chapter  10
22 Pages

Sexual Harassment Research in the United States

ByKimberly T. Schneider, John B. Pryor, Louise F. Fitzgerald

In the United States, the concept of workplace sexual harassment is considered a form of gender-based discrimination under federal law. Sexual harassment developed fi rst as a legal concept and subsequently as a concept empirically studied by social scientists. In 1980, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidelines that have become the cornerstone of legal and policy defi nitions of sexual harassment throughout the United States. These guidelines describe two general types of sexual harassment: (1) unwelcome sex-or gender-related behavior that creates a hostile environment and (2) quid pro quo behaviors, where the unwelcome behavior becomes a term or condition of employment or advancement. The EEOC Guidelines emphasize the importance of examining contextual factors in each case to determine whether sexual harassment has taken place. Many subsequent legal cases have since refi ned the legal understanding of sexual harassment and have specifi ed criteria indicating that the unwelcome

CONTENTS

What Is Sexual Harassment? ............................................................................. 245 Sexual Harassment from a Social Scientifi c Perspective ...................... 246

Social Antecedents of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace ........................250 Characteristics of Harassers and Harassing Behaviors ................................253