Friday, November 3, 2017
A Narrow Note On The Meaning Of Sexual Harassment
A question on the meaning of sexual harassment:
Here’s a typical definition of it plucked from no site in particular on the web:
.... Definition of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when either:
The conduct is made as a term or condition of an individual's employment, education, living environment or participation in a University community.
The acceptance or refusal of such conduct is used as the basis or a factor in decisions affecting an individual's employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University community.
The conduct unreasonably impacts an individual's employment or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for that individual's employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University community....
My question turns on the phrase “when either” in the third line of the definition and is, to be precise, why so limit it?
It’s a phrase of limitation, saying in effect the general opening definition ONLY occurs “when either....
I understand that in certain areas of the law “sexual harassment” is a term of art and it may be that the quoted definition, which doesn’t seem atypical of Internet definitions, at least from a quick search, tries to incorporate into a general definition those specific instances.
But I’d think an improved definition would omit “when either” and replace it with “examples of which include...”