Sexual Harassment in Employment
Sexual harassment was first declared to be illegal in the context of employment. In the 1970s, courts began interpreting preexisting laws that prohibited sex discrimination in employment to bar sexual harassment of workers.
In 1979 a subcommittee of the United States House of Representatives asked the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the agency that oversees federal workers, to conduct a study of sexual harassment in the federal workplace. The MSPB sent surveys to over 23,000 federal employees inquiring about their experiences with sexual harassment. The results of the MSPB's survey were published in 1981 (Document 9).
In 1988 and again in 1995, the MSPB updated its study (Documents 10, 11). These later studies found increased awareness of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace; however, there was no decrease in the percentage of people who reported being sexually harassed.
The following major findings emerged from the study: