Posts about sexual and gender harassment and discrimination occupy the top tier of popularity and daily visits to Psycholawlogy. In light of the current interest and and see here in these important topics, this post provides a collection of links to some prior articles on Psycholawlogy about these important concerns. This content does not purpose to offer opinion, either directly or indirectly, and does not provide any legal analysis or suggest conclusions regarding fault or responsibility or liability about any person or circumstance or allegation in terms of the current interest. But, these posts do feature analytical summaries and commentary about implications of results of leading edge behavioral science research for interested visitors, both new and repeat, who either want to refresh or want to learn more. Hopefully, these linked posts and the annotations offered here will help you, your clients, and your organization in your mission to provide excellent professional service.

Bad Actors. Gender harassment in the workplace claims both men and women as victims. Certain dark personality factors – Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy – comprise the Dark Triad. These factors correlate with sexual harassment behavior and who will victimize. The bad actors, either male or female, often charm their way, and slip in without notice. After forming alliances or getting themselves established, these toxic characters in the workplace use their cold, calculating, deceitful, and manipulation tactics to position themselves to do their bad deeds. Most victimizers, no matter high their perch, eventually fall from grace. But, they often inflict much harm, pain, and damage before that occurs. Your firm or department probably has a few members of the Dark Triad. These people present problems for any company, supervisor, and fellow employee. Learning how those high on the Dark Triad traits behave at work may permit organizations to prevent or control damage or at least an provide some understanding of what to expect. Read Sexual Harassment and the Dark Triad to learn more about a fascinating topic concerning personality in the workplace – the “Dark Triad”.

Bad Workplaces – Home of Bad Actors. Gender and sexual harassment and discrimination happens when bad actors get away with their bad behaviors. This type of workplace becomes a safe place to launch due to a number of factors. Leaders and decision-makers and those who counsel their organizations and also victims need a quick and functional way, a framework to look at the circumstances and begin to analyze the facts about what happened, who did it, perhaps theorize “why”, and how can we prevent this in the future. For a brief introduction to the four-frame model of looking at organizations, their structure, their human resources, their human resources environment, politics, and associated drama, please visit Understanding Organizations Using the Four Frame Model: Factories or Machines [Structure], Family [Human Resources], Jungle [Politics], and Theatres, Temples or Carnivals [Symbols].

Victims. Gender harassment and discrimination claims many victims. That includes me, you, and others who suffer from the effects of the bad deeds of toxic characteristics in the workplace. A popular post featured research about a new concept, “uppity woman”, which pertains to traditionally male-dominated professions. The interested reader will find a new and compelling explanation why female attorneys and other professional women, e.g. physicians, engineers, journalists, suffer harassment in their workplaces in “Uppity Women”–Primary Targets for Sexual Harassment. Read this post.

Men sometimes harass other men. Victims same sex harassment suffer, too. In Workplace Sexual Harassment: Gender Police Officers and Explaining Why Men Harass Other Men At Work you will get information about the science of self-referencing and perspective-taking concerning judgments about harassment. This post’s discussion may interest those who counsel organizations and their leaders, managers and workers as well as lawyers who represent victims of discrimination in the workplace who bring claims and lawsuits.

Predictions About Hostile Work Environment. Judges, jurors, lawyers, and EEO investigators evaluate claims of sexual harassment and make judgments. Such decisions stem from assumptions about whether unwelcome, severe, and pervasive conduct in a hostile work environment occurred. Researchers identify these persons as “predictors”.  Predictors do not directly experience or observe the workplace misconduct.  Instead, they gauge the impact of that behavior after learning about its effects on the target through the reports of others. But, the study reported in this post breaks new ground.  It constitutes the first attempt, according to the authors, to manipulate unwelcome social sexual misconduct so that its impact as sexual harassment could get evaluated from multiple perspectives – experiencer (victim), observer (co-worker), and predictor (investigator or trier of fact). According to the authors, “the findings begin to show that experiencers, observers, and predictors evaluate sexual objectification very differently and that those differences have implications for the law of hostile work environment harassment.” This post should interest those who make judgments or attempt to persuade those who make judgments about sexual harassment. See Predictions About Workplace Sexual Harassment: Experiencers, Observers, Predictors, and the Psychological Immune System.

More About Who Gets Hurt. Wrongful sexual or gender harassment or discrimination harms men and women. In a study which involved  a male-dominated organization, the researchers considered the concept “bothered”. They assessed actual experiences of the wrongful behavior and the appraisal of by those affected, i.e. who felt bothered by the experience. The results show that those who felt bothered suffered more serious health problems relative to those who did not feel bothered. As discussed in the final part of the post, this study reports some very interesting, alarming, and compelling statistics for male-dominated organization, i.e. police department. Most law firms fit that description, i.e. male-dominated. This research study did not involve lawyers or law firms, but the comparison seems appropriate. All lawyers, legal leaders, and professional development and training team members will want to check out  “Do You Feel Bothered . . . ?” Answers to a New Question Provide New and Important Information About Sexual Harassment.

