Does it really help women to think of sexual harassment primarily as a legal issue?
High-profile sexual harassment suits, such as that of Paula Jones against President Clinton, are often life-changing events, with all parties coming away with careers, reputations, and lives profoundly affected. Women have long suffered on the job from sexual extortion, now called quid pro quo harassment, but today the controversy centers on "hostile environment" harassment. Every one has an opinion about it; managements spend more and more money training people not to do it; and still the suits strike like lightning-devastating and seemingly random. Women and men often feel polarized in the workplace by what they perceive to be general hostility couched in sexual terms.
What to Do When You Don't Want to Call the Cops questions establishment assumptions that women are, by definition, passive victims who require government help. It sees instead a period of transition toward a more balanced population of women in the workplace, with accompanying disruptions that can be minimized by understanding. Joan Kennedy Taylor presents what we know about the workplace and interviews managers, labor experts, and workers in such male-dominated fields as construction, engineering, business, and medicine to shed light on the male group culture that exists without women. She illustrates expressive behaviors that may be objectionable but are not sexual harassment and proposes specific strategies by which these objectionable behaviors can be countered, including a new feminist approach in company training programs. Taylor examines traditional and nontraditional workplaces, and female on male as well as male on male harassment, in order to apply these strategies to the entire picture.
Lively and anecdotal, Taylor's balanced, non-adversarial study fills an important gap by providing strategies for businesses and employees, as well as for those who find themselves the target of sexual harassment.