Monday, December 8, 2014

The Origins of Sexual Harassment

There is a really interesting piece over at BusinessWeek which looks at the formation of sexual harassment as a cause of action. We too often take this cause of action for granted, and the history on this issue is extraordinarily rich and complex. The article looks at the impact of some of the early federal district court decisions on this cause of action, including Williams v. Saxbe.  The article also looks at where the term "sexual harassment" originated. From the article:

"In 1975, a trio of feminist activists in the Human Affairs program at Cornell University wrote a letter describing a painful and familiar story. . . They coined the term [“sexual harassment”] in a letter sent out seeking a lawyer to take [a] case. Finally, something that had been going on for as long as women had worked alongside men—the abuse of female employees by male bosses—had a name. And that meant it could be fought."

 This is a short but excellent article, and definitely worth at least a quick read.

- Joe Seiner

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