Sociology Mind
2012. Vol.2, No.3, 289-292
Published Online July 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 289
Investigation and Analysis of Sexual Harassment in Corporate
Workplace of China
Xiaobing Zhang1, Zewei Zhang2
1Economics and Manageme nt S c ho ol , H ua iyin Institute of Technology, Huai’an, China
2Business Administ r ation School, Guizhou Insti tute of Finance and Economics, Guiyang, China
Email:, 84975463@
Received March 4th, 2012; revised April 5th, 2012; accepted May 12th, 2012
At present, sexual harassment in domestic workplace has a high probability of occurrence, which causes
more and more attention. In this paper, the form of sexual harassment in workplace, and how to solve the
sexual harassment were investigated and analyzed through questionnaires; and countermeasures and
management suggestions were put forward from three aspects of corporate, employees and family.
Keywords: Sexual Harassment; Workplace; Investigation; Suggestions; Countermeasures
With the development of economy, gradually diversification
and complication of social life, sexual harassment issues come
into play. Sexual harassment has caused more and more atten-
tion and reflection. For a long time, people’s understanding of
sexual harassment is still quite vague. From a global perspec-
tive, many countries have legislation to make clear that sexual
harassment is a crime, and various forms of severe punishment
will be used to punish people for his harassment. In our country,
so far, widespread sexual harassment in the workplace has be-
come a social problem of affecting the lives, work and health of
women, family stability, and social stability. Its high probabil-
ity of occurrence and the severity of harm are far more than the
imagination of people, so it is necessary to solve this problem
as soon as possible. According to a questionnaire survey of 600
people in Shenzhen in 2009, 32 percent of respondents said
they had been subjected to various forms of sexual harassment,
in which female victims accounted for 43% of the total number
of visits, male victims accounted for 19% of the total number of
visits. Sexual harassment in work environment in China is be-
coming a social problem, and in some corporate, this problem
has even reached a more serious level.
Literature Review
Sexual harassment is an exotic phrase, and known as sexual
harassment in western countries. Sexual harassment is first put
forward by American Women Jurists Catherine. She pointed
out that sexual harassment is the behavior doing unwelcome,
sex-related words, demands or actions to the woman, through
the abuse of power in the workplace, schools, hospitals or other
public areas, by bullying, intimidation, control means .
American College and University Personnel Association di-
vides sexual harassment in the workplace into four cases: sex-
ual harassment of the exchange of threatening, sexual harass-
ment of making the work that people feel threatened, hostile,
infringed, indirect sexual harassment and outsiders sexual har-
assment of providing special treatment to specific employees
providing sexual services.
In China, people have paid attention to and studied the prob-
lem of sexual harassment only in recent years. Sexual harass-
ment is a hidden phenomenon. For a long time, very little atten-
tion was paid to some problems of subjecting to sexual abuse in
different degrees in public place or work place. In comparison
with international, there is lack of scale survey of the status of
sexual harassment in China, but according to some local or
small-scale survey, phenomenon of sexual harassment in China
is increasingly common and growingly serious.
According to China’s recently published several research
shows that the serious state of such a problem in our country
has been catching up with trends overseas. In recent years,
many media have exposed a number of cases of sexual harass-
ment cases, for example, a female teacher is sexually harassed
by her boss, and the first case of sexual harassment in Xi’an
went against because of insufficient evidence! These events
cau sed m u c h at t e n t i o n to s e x ual h a r a s s m e nt i s sues (S h e n , 2004).
Most of the current sexual harassment is sexual harassment
in the workplace, and the type of sexual harassment produced
much more serious consequences than sexual harassment in the
public place. The consequences caused to the victims is not
only sustained mental anguish, but also a direct result of the
deterioration of working conditions, some of the victims are
forced to resign in order to avoid sexual harassment, resulting
in some economic loss (Wang, 1998). It can also lead to com-
panies reduce productivity, pay compensation or fines. It will
hinder the process of social equality, hinder productivity and
social development.
In the European Community, sexual harassment of working
women has been a serious problem. The survey of its members,
such as Germany, France, the Netherlands and Denmark shows
that sexual harassment at work is not an isolated phenomenon
of single woman, but to the millions of women throughout the
EC, sexual harassment has become an unpleasant unwanted
part in their career (Wang, 1998).
