Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Case Study

Analyze the situation. Britt and Pam work in a mental health facility that provides inpatient and outpatient services. Although Britt and Pam were once colleague counselors, Britt was promoted a couple of years ago, making him Pam’s supervisor. In spite of the change in position, Pam and Britt remained friendly and occasionally had lunch together. One day, Britt comes up behind Pam while she is working at her desk. He begins massaging her shoulders, and she looks distressed. He also calls her ”sweetie” while giving her the massage. Pam doesn’t tell him to stop or express her discomfort with Britt’s massage.

Is this sexual harassment? If Britt really intends no harm or nothing sexual, does that change your opinion about whether it is or isn’t harassment? What do you think about Britt calling Pam ”sweetie”? Is it an example of sexual harassment? If Britt was still Pam’s colleague and not her supervisor, would his behavior be considered sexual harassment? What steps should Pam take in dealing with Britt’s behavior? If you observed the massage, what would you do? Explain. If you were another supervisor on Britt’s level, what would you do?