What we can learn from the evolution of sexual harassment law to address the power structures that benefit white men

We know that sexual harassment law has advanced workers' rights, especially for women. But what has it done — and not done — to move the needle for women? How is it enabling those writing the rules to keep themselves in power to cling onto the status quo?

Let's look to Yale Law School's Reva B. Siegel's short history of sexual harassment from her 2003 book Directions in Sexual Harassment Law to get a sense of what work was like before the Supreme Court interpreted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual harassment as discrimination based on sex in the late 1980s. With each step, we'll look at how the history gives us insights for the need for general workplace anti-abuse legislation, the Dignity At Work Act. Workplace abuse has a discriminatory impact on women, non-white workers, and low-wage workers.

The History of Sexual Harassment 

The Supreme Court's interpretation of sexual harassment as...

Continue Reading...

How we deal with the culture of abuse of power

We’ve all seen our Facebook feeds flood with #metoo after the Harvey Weinstein allegations spread, showing the sad culture of sexual harassment and sexual assault far too many women (and some men) have endured. It’s a culture most of these sufferers have had to tolerate to succeed “because this entire town [culture] is built on the ugly principals that Harvey takes to a horrific extreme,” says Krista Vernoff, who co-runs ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy (HollywoodReporter.com).

“If I didn’t work with people whose behavior I find reprehensible, I wouldn’t have a career…. We work within this culture so we can amass some power so we can have a voice. And those who don’t do that — those who shout and scream ‘this is not OK’ when they feel threatened or belittled (those women who DID speak out against Harvey BEFORE the New York Times piece) — they largely live on the fringes of...

Continue Reading...

Ending sexual harassment at work means ending workplace bullying, says LA Times

A major publication made the connection between sexual harassment and workplace bullying.

This article’s a big deal.

In the LA Times article “To end sexual harassment on the job, end workplace bullying,” Reporter David Lieberman says:

Legislators can do more to address the problem. They can make workplace bullying illegal. Too many corporate leaders find it expedient to look the other way when bosses — especially ones they deem indispensable — systematically intimidate and humiliate underlings. Bullies who believe that their whims matter more than other people’s dignity often don’t see why their sexual impulses shouldn’t be just as indulged.

Lieberman adds:

U.S. courts rarely sided with victims of bullying who sought relief under employment laws that already prohibit “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” Taking a page from the standards for a hostile work environment established under...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Find out more about workplace bullying

Subscribe to our blog to learn more about
how workplace bullying works and how to deal with it.