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Prohibiting sexual harassment in the European Union: An unfinished public policy agenda

Glenn M. Gomes (Department of Management, College of Business, California State University, Chico, California, USA)
James M. Owens (Department of Management, College of Business, California State University, Chico, California, USA)
James F. Morgan (Department of Management, College of Business, California State University, Chico, California, USA)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 1 June 2004

Abstract

European Union policymakers have taken a courageous step toward outlawing sexual harassment as a form of gender‐based discrimination throughout the EU with the recent passage of the amended equal treatment directive. While the edict seeks to harmonize member states' laws regarding the equal participation of men and women in the labor market, a number of public policy issues will arise as individual member states formally implement the directive. This article begins by identifying the principal components of the directive. It then focuses on two likely areas of intense public policy debate: operationalizing the definition of “sexual harassment,” and protecting employers from liability under certain circumstances. Where appropriate, the article draws upon corollaries and parallels in US law that may provide guidance to policy makers on these issues. The article concludes by offering practical suggestions for employers who would like to take the initiative in creating workplace reforms consistent with the principles underlying the directive.

Keywords

Citation

Gomes, G.M., Owens, J.M. and Morgan, J.F. (2004), "Prohibiting sexual harassment in the European Union: An unfinished public policy agenda", Employee Relations, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 292-306. https://doi.org/10.1108/01425450410530664

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited