Louise F. Fitzgerald is an able and thorough researcher who has carefully documented the unfortunate reality of sexual violence against women in the workplace that extends back to Colonial America.
Leaping forward in time, however, this researcher notes that under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 unwelcome sexual behavior in the workplace became theoretically illegal, but it was not until 1980 that a legal definition of sexual harassment came into existence.
It was the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that issued its now well-known guidelines outlining two broad classes of prohibited behavior:
"Attempt to extort sexual cooperation by means of subtle or explicit threats of job-related consequences (quid pro quo harassment) and pervasive sex-related verbal or physical conduct that is unwelcome or offensive (hostile environment) even absent tangible job consequences such as termination or loss of promotion (EEOC 1980)."
During my own research on childhood sexual abuse I found that much of this behavior toward children remained under-reported or unreported. It would seem that the same problem exists within the area of sexual violence against women in the workplace.
In the next addition more evidence will be introduced that not only suggests that sexual violence against women in the workplace is epidemic but that it is pandemic. This is a problem that employers must preemptively address through mandated sexual harassment training.
Next week…part III