Prof. Drobac Hopes New Book Will Lead to Improvements in Sexual Harassment Law
Professor Jennifer Drobac recently had a casebook published: Sexual Harassment Law: History, Cases, and Theory (Carolina Academic Press). The book offers a comprehensive survey of the legal history, theory, and practice of sexual harassment law, beginning with the passage of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The text explores the development of the elements of a prima facie case and also deals with topics including the intersection of race, gender, sexual orientation and class, the reasonable person’s standard, and comparisons to rape law. Public policy considerations highlighted in the notes complement the examination of topics such as investigations, remedial action, common defenses, and damages. Succeeding chapters introduce school sexual harassment under Title IX, sexual harassment in housing under Title VIII, and sexual harassment in other contexts, such as in prisons and in the military. The book also covers the practice of sexual harassment law, including aspects of civil procedure, evidence, administrative law, and the important new topic of alternative dispute resolution. Drobac seeks to bring the history and application of the law to life with excerpts of the senate confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas, the Jones v. Clinton decisions, and media coverage and strategies of other high profile cases.
Drobac says she hopes this casebook will inspire professors to devote a full semester of coverage to sexual harassment issues. “The pervasiveness of sexual harassment, as well as the many substantive law fields that influence its redress, prompt in-depth analysis,” Drobac says. “My hope is that by offering a book that devotes more than two chapters to the subject, more teachers will give this field the attention it still deserves. And while sexual harassment law was originally a common law creation from sex-based discrimination prohibition in Title VII, it has evolved to become a substantive legal field in its own right. By gathering the materials together to show how sexual harassment law has evolved, I hope to prompt further attention to legal reform that might improve the law.” More on Prof. Drobac
Her current research concerning sexual harassment law includes work on youth and mental capacity. In 2004, she published the first of two articles concerning the legal significance of adolescent "consent" to sexual activity in the workplace, "Sex and the Workplace: 'Consenting' Adolescents and a Conflict of Laws"(79 Wash. L. Rev. 471). Her next article, "I Can’t to I Kant: The Transition to Maturity and the Meaning of Adolescent Consent in the Workplace," examines the new neuroscience evidence and its significance to adolescent "consent" and the laws concerning the sexual abuse of adolescents. She will be presenting a paper on this topic at the Law & Society Association Conference in June in Las Vegas, and will also attend the International Coalition Against Sexual Harassment Conference in Philadelphia in August.