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Resolutions & Amendments

28th International Convention - Los Angeles, CA (1988)

Sexual Harassment

Resolution No. 45
28th International Convention
June 20-24, 1988
Los Angeles, CA


AFSCME represents over one-half million women and numerous surveys have shown that the majority of working women as well as an increasing number of men have been victimized by sexual harassment at sometime during their careers; and


Sexual harassment can have devastating psychological, physical and economic consequences for its victims; and


The United States Supreme Court unanimously held in Meritor Saving and Loan v. Vinson that unwelcome, sexually directed behavior at the work place violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act if it creates a hostile or offensive working environment. Over the last decade numerous federal and state courts have found employers liable for the sexual harassment of their employees under Title VII and a variety off tort law theories including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and interference with an employment contract; and


Many unions and employers have taken positive steps to stop sexual harassment through well-enforced contract language and policy statements and through education and training programs. Numerous AFSCME contracts include specific language for handling sexual harassment problems and AFSCME affiliates often have been instrumental in getting the employer to establish strong, effective, anti-sexual harassment policies; and


Despite the positive steps taken by some employers and despite the fact that the courts have put employers on notice that they may be liable for the sexual harassment of their workers, the problem has not been eradicated. Many employees victimized by sexual harassment have no work place procedures available to deal with the problem.


That AFSCME at all levels will continue its commitment to fighting sexual harassment by: continuing and strengthening their educational programs on sexual harassment; ensuring that all collective bargaining agreements include effective mechanisms for dealing with sexual harassment; urging employers to enforce a strong policy against sexual harassment throughout the workplace; providing a support system within the local union for victims of sexual harassment; supporting the filing of charges and lawsuits to secure relief for sexual harassment victims where appropriate; and


That AFSCME support legislative and regulatory changes to ensure that persons who quit their jobs as a result of sexual harassment are not denied unemployment compensation.



Richard D. Bivias, President
Barbara Ann Burkhart, Secretary
Peggy Grigsley, Member
AFSCME Local 289, Council 62
Indianapolis, Indiana