Sexual Harassment

Men and women in workplace power struggles


In the decades since women swept into the American work force, sexual harassment has continued to make disturbing, if sometimes titillating, headlines. But the classic scenario of bosses blackmailing subordinates for sex has steadily broadened. Legally defined sexual harassment now includes lascivious comments, off-color jokes and “leering,” murky areas that raise debates over freedom of speech. With employers being held responsible for sexual harassment on the job, many companies have adopted guidelines and grievance procedures. Still, courts are crowded with sexual harassment cases. In fact, the debate in Congress over the 1991 civil rights bill has turned partly on the issue of whether victims ought to collect damages when they successfully sue.

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