The Collective Injury of Sexual Harassment

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter explains the collective harm of sexual harassment, which affects the status of all women in the workplace where it occurs, in the labor market, and in society as a whole. Although sexual harassment inflicts a personal injury on the victim, “it is a social wrong and a social injury that occurs on a personal level.” It is this aspect of sexual harassment—its discrimination on the basis of sex—that brings it within the purview of Title VII. The chapter reiterates the importance of recognizing sexual harassment's collective injury, especially in considering the question of whether or not harassing speech is protected by the First Amendment. It focuses on the most common claim of sexual harassment in the workplace: harassment of women by men.


collective harm, labor market, society, personal injury, social wrong, social injury, personal level, collective injury, harassing speech

Publication Title

Directions in Sexual Harassment Law