Level of Sexual Harassment

Discuss 1.2: Sexual Harassment?


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The following five cases have been prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). Each represents a possible quid pro quo or hostile work environment level of sexual harassment. Review the cases and then share with your fellow learners whether any should be interpreted as sexual harassment.
An older female works as a cashier at a gas station/garage. The mechanics are male, and most are younger than she is. While the men never make comments to her, she has overheard them making comments about attractive female customers who bring in their cars for repair. There are also several calendars in the shop area showing women in bikinis.
A male boss asks a female subordinate to travel with him on a personal business trip. There appears to her to be no real business need for her to travel. In order to save money, the trip will require them to stay over on a Saturday night. She refuses, because she feels it is inappropriate. On her next performance evaluation, she receives a much lower rating than she expected.
Ninth-graders at a local middle school (both male and female) tease a classmate because she has a reputation for dating older boys. They call her names such as bitch and tramp. She becomes depressed by the teasing and her schoolwork suffers.
A female supervisor asks a male subordinate out on three occasions. Each time, he refuses but appears pleased that she has asked him. On the fourth occasion, she warns him that the next time she asks him out, he had “better play ball or else.” He is now concerned because he needs his job very badly.
A male supervisor frequently goes out to lunch with his male subordinates. His female subordinates are rarely asked. He also plays basketball on weekends with several of the other males. He appears to treat both males and females equally in discussions, but everyone in the office is aware that he always gives better work assignments and higher raises to the male subordinates.


Fitzgerald, L.F., Drasgow, F., Hulin, C.L., Gelfand, M.J., & Magley, V.J. (1997). Antecedents and consequences of sexual harassment in organizations: A test of an integrated model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82, 578-589.

Fitzgerald, L.F., Hulin, C.L., & Drasgow, F. (1995). The antecedents and consequences of sexual harassment in organizations: An integrated model. In G. Keita & J. Hurrell, Jr. (Eds.). Job stress in a changing workforce: Investigating gender, diversity, and family issues (pp. 55-73). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Schneider, K. T., Swan, S., & Fitzgerald, L.F. (1997). Job-related and psychological effects of sexual harassment in the workplace: Empirical evidence from two organizations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82, 401-415.

Stockdale, J.S. (1996). Sexual harassment in the workplace: Perspectives, frontiers, and response strategies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Time, Inc. (1998, March 23). Sex and the law. Time, 151(11). For more information on Level of Sexual Harassment see this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_harassment

Level of Sexual Harassment

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