Investigation and Analysis of Sexual Harassment
in Corporate Workplace
Research Objects
The female employees of Nanjing Huahao Investment Co.,
Ltd. and Fidelity Life Insurance Co., Ltd. are chosen as re-
search objects, because Nanjing gathering companies is the
“high stress zone”, the powerful economic strength, a wealth of
information resources and the international status make people
can not help feeling the pressure. Many women drowned in the
environment, in order to live or achieve their ideal, often pay
more effort than men. However, women are low capacity,
strong hesitant, and more prone to psychological problems.
Many enterprises in Nanjing, many different people come here
to develop; each has different character and means of doing
things, so the findings would be more diverse.
The standard sample was selected as the research objects
with the method of random sampling, in order to narrow the
scope of the study, to reduce the difficulty of the work, I mainly
selected female employees of certain enterprises in Nanjing as
samples, the survey conditions are: 1) the ages from 21 to 50
years old, that is sexual harassment-prone age; 2) have work
experience of more than one year.
Research M e t h od s
This study combined literature review, surveys. 123 ques-
tionnaires were sent out from March 28, 2011 to April 15, 2011,
100 available questionnaires were retrieved, of which 42 were
sent out in writing by the author, the other 81 were sent out by
Research Process
In this study the questionnaire of previous international re-
search literature was used, and modified the initial scale by
interview, and then the modified scale was used to test the re-
spondents and reliability and validity of the test questionnaire
was analyzed, finally compiled into a formal questionnaire. The
questionnaire consists of two parts: background measurement
and measurement of corporate sexual harassment. Background
measurement part consists of gender, age, education, marital
status, the nature of the enterprises, monthly income, and the
nature of work and positions the eight items. The measurement
part of corporate sexual harassment consists of seven questions,
respectively put a question to the object of sexual harassment,
the subject of sexual harassment, measures the object of sexual
harassment may take to, the impact of sexual harassment on the
psychology of the object, methods should be given when
somebody suffered sexual harassment in the enterprise and how
to better promote prevention of sexual harassment and other
aspects of the question.
Research Re sults
The specific circumstance of the sample is shown in Table 1.
The results are that sexual harassment more prone to occur in
the place lack of system tradition and system protection.
Survey showed that verbal sexual harassment in the work
environment is the principal form of sexual harassment. Ac-
cording to Table 2 shows, women having experienced verbal or
attitude harassment in the corporate workplace accounted for
54% in this survey, the proportion is far higher than investiga-
tors initially expected.
According to Table 3 shows, survey also showed that require
the competent unit process and report to the police are the main
methods to deal with sexual harassment.
Table 1.
The situation of the formal investigation sample (100).
Variable Option No. of perso nPercentage
Male 0 0%
Gender Female 100 100%
21 - 30 40 40%
31 - 41 28 28%
41 - 50 27 27%
Above 50 5 5%
Under or eq u al to
secondary school 2 2%
Senior high school 12 12%
Junior college 36 36%
Regular college 50 50%
Single 72 72%
status Married 28 28%
Below 1000 y uan 9 9%
1000 - 3000 yuan 54 54%
3000 - 5000 yuan 25 25%
Above 500 0 yuan 12 12%
State-owne d company 1 1 11%
Private enterprise 52 52%
Foreign-capital enterprise 18 18%
Sino-foreign joint ventures 7 7%
Work unit
Institutions 12 12%
Production 4 4%
Sales 54 54%
Executive 23 23%
Management 19 19%
The nature
of the work
Project (including research
and exploitation) 0 0%
General manager 21 21%
Line manager 46 46%
Middle manager 16 16%
Senior manager 0 0%
Other 17 17%
Countermeasures and Management Suggestions
on Preventing and Solving Sexual Harassment
in the Workplace
Countermeasures and Management Suggestions on
Enterprise Preventing and Solving Sexual
Harassment in the Workplace
The Enterprise Should List the Related Content on
Prevention of Sexual Harassment in the Internal Rules
and Regulations
Enterprise, moreover, is the protector of workers’ legitimate
rights and interests. Business protecting the legal rights of
workers, the first performance is to respect and understanding
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Table 2.
Encountered which form of sexual harassment.
