CRS: Sexual Harassment and Violence Against Women: Developments in Federal Law (May 12, 1997) [pdf]

Gender-based discrimination, harassment, and violence against women in the home, workplace, and society at large have received increasing legislative and judicial attention in recent years. Legal doctrines condemning the extortion of sexual favors as a condition of employment or job advancement, and other sexually offensive workplace behaviors resulting in a “hostile environment,” continue to evolve from judicial decisions under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and related federal laws. The courts and EEOC have interpreted Title VII to protect both men and women against workplace sexual harassment by the opposite sex. In 1994, Congress broke new legal ground by creating a civil rights cause of action for victims of “crimes of violence motivated by gender.” The new law also made it a federal offense to travel interstate with the intent to “injure, harass, or intimidate” a spouse, causing bodily harm to the spouse by a crime of violence.