Sexual Harassment and Title VII: The Foundation for the Elimination of Sexual Cooperation as an Employment Condition

Ten years after the enactment of Title VII, the federal judiciary confronted its first Title VII case in which sexual harassment was the primary allegation. In the next three-and-one-half years, six more claims of sexual harassment reached federal district courts, 4 and three federal circuit courts of appeal reviewed lower court holdings.

Neither these cases nor the considerable journalistic and academic attention they received reveals a consensus regarding the appropriate application of Title VII to cases of sexual harassment. This Note, therefore, examines the application of Title VII to the problem of sexual harassment and suggests a coherent framework for analyzing the issues. After a brief discussion and evaluation of the cases, sexual harassment will be analyzed from the perspective of the Title VII case law of other types of discrimination. Analogies from these cases suggest that Title VII, as enacted by Congress and interpreted by the Judiciary, prohibits making sexual cooperation a condition of employment.