"Dignity or Equality?: Responses to Workplace Harassment in European, German, and U.S. Law"

Michigan Law Authors
Areas of Interest
Publish Date
Directions in Sexual Harassment Law
Publication Type
Book Chapter

This chapter discusses the legal reactions to sexual harassment in Europe, particularly in the European Union and in Germany. These reactions have been based on dignity as the fundamental right of men and women that has been violated in such cases. German and European law conceptualize law against sexual harassment differently from the United States, where jurisprudence is based on a specific interpretation of the right to equality. In the tradition of liberal philosophy, dignity and equality have been distinguished. Dignity, as part of liberty, has been interpreted as a principle and a right categorically distinct from equality, which has been seen as a principle and a right based on symmetrical comparison. In law, this not only leads to a distinction between liberty interests and equality rights but results in a hierarchical relation between the two.

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