Sexual harassment is now understood as a social problem embedded in notions of intimidation and power between individuals in the workplace. These defining characteristics properly frame sexual harassment outside of any discussion of innocent misunderstanding, misplaced expressions of attraction, or simple gender differences.

In the earliest articulations of sexual harassment, before a definitive legal standard was set in the mid-1980s, incidents of sexual harassment were most often described in terms of the power differences attributed to males and females in the public sphere of the labor market as well as the domestic sphere of home and hearth. Within this theoretical frame, sexual harassment most often becomes an issue whenever a woman's work is adversely impacted by employers, co-workers, or even subordinates who inappropriately regard her as ...

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