Can sexual harassment legislation hurt women who want real equality?
Sexual harassment legislation increases the price of hiring women and therefore gives employers a legitimate reason to discriminate against women. A friend of mine who ran one of the largest research firms in California let go a woman who was unable to get along with most of the employees. A few weeks later, she sued him for sexual harassment. He had no interest in her, had never had a complaint against him for such behavior, nor had anyone in his company ever had a complaint against him for sexual harassment. Well, there was one exception: the woman who filed the complaint had herself been the subject of complaints that she had sexually harassed two different men and discriminated against them when they were unresponsive. Nevertheless, the legal hassle that resulted diverted the firm from its function and catalyzed a decline that eventually led (in conjunction with the recession) to the company’s extinction.
My friend Telt as though he had been raped. At first he tried talking about it with friends, but he could see them looking at him suspiciously. So now he keeps quiet. But at a price. The same price women paid when they felt they had been raped but got only looks of suspicion from friends, family, and police.
The more men a company employs, the more each woman hired forces the company to protea itself from potential lawsuits against these men. It leaves almost every male executive vulnerable to having his career ruined and almost every company with male executives vulnerable to having a finely honed management team broken up, its morale destroyed, and the remaining executives walking on eggshells. All this is an invitation to executive hypocrisy – in which all the rules of affirmative action are followed but everyone shuts his mouth when a woman comes into the room, thus creating genuine discrimination and a thick-glassed ceiling.
The woman who wants real equality pays a big price. Sexual harassment legislation often creates a hostile environment: an environment of female – as-child, one that makes even female employers more desirous of hiring men. As the men walk on eggshells, a formerly fluid work environment becomes a paralyzed environment.
In a global sense, if the government forces companies to protea women more and promote women equally regardless of whether they perform equally, it damages the ability of the nation’s industries to compete globally, thus reducing both the jobs and promotions available to American women.
Some companies found it ironic that just as the Soviet Union was disowning Big Brother, the United States was adopting Big Brother. (And, even more ironically, it was feminists demanding Big Brother!)
The solution? Find out how to protea people without paralyzing the workplace – find out who is really being hurt. This becomes clearer when we see that there are really seven different sexual interaaions occurring in the workplace.