Option No. of person percentage
Verbal or attitu d e 54 54%
Physical behavior 20 20%
Exchange condition 8 8%
None 18 18%
Table 3.
How to deal with sexual harassment.
Countermeasures No. of person Percentage
Hit back harasser on the spot 4 4%
Curse harasse r on the spot 2 2%
Complain to family membe rs or friends18 18%
Require the competent unit process 27 27%
Report to the police 25 25%
Turn to private organization for h elp 13 13%
Tolerance 1 1%
Regard as noting 2 2%
Other 8 8%
the workers, followed is to achieve the specific labor rights of
workers. So companies in labor relations, bear an important
responsibility to protect basic human rights of workers. Sexual
harassment in enterprise workplace is against the sex right of
the workers, will cause the victims’ inner resentment and fear,
resulting in the exclusion of sexual object, the rights of victims
have been infringed seriously. Therefore, enterprises should
establish appropriate rules and regulations to protect workers’
basic rights, and create a harmonious, good working environ-
First, establish the related content of prevention sexual har-
assment in labor contracts. Employers are obligated to provide
a fair, safe, no harm good working environment and working
condition for workers. Second, establish disciplinary rules pro-
hibiting sexual harassment, make clear the appropriate penalties
of sexual harassment, and increase the punishment for sexual
harassment. Third, determine there are employees to investigate
and solve sexual harassment complaints in the specialized
agencies. Workers suffering sexual harassment, can complain
to the special department, and can require the perpetrator to
apologize, in serious cases may require compensation. Disci-
plined services departments should identify the truth of the
matter, and properly solve disputes between employees. On
sexual harassment disputes between employees can not be
solved on internal, victims should be informed to apply to de-
partments concerned, and should support the victims to protect
their legitimate rights and interests.
Enterprises Should Strengthen the Transparency of the
Whether sexual harassment in the workplace, or sexual har-
assment in public places, the perpetrator generally does not
want people to know, such behavior has a certain degree of
secrecy. Therefore, to reduce sexual harassment in the work-
place, the transparency of the work environment should be
strengthened. Business do not set too privacy space in the office
environment, try to take collective office or cubicle-like office
design, if they really need a separate office environment, can
take a transparent glass design, not to create the objective con-
ditions for sexual harassment. Try to avoid scheduling a man
and a woman in a separate office. When employees who have
been harassed required to exchange office or required addi-
tional staff in a separate place, the enterprise should give con-
siderable attention, do not say “no evidence” or “later” to dodge.
Qualified enterprises, under the premise of non-infringement
the privacy of workers, can also install monitoring equipment in
the workplace, which will play a role to avoid sexual harass-
Sexual harassment prevention education should be carried
out to staff. Companies should regularly or irregularly educate
and train staff by a variety of ways to prevent sexual harass-
ment, such as issuing manuals or posters, holding seminars, and
incorporating film, video and other information.
Establish the sexual harassment prevention agencies. The
agency’s duties include deal with staff grievances responsibility
and fairly; assess the effectiveness of sexual harassment policy
and implementation process; supervise employees behavior in
the workplace; pay close attention to the country legislation on
sexual harassment, adore new measures or recommendations
other organizations used in the prevention and treatment of
sexual harassment and collect sexual harassment cases within
and outside of organizations; improve continuously the preven-
tion mechanism of sexual harassment within the organization.
The Enterprise Should Establish the Equal Organizational
As long as there is inequality in society, anyone can become
the object of sexual harassment from the subject of sexual har-
assment, or vice versa. Therefore, to eradicate sexual harass-
ment, the key lies in creating an organizational culture with
peace and equality, to promote respect and the values of equal-
ity in the organization, in order to create a gender equality and
mutual respect working environment.
