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Below the ‘tip of the iceberg’: extra-legal responses to workplace sexual harassment

McDonald, Paula K., Charlesworth, Sara , & Cerise, Somali (2011) Below the ‘tip of the iceberg’: extra-legal responses to workplace sexual harassment. Women's Studies International Forum, 34(4), pp. 278-289.

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Abstract

Despite longstanding and explicit legal frameworks for preventing and responding to sexual harassment, only a small proportion of those sexually harassed use legal avenues of redress to seek justice. In contrast to legal cases which constitute the ‘tip of the iceberg’, this study examines extra-legal strategies — the less visible but more frequent, ‘everyday’, formal and informal organizational practices. We report on a national prevalence survey conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission which examined how ‘targets’ use formal organizational grievance mechanisms, and/or other informal methods to redress, resist or avoid workplace sexual harassment. The findings revealed that the majority of targets do not formally report it because of fear of retribution or that nothing will be done, but they sometimes use apparently proactive or assertive alternative strategies, such as seeking informal assistance and ‘dealing with the problem themselves’. These responses occur in the context of extra-legal facets of organizational life which affect the extent to which sexual harassment and other unfavorable and discriminatory acts are tolerated.

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ID Code: 42201
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Workplace , Sexual Harassment, Legal Facets
DOI: 10.1016/j.wsif.2011.03.002
ISSN: 0277-5395
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Human Resources Management (150305)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Industrial Relations (150306)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Deposited On: 28 Jun 2011 11:15
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2011 11:15

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