Case Analysis Sexual Harassment Experience Your sister confides in you that she has been experiencing sexual harassment at work over the last 6 months.
She works as an associate in a Chicago law firm with more than 250 lawyers. She graduated from Harvard Law
School and has been with the firm for four years and earns over $190,000 a year. She is married and her partner is unemployed.
She has asked you not to tell her partner or your parents, so they will not become upset.
She works in the litigation department of the law firm, in a group headed by one of the firm’s most prominent partners, a man in his fifties. This partner began to make inappropriate advances six months earlier—asking her out for dates, rubbing her shoulders in her office, trying to kiss her, and arranging to have them travel together to conduct depositions and court appearances and then attempting to socialize with her after work. She has told the partner in no uncertain terms that she does not want to have a romantic relationship with him and that she will report him to firm management if he does not stop. She has kept contemporaneous records of this inappropriate behavior, which she has written down, mailed to herself, and kept the postmarked, unopened letters. She secretly recorded conversations with him in which he made inappropriate requests of a sexual nature.
She has learned informally that she may not be the only woman approached by this partner, and that some of the other women remain at the law firm and some have left the firm.
The firm has a clear policy against sexual harassment; has an anonymous complaint line that employees may use, which forwards complaints to the management committee of the firm on a confidential basis; and states in
its policy that employees with a complaint may bring it to the management committee of the firm. Her supervising partner is a member of the management committee.
You share with your sister that you have been reading materials in your sociology of law class on sexual harassment, workplace inequality, how anti-discrimination law works in practice, and best practices to eliminate workplace discrimination. The two of you come up with a list of possible actions she might take. These include:
1-Doing nothing and coping with it on her own.
2-Finding a job in another law firm.
3-Using the complaint hot-line at work to file a complaint.
4-Filing a complaint with the management committee of the firm.
5-Hiring a lawyer, filing a charge with the EEOC, and suing in federal court.
6-Organizing the women at the law firm to demand mandatory sexual harassment training for all
lawyers and staff of the law firm and to ask for an independent review of whether there has been
sexual harassment at the firm.
Using only materials we have read or discussed in class, what advice do you give your sister on
these six possible actions. You may advise her to pursue more than one option.
You may state additional facts that you think are relevant to your analysis.
In Rights on Trial, Berrey, Nelson, and Nielsen suggest that workplace discrimination law may
perpetuate inequality rather than help redress it. Based on the advice you gave to your sister,
do you agree or disagree with them? State your reasons.
Suggested length: 3-4 pages double-spaced. No cover page