Meeting the Challenge of Sexual Harassment

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Meeting the Challenge of Sexual Harassment
At an office of Goldman, Sachs and Company in Boston, some male employees allegedly pasted photos of bare-breasted women on company newsletters, next to biographies of new female employees (suggesting that the photos were pictures of the new staff members). Copies of the newsletters were circulated around the office. Sexist literature such as “The Smart Man’s Creed or Why Beer Is Better Than Women” (“After you’ve had a beer, the bottle is still worth a dime”) was allegedly also distributed. Kristine Utley, a former Goldman sales associate, has made these allegations in a suit charging that the environment at Goldman, Sachs constitutes sexual harassment. Fired for refusing a transfer to a New York office, she is suing to gain reinstatement and damages and to eliminate the harassment. Joanne Barbetta has filed a similar suit seeking damages for harassment caused by an environment that she asserted “was poisoning my system.” Ms. Barbetta reports that during her tenure as a clerk at Chemlawn, male employees circulated pornographic magazines and pinup posters. She viewed a slide presentation that included suggestive pictures (e.g., a nude woman) put there, according to management, “to keep the guys awake.” After these experiences and continual breast-grabbing by a male employee, Ms. Barbetta quit. Marie Regab, formerly an 18-year employee of Air France, has filed similar charges concerning the Washington office where she worked as a salesperson. She alleges that several characteristics of the office environment combined to create harassment, including propositions by one of her bosses, circulation of Playboy and Penthouse magazines in the office, and open discussion of sexual activity by male employees. “It was sickening and an insult to women in the office,” she claims. Ms. Regab was fired; she is suing to gain reinstatement, for $1.5 million in damages, and to eliminate the harassment in the office....
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