Sexual harassment has been a reality in the workplace for a number of years. Occurring at any level of the organization, sexual harassment is costly, both financially - with employees claiming and being awarded vast sums of money by the courts or through arbitration, and in terms of loss of productivity. This study, which was conducted in the Public Service, investigates the link between sexual harassment and the well-being of employees, which for the purposes of this study is categorized into physical, psychological, behavioural and cognitive effects. Although it cannot be attributed solely to sexual harassment, a correlative relationship was found, with variables in all the said categories. Two hundred questionnaires were distributed; 146 were returned, and 32% of the respondents indicated that they had been sexual harassed. In terms of the profile of the victim and the harasser, it was found that most victims were between the ages of 26 and 44, below the level of Assistant-Director, with an even spread between those never married and those married. An interesting finding was that most of the victims were in possession of a university degree or diploma and had not been working in the Public Service for longer than five years. The harasser’s profile depicted a mostly male person who was married and between 35 and 44 years old. Only one third of the respondents admitted to having been sexually harassed, indicating that it did not seem to be a serious problem. It should be noted however that this might not be a true reflection of the current reality, as respondents may have remained silent for fear of reprisal and victimization, or might not have known that they had actually been sexually harassed. The occurrence of sexual harassment should not be trivialized or ignored. Although it would seem not to be an overwhelming problem at the time of this study, its mere existence is cause for concern and should be taken seriously by the employer.
Dissertation (MPhil (Labour Relations))--University of Pretoria, 2006.