two things in the NYT today that make me wonder if maybe we’ve made some progress after all.
anita hill’s op-ed piece on the outright lies and fantasies in clarence thomas’ new memoir. (anita hill, if you recall, pursued a sexual harrassment suit against the reactionary supreme court justice prior to his becoming a justice, and testified about it to congress when he was up for confirmation by the house and senate.)
Regrettably, since 1991, I have repeatedly seen this kind of character attack on women and men who complain of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. In efforts to assail their accusers’ credibility, detractors routinely diminish people’s professional contributions. Often the accused is a supervisor, in a position to describe the complaining employee’s work as “mediocre” or the employee as incompetent. Those accused of inappropriate behavior also often portray the individuals who complain as bizarre caricatures of themselves — oversensitive, even fanatical, and often immoral — even though they enjoy good and productive working relationships with their colleagues.
believed you then, professor hill, and i believe you now. justice thomas, you were a jerk then, and now? well now you’re a jerk with life tenure on the supreme court. unfortunately.
and then there’s anucha brown sanders, who won a lawsuit against knicks coach isiah thomas for sexual harrassment and against the parent company of the NY knicks, for creating a hostile work environment.
Of that figure, $6 million was awarded because of the hostile work environment Mr. Thomas was found to have created, and $5.6 million because Ms. Browne Sanders was fired for complaining about it. Mr. Dolan’s share is $3 million; the Garden is liable for the rest.
The judge will decide later on compensatory damages, covering actual economic harm suffered by Ms. Browne Sanders, like back pay and benefits.
wow. kudos to these two women for standing up for themselves. because it’s not okay to be treated like meat in the workplace, and it’s not okay for ANY man to do that.
and interestingly, the very tactics used against anita hill to impugn her professionalism and reputation as an excellent, valuable colleague, which she describes above, are exactly the tactics repeated by the defense in the sanders case. but in sanders’ case, she won. she won, and won damages!
After the punitive damages were announced, Ms. Browne Sanders appeared outside the courtroom and said the decision was important not just for herself, but also for “the women who don’t have the means and couldn’t possibly have done what I was able to do” and for “everybody that cares about working in a civil work environment.”