Date of Award

Spring 1994

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Bardwell, Rebecca

Second Advisor

Bradford, Patricia C.

Third Advisor

Fox, Robert A.


Sexual harassment is viewed as a serious problem by much of our society; however, it is also perceived by some as "just another feminist issue." This difference in perceptions and beliefs is precisely why this problem needs to be the focus of research, the attention of the popular press, and, most of all, a concentrated effort by organizations to prevent sexual harassment in the work place. Sexual harassment is against the law. It is a form of discrimination that has affected women in every type of environment for years, and most likely, centuries. The Supreme Court ruled in Harris vs. Forklift Systems (1993) that any behavior that makes it more difficult for one person to perform a job compared to another person is discriminatory. This study was motivated by the belief that organizations in general have not paid enough attention to the problem of sexual harassment. While recent lawsuits have been a significant motivator for some organizations to establish policies, there is still a lack of knowledge about the effects of sexual harassment on workers and the consequences that may result for the individual as well as for the organization. By showing that the reactions of and consequences to the targets of harassment have an impact on profitability due to losses in productivity, costs of turnover, and lost work days due to absenteeism, it is hoped that organizations will be even more motivated to take seriously reports of sexual harassment and respond in a fair and sensitive manner. By calling more attention to the existence of sexual harassment, it is hoped that all organizations will be reminded of their ethical obligation to provide a safe and comfortable working environment for all employees.



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