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    Fear of flirting:
    harassment law resources

    (Also see separate pages for employment law, schools)



     
    Overlawyered.com commentary [through mid-June 2003. Items after that date collected here]:

    "'Prosecutor had ordeal as defendant'", May 14, 2003. 

    Sex abuse charges, 2003: "'Sex, God and Greed'", May 28; "'No Crueler Tyrannies'" (Dorothy Rabinowitz), May 8 (& Apr. 17, 2001). 2002: "'Reno owes the public answers'", May 7; "Updates" (rape shield laws), Jan. 9-10 (& more on Jovanovic case: Dec. 23-26, 1999).  2001: "Sued if you do dept.: co-worker's claim of rape", Nov. 7-8; "'Teen sex offenders face years of stigma'", Nov. 5; "'Crying wolf'", Oct. 30;  "'Proposed Law Would Consider Alcohol as Date-Rape Drug'" (Wisc.), Oct. 3-4. 2000: "Federal commerce power genuinely limited, Supreme Court rules" (strikes down VAWA's lawsuit provision), May 16 (and see Wendy Kaminer, Feb. 24); "Updating Jane Austen", Apr. 28-30; "Court rejects 'telephone sex slave' charge", Apr. 24; "Philadelphia: feminist groups to be consulted on whether to classify incidents as rape", Mar. 27 (and see Cathy Young, April 6); 1999: "Okay, we admit it: we admire these lawyers" (Wenatchee defenders), Sept. 4-6; "Personal hell", Jul. 31-Aug. 1. 

    "Employers liable for not filtering raunchy spam?", Apr. 10-13, 2003.

    Watch those emails: "Employers liable for not filtering raunchy spam?", Apr. 10-13, 2003; "Why we lose workplace privacy", Aug. 9, 2001; "Watch those fwds" (Dow Chemical fires employees for email use), Aug. 21-22, 2000; "Oops: D.A.'s and judge's fwding of sex pics deemed 'unfortunate event'", April 11; "Harassment-law roundup" (email-shredding software), Feb. 19-21; "Emails that ended 20 Times careers", Feb. 8-9, 2000; "Please -- there are terminals present" (Bloomberg censors its terminals), July 30, 1999. 

    "After failed workplace romance, a $1.3 million bill", Feb. 6-9, 2003.

    "Incoherence of sexual harassment law", Oct. 15, 2002.

    Sued either way: "Investigate, but gently", Sept. 25-26, 2002; "'Ex-Teach's Suit: Kids Abused Me'", Jun. 26-27, 2002; "Sued if you do dept.: co-worker's claim of rape", Nov. 7-8, 2001; "EEOC: unfiltered computers 'harass' librarians", Jun. 4, 2001; "Customer offense" (supermarket bagger with Tourette's), Jun. 9-11, 2000; "Columnist-fest" (Mona Charen on Mar. 10-12 story, below), Apr. 6; "Accused of harassment; wins $2 million from employer", Mar. 10-12 (& update Jun. 2, 2003: award reversed); "'Judgment reversed in Seinfeld case'", Feb. 26-27, 2000; "Employment-law retaliation: real frogs from 'totally bogus' gardens", Sept. 29, 1999

    "Banish those desk photos of spouse at beach", Aug. 29-Sept. 2, 2002. 

    "Clipboard-throwing manager = $30 million clipping for grocery chain", Apr. 19-21, 2002 (& update Jul. 26-28: damages cut to $8 million); "'$3 million awarded in harassment'" (Illinois police department), Dec. 19, 2001; "Fieger's firecrackers frequently fizzle" ($20 million harassment verdict against Chrysler), May 31, 2001; "The stuffed-grape-leaf standard" (feminist litigator asserts that $300K isn't that much money), August 14-15, 1999. 

    "'Surgeon halts operation over foreign nurses' poor English'" (U.K.: he's then threatened with disciplinary action for racism), Jul. 25, 2002. 

    "Catharine MacKinnon, call your office", May 16, 2002. 

    "An eggshell psyche at U.Va. Law", Apr. 8-9, 2002. 

    "Jail for schoolyard taunts?", Feb. 27-28, 2002; "'Boy faces jail for slapping girl's bottom'", Jan. 5-7, 2001; "Annals of zero tolerance" (six-year-old's "sexual harassment"), May 22, 2000. 

    "European workplace notes" (UK: harassment of dyslexic), Feb. 25-26, 2002. 

    "Firehouse blues" (girly mags, Alaska), Feb. 20-21, 2002. 

    "'Woman Wins Verdict, but no Money, Against Seagal'", Jan. 4-6, 2002. 

    Office dating, "love contracts": "Love contracts", Dec. 10, 2001; "Ask the experts (if that'll help)", Oct. 19, 2000; "Ministry of love-discouragement", May 3; "'Love contracts' spreading to U.K.", Dec. 31, 1999-Jan. 2, 2000; "Weekend reading: evergreens" ("love contract" for office romances), Dec. 3-5, 1999. 

    "Employee's right to jubilate over Sept. 11 attack", Oct. 9, 2001. 

    "'Lawsuit demands AOL stop anti-Islamic chat'", Sept. 3, 2001. 

    "'We often turn irresponsibility into legal actions against others'" (Robyn Blumner on U. of South Fla. art student harassment case), Aug. 13-14, 2001. 

    "Chandra, Monica, and sex-harass law", July 27-29, 2001. 

