Poll: Americans disagree on fine points of sexual harassment
March 14, 1998
Web posted at: 9:08 p.m. EST (0208 GMT)
(CNN) -- Just what is sexual harassment?
Depends on who you ask.
A CNN/Time poll shows there is a general consensus on some issues, but the margin narrows as the boundaries between overt and implied sexual behavior become murkier.
The 1,023 respondents were divided on common social interactions such as flirting and friendly touching.
About 55 percent of respondents say it's sexual harassment if a boss asks for sex but does not retaliate if the employee rejects the advances.
A similar number -- 51 percent -- said it's always unacceptable for a boss and employee to have sexual relations.
Only 56 percent of the respondents say it's a case of sexual harassment when an employer puts his arm around an employee; just 46 percent regard flirting with an employee as harassment.
And, about 54 percent of the respondents say the labeling of some interactions as sexual harassment cases clearly has gone too far.
Consensus on some issues
Most Americans agree on what constitutes the most flagrant examples of sexual harassment.
|Is it sexual harassment if a boss asks for sex but does not retaliate if employee rejects advances?
|Is it sexual harassment if a boss makes sexual remarks but does not retaliate if employee objects?
|Would you feel uncomfortable saying no to a male boss?
|(Women who work)
|Would you feel uncomfortable saying no to a female boss?
|(Men who work)
The poll, conducted in February, included 413 adult men and 342 adult women who work. There is no significant differences between the views of men and women on these questions.