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Ethical Dilemma – Sexual Harassment

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The ethical dilemma that I will be discussing is sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment means any unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexually harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to verbal conduct such as suggestive or offensive comments, lewd remarks, or sexual propositions. Sexual harassment also includes non-verbal conduct such as derogatory or pornographic displays, or sexual gestures. Today, the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace is acknowledged as an occupational hazard and a violation of human rights. The stakeholders involved in sexual harassment in the workplace are the employees, customers, the organization itself, and the government. Some of the concerns of the stakeholders may include costly lawsuits, loss of employee morale, a hostile work environment, an erosion of a company’s public image, and a decline in productivity.

Greater informality in today’s workplace, widespread use of social media and basic human nature all contribute to keeping sexual harassment a major issue in the workplace (Greenwald, 2011). The issue has gained fresh attention with Herman Cain’s decision to suspend his presidential campaign amid allegations that included disclosure of two confidential agreements that settled sexual harassment charges while he was the president of the Washington-based National Restaurant Assn. (Greenwald, 2011). Last fall marked the 20th anniversary of Anita Hill’s testimony against Justice Clarence Thomas, which brought the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace to the forefront of the national dialogue. Since Hill’s testimony in 1991, businesses have tried to solve the issue by providing training, workshops, and seminars. To reduce the risk of sexual harassment, businesses are creating strong sexual harassment policies followed up with annual training for employees, supervisors, and managers.


Judy Greenwald. (December 11, 2011). Sexual harassment remains major workplace problem. In Business Insurance. Retrieved January 17, 2013, from http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20111211/NEWS07/312119984.

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