Friday, June 15, 2012

Sexual Harassment v. Unwanted Attention

StopMarty Klein has posted an article at Psychology Today on Sexual Harassment—Or Unwanted Sexual Attention?.  It's worth a read.  Here's the takeaway:

Sexual Harassment law was never designed to protect women from merely feeling uncomfortable. In a typical workday, men and women alike face many sources of discomfort: atheists face clerks wearing crosses; able-bodied people face colleagues in wheelchairs; Fundamentalist Muslims and Jews face professors dressed with arms and legs uncovered; the infertile face coworkers’ desks with photos of their kids, and parents are given time off for parenting events such as piano recitals.

No, the law is designed to simply create a level playing field of opportunity—not of emotional experience. It doesn’t require anyone to be a mind-reader, it doesn’t undo the normal uncertainties of social interaction, and it doesn’t require anyone’s social skills to be smooth as silk. Occasionally feeling offended is still considered part of the cost of being out in the world.


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My opinion is that "atheists fact clerks wearing crosses" is going to sway many people regarding the opinion that sexual harassment law is not designed to create a level playing field of emotional experience. It brings up a situation that one will not take seriously. Perhaps a better way of putting it is that the law is intended to create a level playing field of opportunity - which among other issues prevents unfair differences in emotional experience. Certainly laws designed to prevent men or women from groping or physically touching inappropriate work colleagues that report to them is exactly designed to create a level playing field of emotional experience - all employees are entitled not to have to suffer sexual tenstion or discrimination in the workplace (and the effect is mainly emotional).

Abram Kreeger
Director of Marketing

Posted by: Abram | Jun 18, 2012 3:26:58 PM

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