The Sanitized Workplace Revisited
Feminist and Queer Legal Theory: Intimate Encounters, Uncomfortable Conversations, Editors: Martha Albertson Fineman, Jack E. Jackson, Adam P. Romero (2009)
28 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2018 Last revised: 11 Jun 2018
Date Written: January 1, 2009
In this chapter, I show that the sexual model of sex harassment is also too broad, because the emphasis on sexual conduct has also encouraged companies to discipline, control, and try to root out a broad range of sexual expression that neither meets the legal definition of sex harassment nor threatens gender equality on the job. In addition to documenting the trend toward sanitization, I provide a theory of how and why this trend has come about. Libertarian critics claim that the threat of employer liability under Title VII, combined with an overly vague definition of harassment, gives employers an incentive to go overboard in regulating employee conduct. But this view fails to explain why employers are choosing to crack down on sexual conduct and not on equally serious non-sexual forms of harassment and discrimination for which they are also potentially liable.
Keywords: Workplace, Employment Law
JEL Classification: J00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation