Systemic Inequality and Workplace Culture: Challenging the Institutionalization of Sexual Harassment

3 Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal 249, 1995

23 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2013

See all articles by Colleen Sheppard

Colleen Sheppard

McGill University, Faculty of Law

Date Written: 1995

Abstract

In this article, Colleen Sheppard examines sexual harassment from a systemic perspective focusing on gender-based structural inequities in the workplace. While acknowledging the importance of the individual complaints process, she emphasizes that it often fails to address the systemic context of sexual harassment. The approach taken to individual complaints tends to reinforce the idea that the problem of sexual harassment is predominantly one of aberrant individual wrongdoing that is unrelated to systemic inequalities. Both substantive and procedural problems in the individual complaints process are identified and discussed. A more proactive and systemic approach to sexual harassment requires an understanding of how domination is embedded within organizational structures, practices and work cultures. The author discusses four interrelated systemic problems that contribute to the institutionalization of sexual harassment, including: isolation, the sexualization of traditionally female jobs, sexist supervisory structures and the deleterious effects of economic globalization on women's conditions of employment.

Keywords: sexual harrassment, systemic, gender-based structural inequities, workplace

Suggested Citation

Sheppard, Colleen, Systemic Inequality and Workplace Culture: Challenging the Institutionalization of Sexual Harassment (1995). 3 Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal 249, 1995. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2292131

Colleen Sheppard (Contact Author)

McGill University, Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec
Canada
514 398-5098 (Phone)

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