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was also reported that women filed 83.7% of these claims. Damages that
were awarded based on claims other than litigation, totaled approxi-
mately $52.3 million.
Previous findings show that there are significant incentives for
employers to prevent sexual harassment of women in the workplace.
A history of legal decisions has also established sexual harassment of
women as a special form of discrimination under Title VII. When
employers are found guilty of sexual harassment or allowing it to happen,
they can be forced to pay substantial damages. Besides leading to the
imposition of legal and monetary penalties, sexual harassment of women
can also lead to lower productivity, absenteeism, employee turnover,
lower morale, and negative publicity for the company.
Piotrkowski (1998) and others reported that sexual harassment began
to be recognized as a serious problem as more women began to work
outside of the home. In a work setting the victim often has little control
and there is always the possibility of retaliation and fear of losing one's
livelihood. Workplace sexual harassment may also have special health con-
sequences for women that can be serious and qualify as a workplace
health and safety issue ( Bernstein, 1994 ).
MacKinnon (1979) noted that the nature of sexual harassment toward
women has been established for a long period of time as being directly
related to power and control. Sexual harassment in the workplace is often
the use of power directed towards a specific woman and can involve
unwanted sexual comments, seductive behavior, propositions, and pres-
sure for dates. Having power in the workplace can also take a more
harmful form through touching, sexual coercion, bribery, physical assault,
and sometimes even rape. In the case of a “hostile environment” sexual
harassment can involve jokes, taunts, and other sexually charged com-
ments. This is quite often viewed as acceptable demeaning behavior
toward women. Pornographic or sexually explicit posters and literature
and crude sexual gestures are also part of this environment. Gender sexual
harassment can involve sexual harassment in the form of remarks or
behavior that offends the dignity of women or men.
Case Example
On some occasions a claimant in sexual harassment cases will receive
large compensation for damages. A Labor Law Center blog reported that
top executives at a trucking company in Illinois “practiced sexual harass-
ment of
female employees
included inappropriate touching and
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