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Major Sexual Harassment Cases

The U.S. and the rest of the world have experienced many various cases of sexual harassment in the last few decades.

Anita Hill and Justice Clarence Thomas

This was one of the first cases of sexual harassment to put placed onto the national stage in 1991. Hill, a former colleague of Justice Thomas, accused him of the usage of inappropriate language and sexually harassing female workers. He denied all allegations, and eventually, they could not be proven nor disproven as these allegations were not part of the lawsuit that Hill had put against Thomas. Thomas would eventually have his nomination approved by the Senate in a vote of 52-48. It is noted in the year following this case, filed sexual harassment cases went up by 50%.

Paula Jones and Bill Clinton

Another major case, between Paula Jones and Bill Clinton, also occurred in 1991. Clinton, who was Governor of Arkansas at the time, was accused of exposing himself in front of Jones and asking her for oral sex. Clinton denied these allegations, and the lawsuit was later on denied due to a failure to state a claim; a settlement of 850,000 dollars would be reached eventually. Even with the settlement, Jones never got an admission of guilt nor apology. These allegations, though, paved the way for another scandal Clinton would have as presidential with Monica Lewinsky.

The Tailhook Convention

Former Navy Lieutenant Paula Coughlin was one of the 80 women who accused Naval and Marine officers of sexual harassment in Las Vegas; the officers were reported drunk at the time. Coughlin would leave the military because of this but said the organization failed to investigate her claims and even accused her of being a whistleblower. She also received compensation from the hotels as she sued them for failing to provide security.

Mitsubishi Motos Manufacturing

In 1998, Mitsubishi agreed to pay $34 million to female workers at their plant in Normal, IL, where the company was accused of having a hostile environment for them since 1990 (and paid millions more in individual lawsuits). Accusations included fondling, verbal abuse, subjected to obscene jokes, inappropriate behavior, and graffiti, with one even being a male worker even shot an air gun between the women’s legs. Many as a result quit, and others being denied promotions when they refused to grant sexual favors. Afterward, Mitsubishi would change many of its policies, including a zero-tolerance policy.

University of Colorado Football Program

Two women charged the University of Colorado after claiming they were sexually assaulted in 2001 by Colorado football players and recruits. They alleged that the university is liable for creating the environment that led to the event and that they draw in players by using parties that involved sex and alcohol. Their suit was also filed under Title IX (gender quality in school), as the school, had violated it by having notice of the sexual harassment but then acted with deliberate indifference. Recently the case was thrown out by the U.S. District Court, but the women have appealed. The Board of Regents with the University of Colorado backed an independent investigation, and results showed that drugs, alcohol, and sex were used to draw in recruits but were not sanctioned by university officials. The University of Colorado would then adopt one of the most strict recruitment policies in the country.



  • Anita Hill/Justice Clarence Thomas

  • This was one of the first major cases to put on the national stage in 1991

  • Anita Hill, a former colleague of Thomas, accused him of using inappropriate language and sexually harassing female workers

  • But since these allegations were not part of the lawsuit they could not be proven nor disproven, and Thomas denied these allegations

  • His nomination was barely approved by the Senate in a vote of 52-48

  • It is noted in the year after sexual harassment cases that were filed went up by 50%

  • Paula Jones/Bill Clinton

  • Jones, a state employee of Clinton, of who at that time was Governor of Arkansas, accused him of sexual harassment

  • She accused in 1991 that Clinton exposed himself in front of her in a hotel room and he asked her for oral sex; Clinton denied these allegations

  • Jones’ lawsuit was denied eventually due to failure to state a claim, and eventually, a settlement of $850k was eventually reached

  • However, Jones never got an admission of guilt nor apology

  • It is noted that these allegations paved up the way for the Monica Lewinsky scandal and Clinton’s impeachment

  • The Tailhook Convention

  • Involved sexual allegations against the armed forces

  • Put a spotlight for women who had been experiencing them for years

  • Former Navy Lt. Paula Coughlin was one out of the more than 80 women who claimed they were sexually assaulted

  • The assailants, who were Naval and Marine officers were attending a conference in Las Vegas at a Hilton Hotel; they were reported to be drunk

  • Coughlin later left the military and also said that the organization failed to investigate her claims and even retaliated against her for being a “whistleblower”

  • Coughlin would then sue the hotel for failing to provide adequate security and would, later on, be awarded $1.7 million in compensatory and $5 million in punitive damages

  • Mitsubishi Motors Manufacturing

  • In 1998, Mitsubishi agreed to pay $34 million to female workers at their plant in Normal, IL, where the company was accused of having a hostile environment for them since 1990

  • Mitsubishi also paid millions more in individual suits

  • Accusations included fondling, verbal abuse, subjected to obscene jokes, inappropriate behavior, and graffiti

  • One male worker even shot an air gun between the women’s legs

  • Many quit and others were denied promotions when they refused to grant sexual favors

  • Afterward, Mitsubishi would adopt a zero-tolerance policy

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