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Albany Law School Professor Donna Young is contributing her expertise to the national discussion on sexual harassment in the workplace.
Professor Young set out the legal parameters of sexual harassment law in her recent interview with Solomon Syed, host of Spectrum News’ “In Focus,” in response to the spate of high-profile sexual harassment allegations across numerous industries. “What constitutes sexual harassment is ... a very case-specific, fact-specific inquiry," she explained. "But many of the cases we're seeing in the news, those are really obvious cases. … It's no longer acceptable [for employers] to ignore behavior in the workplace that might rise to the level of sex discrimination.”
Speaking with News 10 ABC, Professor Young said that "70 percent of victims of sexual harassment in the workplace do not report it." She went on to point out, "Sexual harassment law is based on the 1964 Civil Rights Act but it doesn’t define anywhere in the Act what sexual harassment is, so courts have been left with the responsibility of defining [it]."
In a separate News 10 segment—also featuring Professor Melissa Breger—she described teaching these issues while headlines are bringing real-time relevance to her classroom. “I teach a class called Gender and Work and one of our units has been on sexual harassment in the workplace,” Professor Young said. “We’ve been talking about that pretty consistently even though it’s just one topic that we cover. I have a lot of students who have been coming to my office and talking to me about what’s going on in the news and it’s kind of a difficult topic, but I think students are really interested in it.”
“These topics come up regularly. They're not new,” she added, explaining that lawyers have always studied these cases but now they have more examples to draw on.
Professor Young will appear on a panel discussion on sexual harassment that will be aired in January on WCNY's "Connect: NY," hosted by Susan Arbetter. Plans are also being made for her to appear on “The Capitol Pressroom,” also hosted by Arbetter.
In addition to her service at the law school, Professor Young is an affiliated faculty member at the University at Albany’s Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She researches in the areas of law and development, comparative labor/employment law, feminist legal theory, critical race theory, and international labor and human rights law. She has been invited to present her work at conferences in the U.S., Canada, Sri Lanka, Italy, Germany, Hungary, France, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the U.K.
For Professor Young’s full bio and accomplishments, including presentations and media appearances, click here.