Harassment is a form of discrimination. It involves any unwanted physical or verbal behavior that offends or humiliates you. Generally, harassment is a behavior that persists over time. Serious one-time incidents can also sometimes be considered harassment.

Harassment covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behavior that disturbs or upsets, and it is characteristically repetitive. In the legal sense, it is behavior that appears to be disturbing or threatening. Sexual harassment refers to persistent and unwanted sexual advances, typically in the workplace, where the consequences of refusing are potentially very disadvantageous to the victim.

Types of Harassment

Quid Pro Quo Harassment. “Quid pro quo” is Latin for “something for something.” It is a trade. When the trade is an exchange involving race, sex, gender identity and expression, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, political affiliation, veteran status, disability, or genetic information, it is impermissible. Most people relate quid pro quo to only sexual harassment. However, it can cross into other forms of harassment as well.
Hostile Environment. A hostile work or learning environment is one in which the employer, an employee (administrative, faculty, staff), a student, a visitor, or a contractor, does or says something discriminatory that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or educational experience or creates an intimidating or offensive environment based on that individual’s race/ethnicity, color, sex, gender identity and expression, genetic information, religion, creed, national origin, age, sexual orientation, political affiliation, veteran status or disability. The hostile environment is determined by looking at all of the circumstances, including whether the alleged conduct is unwelcome and unsolicited, the frequency of the conduct, its severity, its pervasiveness, whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, and whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance or with a student’s academic progress and access to the university’s resources and opportunities.

Retaliation. Federal law, state law, and university policy prohibit retaliation against anyone who complains about harassment, is accused of harassment, or assists in an investigation. Any interference, coercion, restraint, or reprisal directed against any person opposing or complaining of harassment is prohibited and, if proven, subject to disciplinary action.

Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take the steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They can do so by providing sexual harassment training to their employees and by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains. This form of discrimination may be inadvertent or intentional, and it can be obvious or subtle; regardless, it is unacceptable at Appalachian and, in many cases against the law.

Unlawful Harassment. Some behaviors that might be considered harassment are not unlawful or impermissible.
Workplace Harassment. There are many different types of workplace harassment; it can be verbal or physical behaviors. Bullying at work, whether the behavior is being exhibited by a co-worker, supervisor, or someone from the upper management staff, can create a hostile, intimidating environment for anyone involved.

Pakistan’s The Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010.

Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act was passed in March 2010 for entire Pakistan. It makes sexual harassment of women in the workplace and in public spaces a criminal offense Objective. The objective of this act is to create a safe working environment for women, which is free from harassment, abuse, and intimidation to facilitate their right to work with dignity. It will also enable higher productivity and a better quality of life at work. This law is not only restricted to workplaces, it is applicable to all public spheres.

Sexual Harassment. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment that constitutes sexual harassment. 3 significant forms of sexual harassment in the workplace are:

Abuse of authority
Creating a hostile environment

Sexual harassment can take many forms. These include:

Unwelcomed sexual advances
Demanding sexual favors in exchange for job security
Verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature
Rumor spreading and malicious gossip in the workplace
Obstructing performance and/or advancement upon refusal to comply

Work Environment for Women in Pakistan

The work environment for women, in a male-dominated society like Pakistan, is often hostile and antagonistic hindering their contribution to their country’s development as well as their right to employment. Various studies have found that social constraints and an aggressive work environment discourage women from seeking employment. To encourage women to join the labor force the government has set a quota for women but often even the minimum quota of 10% remains unfilled. Though women have been working in senior positions and running businesses in the private sector, these have been few in number. However, in recent years, there has been a gradual increase in the number of women working in the government and the private sector despite the obstacles they face. Various forms of discrimination and harassment experienced by women are: At home: discriminating against and demeaning the girl child, deriding the woman working at home, not allowing women to make decisions, and being violent. On the streets: catcalling, touching, teasing, and intimidating. On public transportation: touching, pushing, and using vulgar language. In public places: staring, touching, intimidating, behaving aggressively, chasing, and being violent. At the workplace: leering, staring, making passes, discriminating, abusing authority for sexual favors, flirting, and inflicting violence. Just say NO to sexual harassment because —–The Law Protects YOU The law requires all public and private organizations to adopt an internal Code of Conduct aimed at establishing a safe working environment, free of intimidation and abuse, for all working women. This law obligates employers to set up an Inquiry Committee to investigate a harassment-related complaint. The Committee must have three members, at least one of whom has to be a woman. The Inquiry Committee shall:

Launch an investigation against the accused
Recommend the imposition of penalties if the accused is found guilty
Forward recommendation to the Competent Authority which will implement the decision

“Say No to Harassment”