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￿ The harasser may be completely unaware that his or her behavior is
offensive or constitutes sexual harassment or may be completely
unaware that his or her actions could be unlawful.
￿ The harassment may be a one-time occurrence but more often it has
a type of repetitiveness.
￿ Adverse effects on the target are common in the form of stress and social
withdrawal, sleep and eating difficulties, overall health impairment, etc.
￿ The victim and harasser can be of any gender.
Case Example
A letter was written by a prominent feminist lawyer who represented a
former corporate consultant. In 1998 the company agreed to pay $34
million to female workers at a plant where the work environment was
anything but normal. The company was charged with allowing a hostile
work environment for women since at least 1990. In addition to the $34
million, the company paid out several more million in individual suits.
“The women were routinely fondled, verbally abused, and subjected
to obscene jokes, behavior, and graffiti. One male worker even fired an
air gun between a female's legs. The abusive work environment caused
many women to quit. Others were simply denied promotions when they
refused to grant sexual favors.
“The silver lining in this cloud is that the company has impressively
cleaned up its tarnished reputation. The company immediately hired a
former Secretary of Labor. The former Secretary of Labor overhauled the
anti-sexual harassment and complaint system, which now boasts a zero
tolerance policy.” ( Legalzoom, 2012 )
Based upon an overall social or economic perspective, sexual harass-
ment deprives women of fair and active participation in the workplace.
Equally important, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost as a result of
sexual harassment that prevents educational and professional opportu-
nities for female workers ( Boland, 2002 ). Over time, numerous govern-
mental and legal attempts have been made to reduce the incidence of
sexual harassment of women in the workplace. The US Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (2012b) reported that
in 2011 a total of 11,364 sexual harassment claims were filed with the
EEOC, state agencies, and local Fair Employment Practices agencies. It
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