Law And Gender Essay, Research Paper
As in the rape cases previously studied, the victims that are involved sexual harassment and sexual discrimination are subjected to an array of defenses created by their employers. All to often these ?rational?explanations are under the guise of traditional gender ideologies, which attempt to explain ?natural? sexual behavior and/or ?natural? gender differences. As in the rape cases, the use of ridged gender roles often play a silent through critical role in shaping the court?s decisions on sexual discrimination and sexual harassment cases. As will be demonstrated in the cases of Lanigan vs. Bartlett, Smith v. Eastern Airlines Co., EEOC v. Sears and Chambers v. Omaha Girls Club, a traditional gender ideology denies equal opportunity by promoting an enviorment in which females are required to behave and dress under the guise of a stereotypical gender role. As a result of these certain expectations women are limitied in the upward mobility of their careers. For example, in the case of Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, Price was discriminated against because she was deemed as too aggressive, on the other hand, in the EEOC v. Sears case, women were seen as ?poor risks? as a result of not being aggressive enough. Secondly, in the case of Corne v. Bausch & Lomb, we have a case which attempts to measure the severity of the sexual harrasment. In other words, the court attempts to measure the severity of sexual harrasment by equating it to the loss of employment opportunites, hence, disregarding the horrific psychological damage occurred by sexual harrasment. Consequently, the emphasis of tangable losses such as employment opportunites strike a similar cord with those rape cases that emphasize the characteristics of a ?traditional? rape. In short, as in the cases of rape, the ideologies of a traditional gender role, not only promote these incendents of sexual harrasment and discrimination, but they also negatively affect the outcome of these cases by downplaying the severity of these occurances.
Through the critical anaysis of sexual harassment cases such as, Corne v. Bausch and Lomb, Inc. and others, it becomes apparent that the these cases attempt to measure the severity of sexual harrasment through ridged criteria which included tangable and monitary losses. Simliar to the rape cases, the court uses a ridged method inorder to determine weither or not the behavior can be labled as sexual harrasment. For example in the case of Doe v. R.R Donnelley & Sons Co, the plaintiff was subjected to unwelcomed hugs, kisses, patting on the breasts; however the court stated that the incidents ?did not rise to the level of actionable sexual harrasment?. Additionally, in the case of Corne v. Bausch and Lomb, Inc, Mr. Price?s conduct ?appears to be nothing more than a personal proclicity, peculiarity or mannerism?. These perivous two cases described are simiar to the case of Goldenberg v. Maryland, in which the case was dismissed because of it was not recognized as a ?traditional rape? because less force was used. Hence the cases of Corne v. Bausch and Lomb, Doe v. R.R. Donnelley & Sons and Co. and others, dismiss the fact that sexual conduct interferes with an individual?s work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. As in the case of Corne v. Bausch and Lomb, Inc, Price?s activites ?became so onerous that plaintiffs were forced to resign?. Conclusively, as a result of the court placing an emphasis on undisputable ?tangible and economic losses? they disregard the serious psychological harm that resutls from the offensive conduct.
Secondly, in the case of Laigan v. Bartlett and Smith v. Eastern Airlines, Inc, one encounters an employer who attempts to enforce a stereotypical gender role upon their employees. In the case of Lanigan v. Bartlett, the plaintiff was dimissed for falure to comply with the company?s dress code. The policy stated that women employees in the general offices were allowed to wear pantsuits; however, women employes in the executive office were not allowed to wear pantsuits. The plaintiff argued that not allowing women to wear pants perpetuates the sterotype that men are more capable than women of making business decisions. Although, the court stated that plantiff is unable to demonstrate how the defendant?s dress code polices ?impermissibly restrict equal emplyment opportunites and her contention that the polices perpetrate a sterotype is simply a matter of opinion? In my openion, the policy of Bartlett and Company Grain did in fact perpetuate a sterotype for the simple reasion that wearing traditional feminine attire is psychologically damaging because many women feel uncomfortable wearing skirts in a professional setting. Hence, an envoriment that promotes a stereotypical dress code not only perpetuates ?a sexist, chauvinistic attitude in employment? but rather requires a women to be viewed as sexual rather than being a credible employee. On the other hand, in the case of Smith v. Eastern Airlines, Inc., the plaintiff Mary Smith was denyed employment simply because she was a female whose height is 5 feet 11 inches. Furthermore, the height requriments for males was from 5 feet 7 inches to 6 feet 2 inches and he hight reqirment for females was from 5 feet 2 inches to 5 feet 9 inches. Aside from the hight requirement, it was necessary that the applicant must be ?attractive? and in good health. The plaintiff was not hired because she did not have the ?Miss America? look according to Ms. Straughm?aside from this Mary Smith was otherwise qualifed for the position. According to the court, there was no basis for discrimination. The problem with this case is that a femal of 5 feet 11 inches would be rejected whole a male of the same height would not be rejected. These ridged requirements of height and attractiveness, for a mostly female occupation, can be regarded as sex discrimination by requiring women to adhear to a strict standard which is not applicabale to men