The Sexual Harassment Essay allegations filed by Professor Anita Hill againstClarence Thomas and the proceeding Senate Judiciary Hearing thrust the issue ofsexual harassment into the political arena, the workplace, and every day life. IntroductionSexual harassment is a very broad term and can be interpreted in avariety of ways.
The National Organization of Women (NOW) defines sexualharassment as “any repeated or unwarranted verbal or physical advance, sexuallyexplicit derogatory statement, or sexually discriminating acts made by someonein the workplace which is offensive or objectionable to the recipient or whichinterferes with the recipients job performance. ” (Redress for Success, page 74)Before 1972, there was no penalty for sexual harassment of women at theworkplace. Not until, that is, the Education Amendments of 1972 were enacted. Title IX of the Education Amendments states that “sexual harassment is a form ofsexual discrimination and is illegal. ” (What is Sexual Harassment?, page 20)After the Education Amendments were enacted, women began to see that the law wason their side and that it was designed to protect them. Women now saw that -Verbal harassment or abuse -Subtle pressure for sex -Unnecessary patting or pinching -Constant brushing against another employee’s body -Demands for sex accompanied by threats of termination -Demands for sex in return for preferential treatmentqualified as components of sexual harassment.Order now
(Redress for Success, page 75)Soon after that women began to realize that they could be sexually harassed byanybody, such as by employers, supervisors, co-workers, customers, or even bysubordinate employees. (Redress for Success, page 74) With this newunderstanding that they deserved equal treatment as their male counterparts,women began to hold men responsible for their actions and use the laws to theiradvantage. The sexual harassment allegations made by Anita Hill in 1991 werenot the first and were by far not the most controversial. May cases andhearings prior to the Clarence Thomas Hearing set the stage for the out break ofhysteria in 1991. Landmark Cases Back as far as 1975, women began to realize that men could not act asthey did and still stay within the perimeters of the law. The case of Monge v.
Beebe Rubber Company brought the issue of sexual discrimination out into theopen in late 1974. The circumstances were that Monge had been fired after hersupervisor demanded sex favors that Monge chose not to give. Monge wassubsequently fired and she sued for her job back. Previously similar cases hadbeen thrown out of court for lack of evidence (most sexual harassment cases areher word versus his). Also, before 1972 (the Education Amendments), there wasno legislation to back women up in their quest for social and economic equality. The Supreme Court ruled that Beebe Rubber Company was unlawful in firing Mongeand she was awarded her job back.
This sensational ruling set the stage for anoutburst of cases of similar circumstances. To further substantiate the newlyformed definition of sexual harassment, the ruling in the case Algermarle PaperCo. v. Moody stated that sexual harassment is only illegal if -Sex is a condition of employment -Submission or rejection to sexual suggestions affects decisionsconcerning the individual -When sexual advances hinder job performance or create an intimidatingenvironmentBased on these definitions, in the case Corne v. Bausch and Lomb, Inc. in 1975the Supreme Court ruled that if a supervisor sexually harasses a subordinateemployee, causing that individual to quit her job, that does not constitutesexual discrimination; he was merely satisfying a personal urge.
Along thesame line, the case Halpert v. Wetheim stated that the use of coarse languagethat was not directed at the plaintiff did not constitute sexual harassment. This ruling was reinforced in the Neeley v. American Fidelity Assurance Co,which specified that a supervisors conduct (telling dirty jokes, putting hishands on the employees shoulders) is an action of personal standing, not sexualharassment. In 1977, however, those rulings was overturned and Corne and Halpertwere compensated for their losses.
The case that overturned those rulings wasBarnes v. Costle, which ruled that if a woman was fired due to refusing tosubmit to sexual advances, that that was in violation of the Equal EmploymentOpportunity Act of 1972 and the employer who fired her in liable for his acts. Further advances in equality were achieved in the Marentette v. Michigan Host,Inc. decision, which stated that requiring provocative dress as a term foremployment violates Title VII of the Education Acts of 1972.The greatest preliminary .