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Directions in Sexual Harassment Law$
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Catharine A. MacKinnon and Reva B. Siegel

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300098006

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300098006.001.0001

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The Speech-ing of Sexual Harassment

The Speech-ing of Sexual Harassment

(p.347) 21 The Speech-ing of Sexual Harassment
Directions in Sexual Harassment Law

Frederick Schauer

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the involvement of words in sexual harassment. For the first fifteen years of the development of the sexual harassment law, the presence of speech in the harassing act, with only a very few exceptions, no more implicated the First Amendment's free speech clause than does the presence of speech in virtually every act of unlawful price-fixing, unlawful gambling, or unlawful securities fraud. In the past decade, however, it has become increasingly common, especially in popular and media discussion, to bring the First Amendment to bear whenever a claimed act of sexual harassment makes use of words or pictures. We now see First Amendment rhetoric marshaled to defend the very same harassing behavior that would not have generated any serious First Amendment responses ten years ago.

Keywords:   words, sexual harassment law, speech, First Amendment, free speech clause, media discussion, First Amendment rhetoric, harassing behavior

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