Date Approved

4-30-2008

Embargo Period

3-22-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Mental Health Counseling and Applied Psychology

Department

Psychology

College

College of Science & Mathematics

First Advisor

Gaer, Eleanor

Subject(s)

Jury instructions; Sexual harassment--Law and legislation

Disciplines

Legal Studies | Psychology

Abstract

This study compares the effect of reasonable standards on the jury's verdict in a sexual harassment lawsuit. One hundred and fifty seven participants (82 males, 74 females and 1 unidentified), ages ranging from 16 to 90, (M= 22.74) were randomly divided into juries (7 reasonable woman, 8 reasonable person, and 9 reasonable worker). Participants were given a written sexual harassment case, judge's instructions, and a survey to complete before and after the group had reached a unanimous verdict.

It was hypothesized that participants who applied the reasonable woman standard would be more likely to take the complainant's perspective. This hypothesis was found to be supported by a significant difference between worker and woman juries' use of the terms of hostile work environment. There were significant interactions between those who did and did not experience sexual harassment in the workplace and their judgments of both, hostile work environment and severity.

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