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Sexual Harassment Law: Has It Gone Too Far, or Has the Media

Title: Sexual Harassment Law: Has It Gone Too Far, or Has the Media

Link: pdf

Summary: 

Discusses false perceptions of “too much” sexual harassment law, and how the balance has shifted “too far” in employees’ favor.

 

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Between Scylla and Charybdis: the Perils of Reporting Sexual Harassment

Title: Between Scylla and Charybdis: the Perils of Reporting Sexual Harassment

Links: pdf

Summary: 

Judicial opinions on sexual harassment portray reporting as the only reasonable course of action for the woman who finds herself the target of sexual harassment in the workplace. The hazards of reporting rarely are discussed, because the law assumes that employers are objective, nondiscriminating entities that do not tolerate harassment in the workplace and that employers’ and victims’ interests coincide. Nothing is further from the truth. Reporting does not solve the harassment problem within an organization, because reporting is a solution to an individual problem. Harassment is not an individual problem; it is an organizational problem.

 

Reporting sexual harassment: Claims and remedies

Title: Reporting sexual harassment: Claims and remedies

Link: pdf

Summary: (abstract)

Sexual harassment has been documented as a widespread and damaging phenomenon yet the specific patterns of behaviour reported in alleged sexual harassment cases and the factors influencing the lodgement of formal, legal complaints have received little attention. This two-stage study explored 632 cases of sexual harassment reported to a community advocacy organisation in Queensland, Australia. Two kinds of sexual harassment are distinguished: quid pro quo harassment (an exchange for sexual favours) and hostile environment harassment (sustained unwelcome overtures). Only 10 per cent of specialised assistance cases involved quid pro quo harassment, with the remainder categorised as hostile environment claims, including sexual remarks, physical contact and sexual gestures. Organisational responses to many of the allegations of sexual harassment were inadequate. The seriousness of many claims was also concerning, although the gravity of the harassment was not closely linked with the likelihood of a complaint being formally lodged. Most cases in one of three state/Commonwealth commissions involved a conciliation conference and financial settlement, averaging A$5289. The study has implications for women’s equal opportunity. Among these, the study suggests that complaints encountered long delays and received small settlements incommensurate with harm. This suggestion recognises the needs to search for other solutions to sexual harassment.

There’s a Policy for That: a Comparison of the Organizational Culture of Workplaces Reporting Incidents of Sexual Harassment

Title: There’s a Policy for That: a Comparison of the Organizational Culture of Workplaces Reporting Incidents of Sexual Harassment

Link: pdf

Summary: (abstract)

It has been more than 25 years since the Equal Employment Opportunity  Council first published guidelines on sexual harassment. In response, many companies developed policies and procedures for dealing with harassment in their workplaces. The impact of sexual harassment policies on changing workplace culture has been met with mixed findings. The current study investigates the environmental differences or organizational cultures of companies holding formal sexual harassment policies using organizational level data (2002 National Organization Survey). Logistic regressions compared organizations with and without formal complaints on organizational structure, worker power, and interpersonal climate variables. Findings indicated the importance of negative interpersonal climate variables (threatening, bullying, and incivility) in differentiating companies who experience formal complaints of sexual harassment from those that do not.