Research Handbook on Feminist Jurisprudence
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Research Handbook on Feminist Jurisprudence

Edited by Robin West and Cynthia G. Bowman

The Research Handbook on Feminist Jurisprudence surveys feminist theoretical understandings of law, including liberal and radical feminism, as well as socialist, relational, intersectional, post-modern, and pro-sex and queer feminist legal theories.
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Chapter 15: Sexual harassment law: an evolution in theory, scope and impact

Kimberly A. Yuracko


Legal recognition of sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination was the direct result of feminist activism and scholarship. Soon after Title VII was passed prohibiting sex discrimination in employment, feminists recognized that protecting women from sex discrimination only at the discrete moments that hiring or firing decisions were made missed the realities of women’s work lives and much of the mechanism of workplace gender oppression. It was for this reason that feminist scholars and activists set out to first name sexual harassment as a social phenomenon and then to explain why it should be viewed as a form of sex discrimination. This chapter examines the evolution of the theory and doctrine of sexual harassment law as well as exploring the impact that the cause of action has had on the American workplace.

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