    "Spoof memo draws EEOC probe", June 26, 2001. 

    "'Hearsay harassment' not actionable", June 12, 2001. 

    "EEOC: unfiltered computers 'harass' librarians", June 4, 2001 (& see "Columnist-fest" (Wendy McElroy), June 22-24. 

    "Mistletoe dangerous even when absent", April 18, 2001. 

    "'2000's Ten Wackiest Employment Lawsuits'" (too much sex talk in sex shop), April 13-15, 2001. 

    "Appeals panel: schools' harassment rule unconstitutional", Feb. 27, 2001; "Weekend reading" (Supreme Court's invention of Title IX harassment law), August 21-22, 1999. 

    Business climate: "Why we lose workplace privacy", Aug. 9, 2001; "Ask the experts (if that'll help)", Oct. 19, 2000; "The scarlet %+#?*^)&!" (companies cut clients loose for profane language), March 7, 2000; "'Personally agree with' harassment policy -- or you're out the door", Sept. 22, 1999; "EEOC encourages anonymous harassment complaints", Sept. 3, 1999.

    Hate speech, hate crime laws: see free speech and media law page. 

    "Columnist-fest" (Sarah McCarthy on Paula Jones case), Nov. 14, 2000. 

    "Don't meet with her alone", Nov. 1, 2000. 

    "Ask the experts (if that'll help)", Oct. 19, 2000. 

    "White House pastry chef harassment suit", Sept. 18, 2000. 

    "Harassment law roundup" (Confederate flags on employee cars, Jeffrey Rosen book, Avis v. Aguilar, do-as-we-say case), Sept. 11, 2000. 

    "Embarrassing Lawsuit Hall of Fame" (Mass. agency finds flatulence not harassing), Aug. 14, 2000. 

    "From the U.K.: watch your language" (college, job bureau restrict use of "lady", "hardworking"), June 13, 2000. 

    "Victim of the century?" (principal collects disability benefits for sexual compulsion), June 2-4, 2000; "Doctor sues insurer, claims sex addiction", Oct. 13, 1999. 

    "What the French think of American harassment law", May 25, 2000. 

    "The four rules of sexual harassment controversies" (Claudia Kennedy case; female-on-male touching case; spanking initiation), May 15, 2000. 

    "Comment of the day", May 5-7, 2000; "Recommended reading" (Roland White in London Times on chill to office banter), Jan. 25, 2000. 

    "Harassment-law roundup" (bathroom graffiti; Boston bar owner's insensitive decorations; pin-ups and porn in police station), May 4, 2000. 

    "Book feature: 'The Kinder, Gentler Military'", April 3, 2000. 

    "The shame of the ACLU" (Aguilar v. Avis: ACLU intervenes on anti- free-speech side), Sept. 7, 1999; "Speech police go after opinion articles, editorial cartoons", August 28-29, 1999. 

    "Harassment-law roundup" (Internet startups vulnerable), May 4, 2000; "Dot-coms as perfect defendants", Jan. 17; "Harassment-law roundup" (Juno case), Feb. 19-21, 2000. 

    "Oops! Didn't mean nothing by that, ma'am" ("Hello, good looking" directed at harassment trainer), Dec. 21, 1999. 

    "Suppression of conversation vs. improvement of conversation", Nov. 12, 1999 (excerpts from Joan Kennedy Taylor book); "Risks of harm", Nov. 13-14, 1999; "Harassment-law roundup" (Taylor book discussed), Feb. 19-21, 2000. 

    "Courts actually begin to define 'harassment'; activists in shock", August 6, 1999. 

    "Please -- there are terminals present" (South Park on sexual harassment), July 30, 1999. 


    Articles by Overlawyered.com editor Walter Olson:

    "Title IX's Invisible Ink" (Supreme Court invents right to sue schools over student-on-student harassment), Reason, August/September 1999. 

    "A Legacy of Dirty Laundry" (brief contribution to symposium on harassment law), The Women's Quarterly, Winter 1999. 

    "Have the Harassment Rules Changed?", Wall Street Journal, April 6, 1998 (judge's dismissal of Paula Jones lawsuit). 

    "Punch the Clock, Sue the Boss", New York Times, March 20, 1998. 

    "Shut Up, They Explained" ("zero-tolerance"), Reason, June 1997. 

    "The Long Arm of Harassment Law", New York Times, July 7, 1996. 

    When Sensitivity Training Is the Law (Connecticut law requires training of managers), Wall Street Journal, January 20, 1993. 

    In addition, The Excuse Factory (1997) includes two chapters on harassment law, namely chapter 4 ("Fear of Flirting") and chapter 14 ("Workplace Cleansing").  Neither is online. 


    Other resources:

    Websites

    "Freedom of Speech vs. Workplace Harassment Law" (highly informative site maintained by Prof. Eugene Volokh, UCLA Law School) 

    Organizations

    Books

    The shelf of books critical of the overreach of harassment law got at least three important additions in 1999.  Daphne Patai of the University of Massachusetts, known already as a co-author of Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales From the Strange World of Women's Studies, published Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism.  Cathy Young, columnist for the Detroit News, published Ceasefire: Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality.  And Joan Kennedy Taylor, associated with the Cato Institute, published What to Do When You Don't Want to Call the Cops: Or a Non-Adversarial Approach to Sexual Harassment.  (Also see our editor's 1997 contribution, The Excuse Factory.) 
     


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