Countermeasures and Management Suggestions on
Employees Preventing and Solving Sexual
Harassment in the Workplace
For the workplace sexual harassment frequently occurs, en-
terprise employees should enhance self-protection, avoid be-
coming victims of sexual harassment. Firstly, we should pay
attention to our dress and behavior in the workplace. Dress in
the workplace should meet the needs of work and avoid wear-
ing too revealing clothes. Behavior in the workplace should be
generous, gestures should be consistent with our status, do not
play some excessive jokes with others, to avoid too frivolous
and impulsive behavior. Secondly, avoid to work overtime
alone with the opposite sex boss or people with sexual harass-
ment tendencies. Thirdly, sexual harassment occurring in his
body should be severely prevented. The harassment of people is
generally tentative for the first time, if the victims fear or com-
promise sexual harassment based on come consideration, it
would encourage the arrogance of the perpetrators of sexual
harassment, make themselves more and more disadvantageous
position, the result will be gradually increased harassment, is
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 291
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
illegal connivance, is not conducive to the prevention of sexual
harassment and attack. The victims should defend their legiti-
mate rights and interests consciously and courageously.
Major sexual harassment in the workplace is superiors sexu-
ally harass subordinates. Within the enterprise, the work and
quality of staff is mainly based on the evaluation of the boss, so
boss often sexually harass subordinates by it, and subordinates
often keep tolerant for such acts based on promotion or keeping
their jobs, but this will make perpetrator more reckless viola-
tions. To prevent sexual harassment fundamentally, the victims
must have the courage to fight against sexual harassment, to
protect their legitimate rights and interests. On the other hand,
compared with the harasser, the victims of sexual harassment
are often in a weak position, part of the victims will only yield
and obey in order to prevent future retaliation from harasser in
the sexual harassment. This is connivance and accommodation
to illegal behavior, which will make the perpetrator of sexual
harassment more furious, so when facing the sexual harassment,
the victims should eliminate the concerns, have the courage to
fight against the perpetrator, only in this way can they safe-
guard their legitimate rights and interests. Secondly, the victims
should actively collect evidence to prove sexual harassment
occurred. Most cases of sexual harassment occurred in the
much hidden places, usually only the perpetrator and the vic-
tims are on the spot, and thus lack of direct witnesses, which
make it essential that the victim must take the initiative to col-
lect and extract relevant evidence in order to safeguard their
legitimate rights and interests. The victims should use appro-
priate methods to obtain evidence, the documentary evidence
and physical evidence should be preserved as original as possi-
ble, the cell phone information and e-mail can also be retained
by technical means. For speech or action to sexual harassment,
in addition to resist openly and timely to access to the necessary
outside witnesses, the victims can also record the harasser's
behavior by a variety of secret fidelity audio and video equip-
ment. According to judicial interpretation issued by the Su-
preme Court, audio-visual information through photographing
and videotaping stealthily, only do not infringe the legal rights
of others or violate the law prohibitions, can be used as evi-
dence, which provide an important legal protection for the vic-
tims’ secret evidence. Thirdly, by a variety of ways to protect
their legitimate interests make the perpetrator of sexual harass-
ment deserve sanctions. The victims can report sexual harass-
ment to internal disciplinary departments, ask the appropriate
agencies of sexual harassment criticize and educate the perpe-
trator, to avoid the expansion of disputes, and strive to solve the
problem within the enterprise. Victims can Complain to the
labor administrative department, ask the labor administrative
department investigate the sexual harassment occurred within
the unit, not only make the perpetrator punished, but also make
employers bear the responsibility since the enterprise is inade-
quate to protect workers. This can reduce sexual harassment in
the workplace radically and improve working conditions, solve
the problem properly. For the more serious sexual harassment,
the victims can go directly to the people’s court to require the
perpetrator to bear the corresponding civil liability, the in-
fringer punished by law. In the lawsuit process, trade union
organization should support actions to help collect evidence, to
effectively protect the legitimate interests of employees.
Countermeasures and Management Suggestions on
Employees’ Families Preventing and Solving Sexual
Harassment in the Workplace
Help from family members plays an important role in the
prevention and resolution of sexual harassment in the work-
place. Family members should pay attention to employees’
dress in the usual, remind her dress decent in the workplace at
the appropriate time, not too exposed, or does not match with
the atmosphere of the workplace.
Through survey, the following conclusion is drawn. Sexual
harassment in corporate workplace has become increasingly
prominent. Verbal sexual harassment is becoming a common
way of harassment in the workplace; most women experiencing
sexual harassment in the workplace chose to require the com-
pany competent department or the police to solve.
Future research can expand the scope of sample selection
more widely, so that research findings are more comparable and
This paper is financially supported by The “QingLan Pro-
ject” of Jiangsu Department of Education of P. R. China.
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