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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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Consensual Sex and the Limits of Harassment Law

Consensual Sex and the Limits of Harassment Law

(p.77) 6 Consensual Sex and the Limits of Harassment Law
Directions in Sexual Harassment Law

Carol Sanger

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses an enormous achievement of the campaign against the harassment of working women, which is the establishment of a set of facts about sex at work that had previously been denied, mocked, and misunderstood. It is now understood that sex can be unwelcome, that unwelcome overtures are neither harmless nor fun, and that consent to sex demanded on the job does not shift the behavior from the category of unwanted sex to the category of the welcome. On the other hand, one of the most ferocious complaints against the establishment of sexual harassment as a legal wrong is that, now, relationships at work are spoiled. Recently, new and more sophisticated critiques of harassment law have made their way into the debate—ones that do not deny the existence of harassing behavior but focus instead on its scope, and particularly its relation to sexual activity.

Keywords:   sex at work, unwelcome overtures, unwanted sex, sexual harassment, legal wrong, harassing behavior, sexual activity

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