Workplace Sexual Harassment

October 27, 2017 • Volume 27, Issue 38
Will the latest charges lead to a shift in corporate culture?
By Sharon O'Malley

Introduction

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein (Cover: Getty Images/Anadolu Agency/Mustafa Yalcin)
Movie producer Harvey Weinstein, recently accused of sexual harassment or assault by more than 60 women, joins a long list of media, high tech and other executives who have lost their jobs in the wake of similar allegations. The rash of charges prompted hundreds of thousands of women around the world to report — using the hashtag #MeToo — their own experiences of sexual harassment. (Cover: Getty Images/Anadolu Agency/Mustafa Yalcin)

Charges of workplace sexual harassment have exploded into the news in recent months as allegations by dozens of women have forced the resignations of such high-profile figures as Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, Fox TV host Bill O'Reilly and — in perhaps the most spectacular fall from grace — iconic Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Many observers believe the scandals, which involve accusations of harassment, sexual coercion and in some cases rape, mark a turning point in the decades-long battle to change corporate culture so that sexual harassment is no longer tolerated. Human resource managers are beginning to evaluate whether anti-sexual harassment programs might be more effective if they focused on teaching employees to avoid and respond to all types of inappropriate and uncivil behavior rather than simply on teaching them the technicalities of anti-harassment law. At the same time, however, businesses increasingly are requiring employees to sign arbitration agreements that forbid them from taking sexual harassment claims to court, a practice some women's rights advocates say helps perpetuate the behavior.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Women and Work
Oct. 27, 2017  Workplace Sexual Harassment
Jul. 26, 2013  Women and Work
Apr. 14, 2006  Future of Feminism
Apr. 04, 2003  Mothers' Movement
Sep. 25, 1992  Women in the Military
May 10, 1985  Women's Economic Equity
Jul. 10, 1981  Women in the Military
Mar. 20, 1981  Equal Pay Fight
Jul. 04, 1980  Women in the Executive Suite
Jul. 13, 1979  Two-Income Families
Feb. 18, 1977  Women in the Work Force
Feb. 13, 1957  Woman's Place in the Economy
Apr. 22, 1944  Women Workers After the War
Jan. 26, 1942  Women in War Work
Jul. 13, 1926  Sex Equality and Protective Laws
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Civil Rights and Civil Liberty Issues
Crime and Law Enforcement
Equal Employment Opportunity & Discrimination
Feminism
General Employment and Labor
Internet and Social Media
Journalism and the News
Radio and Television
Supreme Court History and Decisions
Women in the Workplace