Sexual Harassment: United States and Beyond

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Beginning in the 1970s, women filed lawsuits in U.S. federal courts arguing that unwanted sexual attention at workplace constituted a form of sex discrimination. After decades of judicial policy-making, the legal definition of sexual harassment remains ambiguous, and the process for offering relief to targets of harassment reflects employers' interests in addition to employee rights. At the same time, sociologists and psychologists have explored the causes of employee's experiences with sexual conduct in the workplace and its impact on the targets. Social scientists have also analyzed organizational responses to sexual harassment, research that raises questions about how legal rights ought best be protected. This article examines sexual harassment law in the United States, and then turns to the social science literature that documents the frequency of harassment, employees' understanding of their rights and their willingness to file claims, and concludes by considering evidence of 'sexual harassment in the workplace' (rather than 'at workplace').

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015


  • Employment discrimination
  • Gender and law
  • Grievance procedures
  • Hostile working environment
  • Organizations
  • Quid pro quo
  • Sex discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexuality and gender
  • Stereotypes
  • Work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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