This module will focus on the challenging legal, policy and organizational issues ingrained in various approaches to the pressing public problem of sexual harassment in the workplace and on campus, including examination of the structures and interventions – successful and not - that organizations have developed to respond to that policy environment in practice. The goal is to provide students with an understanding of what is considered “sexual harassment” in the law , what are the actual experiences and career effects on those who have experienced it, what organizational interventions and public policy tools have been used to address it, what the limitations of current approaches are, the difficult balance between competing public interests of combatting harassment and establishing systems that meet fairness and due process goals, and what avenues could be explored for strengthening and making more effective current systems.
This course is likely to be particularly beneficial to students who are interested in understanding and working to address sexual harassment prevention and response in the workplace and in higher education. (We will not cover this behavior from the criminal justice perspective in any depth) The class will look at the regulatory landscape ( Title VII, Title IX, other statutes, judicial interpretations), at organizational policies and interventions developed by employers and institutions for their own contexts, at the social science literature about the effect of harassment on labor participation and the effectiveness of interventions, and at emerging approaches, such as technological solutions and social movements like “MeToo”. The class readings and discussion will include both the benefits and limits of current approaches. The readings will include some international comparative perspectives but will be primarily U.S.-based.
Class will be discussion-based, including small group exercises in class. One pedagogic goal is to encourage students to think analytically and creatively about approaches to a current problem that has no clearly “right” policy answer.