Three studies used videotaped harassment complaints to examine the impact of legal standards on the evaluation of social-sexual conduct at work. Study 1 demonstrated that without legal instructions, college students' judgment strategies were highly variable. Study 2 compared 2 current legal standards, the "severity or pervasiveness test" and a proposed utilitarian alternative (i.e., the rational woman approach). Undergraduate participants taking the perspective of the complainant were more sensitive to offensive conduct than were those adopting an objective perspective. Although the utilitarian alternative further increased sensitivity on some measures, it failed to produce a principled judgment strategy. Finally, Study 3 examined the kinds of errors that full-time workers make when applying the "severity or pervasiveness" test to examine more closely the sensitivity of the subjective approach.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology