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Sexual Harassment Continues at Workplace

by Savitha C Muppala on September 13, 2010 at 4:43 PM
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 Sexual Harassment Continues at Workplace

Companies need to have better ways to control sexual harassment of female employees at the workplace as there are many men lurking in corporate environs with similar mental health problems as golfer Tiger Woods.

Australian Human Resources Institute national president Peter Wilson also said that an older generation of men who felt insecure around women at work was another cause for the spread of the "corporate cancer" of sexual harassment.

"There's a real malaise in companies - 'no complaint, no problem' is the standard we've set for sexual harassment," the Courier Mail quoted him as saying.

"We need a bit of shock therapy for a moral hazard that has been allowed to exist for too long," he stated.

Wilson said women made up only six percent of senior executive roles and eight percent of board positions, a statistic considered world's worst practice by the OECD, which compounded widespread bullying and harassment of women at work.

He said focus groups involving the human resource directors of more than 50 top Australian companies, employing 5000-20,000 staff, identified five key causes underlying the suppression of women's employment potential and their exposure to harassment.

These included a predominant male work culture which enabled men with sex addictions and other mental health problems; an older generation of men who felt insecure around women at work and an elite group of men who felt entitled to the top jobs.

"Complainants or potential complainants are telling HR directors of particular male colleagues who continue to loiter around them, who touch them or make ambiguous comments and who they think have a problem with sex," Wilson said.

Other causes were the failure of women to support one another in the workplace and the reluctance of victims of sexual harassment to make claims for fear of damaging their reputations or careers or because they lacked confidence in complaint processes in their organisation.

"The basic sexual harassment policies have let us down," Wilson said.

"CEOs need to make some high profile decisions to say to people that it's not acceptable because, at the moment, the men are circling the wagons," he added.

Wilson also said that board members of companies also needed to muster the "courage" to cull senior offenders from their ranks or face the risk of criminal and civil litigation.

Source: ANI

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