Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Currently, there is a debate in progress over which standard is appropriate for use when evaluating hostile work environment sexual harassment. Traditionally the "reasonable person" has been used as the viewpoint from which to evaluate potentially harassing behavior. However, the historical 1991 federal court case Ellison vs. Brady introduced the "reasonable woman" standard due to the belief that the traditional standard may unwittingly be biased toward men. Most research to date has focused on the benefits and/or disadvantages of utilizing one standard over the other. The present research represents an attempt to discover whether the implementation of a standard truly makes a difference; that is, if invoking a particular standard results in altering the evaluation of hostile work environment sexual harassment by a juror. Results indicated that standard had no effect on an individual's interpretation of hostile environment sexual harassment, whether the data were examined as males, as females, or the group.


Industrial and Organizational Psychology