Insights into Sexual Harassment of Salespeople by Customers: The Role of Gender and Customer Power

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1999


The legal and conceptual foundations of sexual harassment and the special case of third party harassment in which a salesperson is sexually harassed by a customer are discussed. The results of a study conducted among a diverse group of salespeople to determine incidence rates of sexual harassment by customers and the relationship between demographic variables, power and harassment are presented. Less severe forms of harassment are experienced more frequently by women than by men, while more severe forms of harassment tend to be associated with the salesperson's perceptions of the customer's power. Managerial implications and suggestions for lessening the incidence of sexual harassment are also presented.