Monday, November 07, 2005

"North Country" Displays Accurate Portayal of Real Life Sexual Harassment Case

The Capital Times

The recent, critically acclaimed film, "North Country," starring Academy Award winner, Charlize Theron, depicts the story of the first sexual harassment class action law suit in the United States. It serves as an excellent reminder that workplace harassment can easily occur, and we must be aware of potentially dangerous situations. As Judy Ettenhofer explained in the Capital Times...

"North Country" is based loosely on the first sexual harassment class action suit brought in the United States, by the women "rangers" working at the Eveleth iron ore mine in northern Minnesota's Mesabi Range.

In real life, Lois Jenson and her fellow female rangers endured nine years of abhorrent harassment from the mine's male employees before Jenson filed a complaint in 1984. A lawsuit grew out of that complaint, finally gaining class action status in 1991. The case dragged on until it was finally settled in 1998, but along the way it helped push employers to institute policies against workplace sexual harassment.

What is shocking is that throughout the 1980s and 1990s many corporations resisted the pressure of instituting anti-harassment policies. Today, there have been many improvements regarding sexual harassment in the workforce, but we must still keep our eyes open for inappropriate behavior.

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