Chapter 1

The Early History and Development of US Sexual Harassment Law

Chapter 1 examines activism, theory and legal developments relating to sexual harassment in the 1970s and 1980s.  It covers the early interpretation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the initial rejection of the notion that Title VII prohibits sexual harassment. It follows the shifting tide that resulted in the understanding that sexual harassment constitutes discrimination “because . . . of sex.”  It credits, in part, early feminist activists, lawyers, and scholars who facilitated changes in the law to address the plight of many female workers experiencing sexual harassment.

On this page, you will find archival materials from this period, as well as cases and secondary sources on the early history of the development of sexual harassment law and policy.


Cases
Continental Can Co., Inc. v. State, 297 N.W.2d 241 (Minn. 1980) was the first coworker harassment case brought by Willie ...
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Sandra G. Bundy v. Delbert Jackson, 641 F.2d 934 (D.C. Cir. 1981) was the first successful appellate court hostile environment ...
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Henson v. City of Dundee, 682 F.2d 897 (11th Cir. 1982) established the prima facie case for sexual harassment under Title ...
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In the first Supreme Court on sexual harassment, the Justices ruled in Meritor Saving Bank, FBS v. Vinson,  477 U.S ...
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https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/477/57/ ...
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Archival Materials
In 1977, Radical America had a special issue on sexual harassment, including two important essays: Linda Gordon, The Politics of ...
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Historical Scholarship
Carrie N. Baker, "The Emergence of Organized Feminist Resistance to Sexual  Harassment in the United States in the 1970s," Journal ...
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Reva B. Siegel, "A Short History of Sexual Harassment Law." In Directions in Sexual Harassment Law by Catharine MacKinnon and ...
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Further Resources
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