNESSES INSIDE THE ORGANIZATION
Racial harassment can deteriorate the work environment. The victim's colleagues may feeluneasy, tend to lose interest in their work, and do not seem as stimulated about going to work.When caused by a group of aggressors whose main goal is to make life unbearable for theirvictim, racial harassment may even lead to physical violence, hate and confrontation.
FOR THE ORGANIZATION
An organization faced with racial harassment may have to evaluate and review the corporatevalues that define its very identity. The company may have to examine its policies andprocedures, especially for recruitment, contracts and promotions. It may suffer losses in humanresources (dismissals, resignations, medical leaves), productivity and revenue. Corporations ororganizations that are partially responsible for such situations may also be subject to lawsuits,and their image and credibility may become tarnished.
Objective of the Study
To study sexual and racial harassment in legal point of view and to understand the steps taken bythe corporate to prevent such activities to give fair treatment to all employees
Research Methodology
The Data has been collected mainly from websites on Internet.
Limitations of the Study
Sexual and Racial harassment is very vast topic. To present it from all the aspect such aslegal,etical and social is very difficult within this short paper

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