There are a lot of reasons that sexual harassment happens in the workplace. Certainly, there are cases in which there is an element of attraction by one individual for another and they are actually seeking a relationship.
It is more common, however, for sexual harassment to occur for other reasons, where there is no relationship. In some cases, it seems that this has to do more with the perceived value of the workers within that workplace than anything else.
Creating a hierarchy
The goal, some believe, is to make victims of sexual harassment think that they are worth less than the perpetrators. It is still more common for the victim to be female.
As one report put it, female employees are often “led to believe that a certain amount of male domination and sexism is normal.” The report went on to note that this was often done in order to make the women feel like they were less valuable. They were expected to just accept the fact that men were in charge. Sexual harassment, then, is one way that men set up his hierarchy by showing that they are in charge.
None of this is spoken, in most cases. People know that they are not supposed to hold these beliefs or treat people differently based on their gender. But these underlying beliefs, where a male worker does believe he is more valuable, could lead to abuses of that position. Sexual harassment is just one example of these types of abuses.
It is very important for all employees who are being harassed or discriminated against on the job to understand all of the legal options at their disposal.