Anita Hill v. Clarence Thomas: The conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was appointed to the court
in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush, an action that “was instantly controversial” among the NAACP (National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People), which “feared that Thomas’s conservative stance on issues such
as affirmative action would reverse the civil rights gains that Justice [Thurgood] Marshall had fought so hard to
achieve.” Women’s groups also feared that Thomas would enact of anti-abortion legislation. All groups were
ultimately shocked, however, when Clarence Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by a University of Oklahoma law
professor named Anita Hill, who had once worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. Despite
the allegations and investigation, Thomas was narrowly elected to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Hill was criticized
for “character assassination.”
Provide a brief background of the case you have chosen, including the legal and morale issues cited.
Describe what constitutes sexual harassment? How does sexual harassment differ from gender discrimination? Is your
case an example?
What constitutes quid pro quo sexual harassment? Is your case an example?
What constitutes hostile environment sexual harassment? Is your case an example?
What factors contribute to a determination of whether behavior is sexual harassment? How is “unreasonable”
behavior determined? What kinds of situations are considered “severe and pervasive”? What makes behavior
“unwelcome”? Do these apply to your case?
Assume you are a manager for the company. What recommendations would you give for the future to both protect
employees against sexual harassment and the company against liability?
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