Sexual Harassment
The multimillion-dollar awards made by juries in sexual harassment cases suggests
that people are overreacting to the problem, and lawyers are taking advantage of these profitable
cases (Glazer). Sexual harassment is hard to define, easy to allege, and very costly to wealthy
companies. Many people allege that they have been sexually harassed, but where is the line drawn
in a changing society with morals differing from person to person. What’s offensive to one is
totally acceptable to another. On the other hand, many people look for the slightest excuse in
order to accuse someone of sexual harassment and cash in on this lucrative tort.
The fear of saying or doing something unintentionally, that someone else may find
offensive is growing. Workers at a construction sight in Jacksonville were order to take down
pinups, some of nude woman, because the six females among the 846 skilled crafts employees
were offended by them (Tifft). A Wal-Mart worker won a $50 million award because she was
subjected to crude sexual jokes. Sexual harassment claims have increased since 1991 when Anita
Hill accused Clarence Thomas of improper sexual behavior (Glazer). The Clarence Thomas case
paved the way for future cases similar to that one, and while this helped draw a clear definition of
sexual harassment, and also showed men and woman that they don’t have to put up with it, it
damaged our law system more than help it. Millions of dollars, mostly coming from tax payers
pockets are used each year to bring these cases to trial, and most of them are exaggerated and
phony. The main problem with sexual harassment is that it is only a small infraction, not
punishable by jail, and most people are able to just walk away with a bruised reputation and a hole
in their pocket. If sexual harassment were a more serious crime, and the consequences for
bringing false accusations more serious, the cases involved with this matter would more than
likely decrease. Another reason why many of these cases are brought up is the publicity. Even if
a person does not receive the money for the case they will have experienced more than their 15
minutes of fame, and totally humiliated the other person involved, whether innocent or guilty, and
sometimes that is the only purpose in bringing up the charges. Sexual harassment charges are
being misused.
Sexual harassment is defined as any kind of sexual behavior that is unwelcome
and/or inappropriate for the work place. Sexual harassment can embrace verbal harassment (i.e.
derogatory or comments or dirty jokes under the circumstances), visual harassment (i.e.
derogatory or embarrassing posters, cartoons, drawing, etc.), physical harassment, and sexual
favors (i.e. sexual advances, confrontation with sexual demands). It is also defined as any
“unwelcome sexual advances or conduct.” Sexual harassment also includes animosity that is
gender-based and a sexually charged work environment. In the work place, sexual harassment
can come from the owner, supervisor, manager, lead person, foreperson, co-worker and/or
customer. However, sexual harassment does not restrict itself to the work place. Sexual
harassment can come in many forms. Sexual harassment can also be found in many schools
(Eslamboly).
Sexual harassment is not legal under federal law. Title VII of the civil rights of 1964
strictly prohibits sexual harassment. Title VII classifies sexual harassment claims in two
categories “quid pro quo” and “hostile work environment.” Quid pro quo sexual harassment

takes place when a supervisor or someone with authority over your job demands sexual favors
from you in exchange for his/her assistance in promoting, hiring, or retaining you. the demand for
sexual favors can be expressed, e.g. “if you go to bed with me, I will make sure you keep your
job or get a raise”, or it can be implied from unwelcome physical conduct such as touching,
grabbing, or fondling. “As an employee, you have a right to work in an environment that is free of
ridicule, discrimination, intimidation, and insult.” A potential claim for hostile work environment
can be made if the sexual harassment unreasonably interferes with your work performance or
creates an offensive or intimidating work environment. In order to claim hostile work
environment, a person must be able to prove that there was more than a single incident of
harassment (Eslamboly).
Both the employer and the employees