If male workers categorize different groups of women coworkers and, subsequently, treat them differently, the experiences of women from one of these groups would not be indicative of the experiences of women from another group. When this different treatment involves hostile environment sexual harassment of one group, but not the other, then the law must recognize the possibility of "selective sexual harassment." Without this understanding of the nuances of the workplace dynamics, a court could mistake the women of the unharassed group as representing "reasonable women" and the women of the harassed group as simply oversensitive. This paper draws on empirical data to demonstrate such a situation and advocates for a version of the "reasonable victim" standard to facilitate a closer analysis of hostile environment sexual harassment suits.


This is the accepted version of Hoffmann, E.A. Selective Sexual Harassment: Differential Treatment of Similar Groups of Women Workers. Law Hum Behav 28, 29–45 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:LAHU.0000015002.56564.8e


sexual harassment; token women; taxi cabs

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