The “Safe Harbor” [Courthouse] That Ain’t So Safe……Your [Lawyer] Work Home….. Almost five years ago, Psycholawlogy noted the important work of Dr. Lilia Cortina [see reference]. She has investigated sexual and gender harassment in the US courts. Her research sounds a serious alarm about incivility, harassment, and discrimination in courts and legal organizations by their members, e.g. judges, trustees, marshals, court security officers, and court personnel against their fellow professionals. Read Female Attorneys + Gender Harassment => Negative Personal and Professional Outcomes and see how you can be a positive force in not just mitigating harm, but removing this type of evil from our own halls of justice.

Toxic Nature of Sexual Behavior at Work. Not all sex-based harassment is sexual. While some of this type of behavior may not form a legal claim, it is nevertheless toxic. It hurts people and causes harm. Even the people who claim they “enjoyed” it suffer harm. Read Workplace sexual behavior: A stealth poison for employees and organizations for a commentary on interesting research about non-harassing sexual behavior at work. You see this type of poison frequently in the form of banter, jokes, or flirtation. Read this post and learn the explanation for its label “stealth poison”. It’s not only unhealthy, but a poison which needs an antidote.    

Bad For Me, Bad For You, Bad For Business…… One of Psycholawlogy’s most popular posts about the topic of workplace sexual and gender harassment and discrimination is Workplace Sexual Harassment and Negative Effects for All Employees: Harms Beyond Targets. Hostility towards women in the workplace can have serious and substantial personal and organizational impact. Both the target of it suffers harm and those who observe such horrible, wrongful conduct can suffer, too. Hurt people leave companies. They sue. The organizations pay huge victims amounts in settlement, or suffer adverse, often giant, verdicts. Organizational stakeholders and those with other financial ties can close their wallets or purses. Like many posts, this one ends with practical applications of the learning discussed for lawyers, law firms, and legal leaders. The research article [referenced below] makes many important points, and includes an appendix with two scales:  Observed Hostility Toward Women and Organizational Unresponsiveness to Sexual Harassment.

Interested lawyers and leaders of legal and other professional services type organizations, unlike the cowardly, weak, cunning and deceitful fox* in folklore, need to be real and have real concern. You will want to spend the time and effort to access and not only consider Professor Cortina’s article’s thoughtful content, but also to translate its findings and fine points into strategic policy and action for any professional services or traditionally male-dominated firm, particularly ones with females who go against the tradition and seek to carve out their success story as researchers have described and labeled them …..”uppity women”……

Who is Psycholawlogy? Dan DeFoe JD MS – Adlitem Solutions | Organization Development for Professional Services Firms and the Legal Profession: People. Projects. Practices |Web – www.adlitemsolutions.com | Email: dan@adlitemsolutions.com | Blog – www.psycholawlogy.com | Services – Organization Development Practitioner combining and leveraging 25+ years of diverse legal experience, 7+ years of allied health training and health care work experience, a Master of Science in Organizational Development Psychology, and educationally qualified or earned certifications in industry-leading normal (Myers-Briggs MBTI) and special business (Hogan Assessments [bright side, dark side, and motives-values-preferences]) personality; ability (MSCEIT-maximum performance) and self-report (EQi 2.0-typical performance) emotional intelligence; leadership (Certified Intentional Leadership Coach [system using MBTI & EQi 2.0]); and stress management assessment and tools (ARSENAL best practices system for stress resilient emotional intelligence) to partner with clients to discover needs and opportunities for growth and to design, develop, deliver, and evaluate custom interventions for individual, team, project, or organizational solutions. | Mission:  “America’s leading resource for normal and business personality and emotional intelligence assessments, and related coaching, continuing education, training, and workshops for judges, lawyers, law schools, bar associations, healthcare, medical, and other professional services providers and their organizations and leaders.”  Please visit Adlitem Solutions and Psycholawlogy again soon. Thank you very much.

Image Credits: Fox here | Male Woman symbol here | Red fox yawning here

Article References:  Berdahl, J. L. (2007). The sexual harassment of uppity women. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(2), 425-437 (copy currently available here) | Leskinen, E. A., Cortina, L. M., & Kabat, D. B. (2011). Gender harassment: Broadening our understanding of sex-based harassment at work. Law and Human Behavior, 35(1), 25-39 (copy currently available here) | Miner-Rubino, K., & Cortina, L. M. (2007). Beyond targets: Consequences of vicarious exposure to misogyny at work. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(5), 1254-1269 (copy currently available here) |

Additional Reference: * the Red Fox see here

Dan DeFoe

Owner and Lead consultant at Adlitem Solutions
I'm an attorney with 20+ years of experience and have an MS degree in organizational development psychology. I provide normal personality and emotional intelligence assessments, assessment interpretation and feedback, and professional development planning and training activities for lawyers, judges, other legal services providers, and their organizations.
 

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