(noun) An unwelcome act of a sexual nature.
Audio Pronunciation: (sex·ual ha·rass·ment)
Download Audio Pronunciation: sexual harassment.mp3
- Plural: sexual harassments
- The legal definition of sexual harassment various by jurisdiction but it is often hard to prove unless systematic and repeated.
- Sexual harassment in the workplace was formally recognized in the United States as violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the case Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986) when Teresa Harris filed suit against her former boss, Charles Hardy.
- “Opposite-sex interaction is more sexually charged, often resulting in an element of flirtation that is missing in same-sex interaction. Most of this casually flirtatious behavior is innocent enough and falls outside the realm of sexual harassment. The line is crossed when flirtatious behavior turns to unwelcome sexual advances that interfere with a person’s ability to perform a job and enjoy its benefits. Sexual harassment may include everything from blatant demands for sex, to subtler pressures regarding sexual activity, to panoply of behaviors that create a hostile workplace environment” (McNamee and Miller 2013:199).
- “Sexual harassment is not only an indicator of the continuing dominance of men in the workplace but a form of discrimination that jeopardizes women’s chances for occupational success and impinges upon their pursuit of the American Dream” (McNamee and Miller 2013:199).
- “The truth is many men and some women feel confused over what is now acceptable behavior. Many men feel like they’re ‘walking on eggshells’ around women at work; they’re terrified that a simple act of courtesy or a flattering compliment will get them hauled into court” (Kaufman and Kimmel 2011:63).
- Sex and Gender Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “sexual” and “harassment” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Babcock, Barbara Allen. 1996. Sex Discrimination and the Law: History, Practice, and Theory. Boston, MA: Little, Brown.
- Cushman, Clare. 2011. Supreme Court Decisions and Women’s Rights: Milestones to Equality. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.
- D’Emilio, John, William B. Turner, and Urvashi Vaid. 2000. Creating Change: Sexuality, Public Policy, and Civil Rights. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
- LeMoncheck, Linda, and James P. Sterba. 2001. Sexual Harassment: Issues and Answers. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Schneider, Elizabeth M., and Stephanie M. Wildman. 2011. Women and the Law Stories. New York: Foundation Press/Thomson Reuters.
- Schneir, Miriam. 1994. Feminism in Our Time: The Essential Writings, World War II to the Present. New York: Vintage Books.
- Vinciguerra, Marlisa. 1989. “The Aftermath of Meritor: A Search for Standards in the Law of Sexual Harassment.” The Yale Law Journal. 98(8): 1717-1738.
Kaufman, Michael, and Michael S. Kimmel. 2011. The Guy’s Guide to Feminism. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.
McNamee, Stephen J., and Robert K. Miller, Jr. 2013. The Meritocracy Myth. 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Tarrant, Shira. 2009. Men and Feminism. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.
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How to Cite the Definition of Sexual Harassment
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “sexual harassment.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved January 20, 2019 (http://sociologydictionary.org/sexual-harassment/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
sexual harassment. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from http://sociologydictionary.org/sexual-harassment/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “sexual harassment.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed January 20, 2019. http://sociologydictionary.org/sexual-harassment/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“sexual harassment.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 20 Jan. 2019. <http://sociologydictionary.org/sexual-harassment/>.