mandi1981@... asked this question on 5/2/2000:
Hi I was just wondering, If you have any info on behalf that there are some women who take things way out of proprotion. I am having to do a research paper on sexual harassment, and I am doing it over how some women take things for granted. How they turn a friendly touch into a sexual harassment law suit. I know there are women out there who are really sexually harassed but then there are those who see it as a power play. They know they have the law on their side and they take advantage. so if you have any info on that I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks
fastest222 gave this response on 5/3/2000:
I already answered this earlier today, but maybe it didn't go through.
you can go to www.findlaw.com and read case law. Another place to check out would be prairielaw.com... there are many employment attorneys that may have a reference for you. go to the employment law forum and post a question to them. In all the publications I read, I haven't seen any specifically address abuse of the law where SH is concerned.
I can give you my experience and opinion as a professional in management and HR issues.
Around 5-7 years ago, it was not commonplace to have a sexual harassment policy. It wasn't taken that seriously. Back then you could hear a dirty joke that offended you or hear the "F" word come out your a co-worker's mouth and it offended you, but you didn't complain or get medical treatment over it. Nowadays, it seems that people have been given the empowerment to control what they do not like in the workplace.
I shouldn't say control what they don't like. I should say they have recourse for offenses that take place in the workplace.
Then you come to those who would abuse for vengence or monetary gain. To be honest, I'd like to strangle them. They consist of both men & women. I find female management particularly vulnerable to SH charges. It is a hard place to be when your male subordinates do the "male thing". This activity is as normal as the day is long. They comment on your appearance (not supposed to), they ask you out for lunch (which should be harmless), they give you looks that can be construed in a personal manner (they shouldn't be doing that), and then when you write them up for an infraction, they have all of a sudden been sexually harassed. Because the fact that you respond favorably like saying "thanks... or thanks, I like your outfit too", can set up up for an SH suit.
Now, this can go both ways, female & male, but I'm pointing out that it is quite normal activity for men to do these little things in everyday life and depending what building you are standing in when you do it, it could be ILLEGAL. It makes it hard to portray a human side with the constraints these new laws have put you in.
Now, women are a different story. (in most cases). Most are not sure-footed enough to know how to handle these situations and end up accepting the lunch from the male boss or co-worker, it gets out of hand, they start to feel uncomfortable, but are confused because they have already voluntarily accepted these things and now they are looking for a way out. Onlookers might say she deserves whatever. She asked for the situation. But, not really... I look at it as she was being the average woman. Ready to please, never say no, be a part of the group, then doesn't know how to handle an accelerated situation, starts going mental about it. It affects her work and then it is time to call it SH.
Maybe the guy didn't mean to do it and it ought to be able to be handled at company level without the lawyers and the EEOC. But, so many companies get omigawd dollar signs in their eyes that they feel they have to start a campaign and damage the complainant. I call it the "cover the company's butt plan".
My point is some of the cases you, the outsider's view, can be miscontrued to be the girl that is taking advantage of the system and it's really not in many cases.
The ones that really are abuse of the system can be proved in court, I believe, but many companies are in need of saving "money and face", and they allow these people abuse the system.
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