One of the most compelling cases of Sexual Harassment in the workplace is recorded in the book of Genesis Chapter 39.
Joseph was the servant of Potiphar who was the captain of the guard. Potiphar, by virtue of his position he was not a naive man. He knew human character and therefore found Joseph to be an exceptional man and placed him over his entire household.
Joseph was not only a highly competent business executive, he was also well-built or according to the Hebrew text "beautiful of form." Potiphar's wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he refused and he kept refusing her sexual advances.
Joseph, a servant, a very successful business executive, had to resist the sexual advances of a very powerful and unscrupolous woman. One day when all of the servants were not inside of the house Joseph went in to work and she caught him by his cloak. He left the cloak and ran out of the house.
Since he did not comply with her advances to lie with her she lied about him. She used her position, power, and fraudulent 'evidence' to destroy Joseph.
Consider how she, i.e. Potiphar's wife, violated California Sexual Harassment Law:
- "…and after a while his mater's wife took notice of him."
- Hostile Environment (or environmental) Harassment is unwelcome verbal physical, or visual conduct, which is: Sexual in nature…"
- "…and said,"come to bed with me!" This request occurred in the workplace and included work related activity.
- Offensive and/or intimidating to a reasonable person
- …Negatively affects job performance or causes tangible job detriment.
Potiphar's wife asked Joseph to have a sexual relationship day after day. Her conduct was severe, pervasive, and ongoing. Her conduct was not related to, nor necessary to perform work. It was also, "Offensive to others in the environment who witness or overheard the conduct."
Harassment is about impact, not intent. Joseph faced conduct that included:
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Requests for sexual favors
- Offensive language
- Suggestive looks
- Body language
The California Sexual Harassment laws were put in place in order to stop this type of abusive behavior in the workplace.
For more information on California Sexual Harassment Training, please contact (510) 558-3495.