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29 Akron L. Rev. 269 (1995-1996)
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: A Primer

handle is hein.journals/aklr29 and id is 277 raw text is: SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE: A PRIMER'
Despite widespread publicity about the perils of sexual harassment,4
surveys demonstrate that many businesses operating in the United States have
yet to address the problem.5 Moreover, recent news reports indicate that
sexual harassment has reached the highest levels of management.6 Although
businesses know it exists, they appear unsure of what to do about it. As a
result, the specter of employer liability for sexual harassment continues to
loom over the workplace.7
Failure to adopt a pro-active and aggressive stance on this issue, how-
ever, can result not only in costly lawsuits, but also in a loss of employee
morale, decline in productivity, and an erosion of a company's public image.8
That businesses are still taking chances may reflect a failure to adequately
consider the risks.
This may prove costly because these risks have substantially increased
in recent years. In 1991, Congress amended Title VII to permit victims of
sexual harassment to recover damages (including punitive damages) under
1. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Cato Center for Applied Business
Research. We also thank Sara P. Biggers and Linda Haac for their assistance in writing this
2. Professor of Business Law, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina,
B.S. Pennsylvania State University, J.D. University of Pennsylvania, LL.M Harvard Law
3. Professor of Business Law, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina,
B.S. University of North Carolina, J.D. Yale Law School.
4. A search in the University of North Carolina Microfilm, Inc. database under sexual
harassment yielded more than 6500 records. This database indexes articles since 1989 from
thirty leading newspapers.
5. Pamela Kruger, See No Evil, WORKING WOMAN, June 1995, at 32-33 [hereinafter See No
Evil]; Ellyn E. Spranguns, The Cost of Sexual Harassment, 14 INC. 145 (1992).
6. It was widely reported that W.R. Grace & Co. had ousted its president and CEO, J.P.
Bolduc, based on five female employees' allegations of sexual harassment. Judith H.
Dobrzynski & Diana B. Henrigues, Grace Thrown Into Turmoil Over Sexual Harassment
Allegations, N.Y. TIMES, Mar. 31, 1995, at DI; Richard Gibson & Thomas Borton, W.R.
Grace Says Bolduc Resigned Because of Sex-Harassment Claim, WALL ST. J., Mar. 31, 1995,
at B4; John Greenwald, Sex, Lies, & W.R. Grace, TIME, Apr. 10, 1995, at 58.
7. According to one study, over one third of Fortune 500 companies have faced sexual
harassment suits in recent years. See No Evil, supra note 5, at 33.
8. Ronni Sandoff, Sexual Harassment in the Fortune 500, WORKING WOMAN, Dec. 1988, at

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