Social analytic investigation of hostile work environments - A test of the reasonable woman standard

Richard L. Wiener, Barbara A. Watts, Kristen H. Goldkamp, Charles Gasper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper presents a brief psycholegal analysis of hostile work environment sexual harassment law especially as it distinguishes between the reasonable person and reasonable woman tests of severity and pervasiveness. We tested two hypotheses: (1) women (but not men) would show stronger judgments of harassment when using the reasonable woman standard, and (2) this relationship would be strongest for women who identified with harassed victims and men who did not. We presented to a sample of undergraduates an in-group identification measurement task followed by the fact patterns in two cases and asked them to make legally relevant decisions under either the reasonable woman or person standard. Although we found gender and in-group identification effects, we found no legal standard effects. The results are discussed from the perspectives of law and psychology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-281
Number of pages19
JournalLaw and human behavior
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law

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