The number of racial-ethnic minorities and of females entering the workforce has been increasing over the past couple of years making the United States workforce more diverse today than it ever has been (EEOC, 2005). The emerging diversity of today's organizations has stimulated challenges to be addressed, including social-sexual behaviors at work (e.g., sexual harassment), lack of appropriate mentors/mentoring, and gross inequitable compensation problems (Buchanan, 2005; Cleveland, Stockdale & Murphy, 2000). Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) along with the Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs; EEOC, 2007a) reported that 12,025 sexual harassment charges were filed in the year 2006. Not including cases that were litigated, organizations paid $48.8 million to victims of sexual harassment. Further, the EEOC does not report the demographics (i.e. race, ethnicity, national origin) of those who file a sexual harassment complaint or charge; therefore, it is difficult to know the extent to which racial-ethnic minority groups are encountering and reporting sexual harassment incidences at work. Thus, it is imperative that research on sexual harassment focus on the perspective of racial-ethnic minority groups in the workplace (Murrell & James, 2001).
This leads to the primary purpose of this paper, which was to examine variousracial-ethnic group differences pertaining to the perception, occurrence, acknowledgement, and measurement of sexual harassment. Specifically, this study investigated whether cultural differences at the individual level account for variation in the perception and acknowledgement of sexual harassment. Further, two sexual harassment measures (i.e., the ESH and the SEQ) were examined to determine their invariance, or lack of, to cultural differences.
Specifically, the SEQ was factor-analyzed to determine if a fourth dimension would emerge with the addition of five items asking about social-sexual behavior aimed at the respondents' race or ethnicity. The results did not support the four-factor model. The SEQ and the ESH were further examined to determine their relation to cultural variables such as individualism and power distance. The results did not support that either scale was influenced by the cultural variables; however, these results should be interpreted with caution for two reasons. First, the attempts to obtain a heterogeneous sample were not successful, and second, the scale used to measure individualism, the Behavioral Content of Self (Triandis, 1995), proved to be unreliable. However, further research is needed to continue expanding on the current literature concerning sexual harassment and its possible relationship to race-ethnicity and or culture.