Risky business: managing sexual harassment at work

Charlesworth, S 2002, 'Risky business: managing sexual harassment at work', Griffith Law Review, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 353-375.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Risky business: managing sexual harassment at work
Author(s) Charlesworth, S
Year 2002
Journal name Griffith Law Review
Volume number 11
Issue number 2
Start page 353
End page 375
Total pages 23
Publisher Griffith University, Griffith Law School, Socio-Legal Research Centre
Abstract The naming of 'sexual harassment' in anti-discrimination legislation was a significant victory for working women. In Australia, sexual harassment is now widely accepted as a gendered workplace harm, and most large workplaces have sexual harassment policies and grievance procedures in place. However, the level of formal complaints is persistently high and sexual harassment remains a contentious and difficult workplace issue. Drawing on a case study of the Australian banking industry, the paper explores how sexual harassment can be 'managed away' through the very workplace grievance processes put in place to address it. The article argues that, within complaint management processes, organisational and legal discourses intersect to individualise and decontextualise sexual harassment. In particular, the threat of vicarious liability and organisational concerns for risk management work to construct complainants as an organisational risk. They also work to construct sexual harassment, where it is conceded, as the aberrant or 'inappropriate' behaviour of an individual, rather than any systemic expression of gender inequality.
Copyright notice © 2002 Griffith University, Griffith Law School, Socio-Legal Research Centre
ISSN 1038-3441
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