Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Once unnoticed and unreported, sexual harassment claims have risen dramatically within the last two decades. Although guidelines published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1980 provided a definition of sexual harassment, researchers continue to examine variables affecting individual perceptions of sexual harassment. Contextual factors impacting the labeling of sexual harassment include the type and severity of the harassment, the ambiguity of the sexually harassing behaviors, and gender differences in perceptions of sexual harassment. The present researcher examined the impact of employee performance and employment status on perceptions of sexual harassment. Results indicated that female participants were more likely than male participants to label behaviors as sexual harassment. There were no differences between perceptions of sexual harassment for employees with either good or poor performance records. However, participants were more likely to perceive the employee was the victim of sexual harassment when no employee performance information was presented than when either good or poor performance information was presented. Finally, employees currently employed by the organization were perceived to be victims of sexual harassment more often than employees who had been dismissed from the organization.


Industrial and Organizational Psychology