A psycholegal model of hostile environments: The role of dehumanization

Richard L. Wiener, Sarah J. Gervais, Ena Brnjic, Gwenith Nuss

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The United States Supreme Court has held that hostile work environment sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct, based on sex, which is “sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of employment and create an abusive working environment”. Hostile environments can be extended to other federally protected factors such as race and ethnicity, national origin, age, and disability, and even unprotected factors such as social class, education level, and sexual orientation. The authors propose a psycholegal model to find where the law of hostile environments and the psychology of dehumanization intersect. Specifically, the authors propose that two types of dehumanization result in hostile environments: animalistic and mechanistic. As a result, the integration of social psychology and law can shed light on the study of discrimination law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationJustice, Conflict and Wellbeing
Subtitle of host publicationMultidisciplinary Perspectives
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages38
ISBN (Electronic)9781493906239
ISBN (Print)9781493906222
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Dehumanization
  • Discrimination
  • Objectification
  • Sexual harassment
  • Workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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