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Harris v. Forklift Systems, Inc. (1993)

SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE

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Harrisv. Forklift Systems, Inc. (1993)

Sexualharassment in the work environment is a common phenomenon.Nevertheless, in most cases, such occurrences go unreported. Inscenarios where the victims bring claims against their employers, thecharges do not prevail due to lack of clarity on what constitutessexual harassment. is anexplicit example of a lawsuit that depicted the gravity of sexualharassment in organizations and how the legal system can deal withthe problem. The case involved Teresa Harris, a manager at ForkliftSystems Inc., an equipment rental firm. Teresa had worked for thecompany between April 1985 and October 1987. During her work period,Charles Hardy, the company’s president, regularly and openly madeoffensive remarks aimed at Harris and other female workers. Hardyspecifically commented that Harris was a ‘’dumb ass woman’’and articulated that she was ‘’ a woman who knows nothing.’’ He further claimed that the company needed a male rental manager.Hardy at times made comments that were sexually suggestive concerninghow she dressed and even asked her out to a restaurant in order tonegotiate her raise (Schultz and Vile, 2015). Teresa tolerated hermanager’s actions for a while but later complained. He responded byclaiming that he was only joking, and asked for forgiveness whilepromising not to repeat such an action. Interestingly, however,months later when Harris was preparing a business deal with one ofthe customers, Hardy questioned her, ‘’ what did you do, promisethe guy……. Some sex on Saturday night?’’ She then decided toresign and filed a suit against the company (Schultzand Vile, 2015). In the final verdict, the Supreme Court strongly sanctioned therights of victims of sexual harassment to bring claims against theiremployers by clarifying and reaffirming the standards that arerequired for such cases to prevail. The case came up withclarification on the meaning of sexual harassment under Title VII ofthe Civil Rights Act 1964(Cullen-DuPont, 2014).

References

Cullen-DuPont,K. (2014).Encyclopediaof Women`s History in America.Infobase Publishing.

Schultz,D and Vile, R. (2015).TheEncyclopedia of Civil Liberties in America.Routledge.