Ann C. McGinley


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual harassment that creates a hostile work environment because of an employee's sex. For an actionable Title VII claim, the harassment must be unwelcome and sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the terms, conditions, or privileges of the plaintiff s employment from both objective and subjective perspectives. An employer's liability for the hostile work environment depends on the identity of the harasser or harassers. If the harassers are customers, courts employ a negligence standard holding the employer liable if the plaintiff proves that the employer knew or had reason to know of the harassment and did not take preventive and corrective measures. In Harassing "Girls" at the Hard Rock: Masculinities in Sexualized Environments, I studied the working conditions of blackjack dealers at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and concluded that some customers subject women dealers to severe sexually harassing behavior. The article explored whether Title VII should protect women employees who knowingly and voluntarily work in highly sexualized environments from hostile work environments created by customers. I concluded that a refusal to protect women blackjack dealers who work in a sexualized environment would penalize them for choosing to work in an industry that provides jobs whose salaries and tips permit the women and their families a middle class lifestyle. Moreover, I concluded, the casino employer who creates the sexualized environment is on notice that customers will likely harass her employees and has the means to prevent and correct such harassment.

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