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The workplace harassment law is an
expression of remarkable amplitude. It goes far beyond slanderous statements,
pornography, and lewd sexual premises. The law can restrain, among other
things, political assertions, religious endorsements, sexual anecdotes, and
such kinds of verbal expressions that can are protected by the constitution.
This paper will provide a brief analysis of Eugene Volokh’s article, “What
Speech Does “Hostile Work Environment” Harassment Law Restrict?” The
piece will detail aspects such as Political, Artistic, Moral, and Social
approaches to harassment, how the law’s vagueness elevates the breadth of
harassment, and the legal ramifications on individual utterances.

According to Volokh, harassment within political, artistic, religious,
and social settings can be considered as workplace aggravation more so if it is
severe or extensive enough to generate a hostile or disparaging working
ecosystem. The author reports that annoyance can be subject to a penalty where
it is based on racial creed, divinity, sex, national origin or age. The same is
true with the cases of a handicap issue, sexual alignment political
amalgamation military membership or veteran status, marital status,
transsexualism, criminal history, prior psychiatric record, profession,
citizenship status, personal appearance, receipt of public relief, amongst
others. Volokh notes that the definition does not advocate debauchery, fighting
words, intimidation or any other legally unprotected assertions. Nevertheless,
it never demands that the speech should contain profanity or eroticism. The
judge or jury must not only conclude that the address was offensive, based on
race, religion, sex, or some other attribute, but also that it was either
severe or pervasive enough to constitute an abusive environment for the
plaintiff. Where the outcome is an odd judicial misapplication or an exception
to the dictate that should be shrugged off in determining the rule’s actual
scope, Volokh explains that it could only be because the speech in those cases
did not meet the severity or pervasiveness thresholds.

Often, the law’s vagueness increases its breadth. Volokh blames this on
the fact that words such as “severe,” “pervasive,”
“hostile,” and “abusive,” are at times vague. As a
consequence, he reports that it is not possible to know the truth until it gets
to court. Like many other laws, harassment laws are both under and
over-administered. From ignorance or bigotry, most employers ignore the risk of
liability and avoid speeches or conduct that should be restricted. According to
Eugene, fact-finders-judge or jury-impose reasonably sparse thresholds of
cruelty or pervasiveness, even as others are commanding higher ones.    On the law’s effect on individual assertions,
Volkoh explains that there is inevitable necessity to quell these statements.
An antagonistic atmosphere can be formed by multiple employees, each making
only one or several aggressive remarks. Individually, the comments might not be
severe or pervasive enough to create liability, but in the aggregate, they may
be actionable. Volkoh points out those employment specialists recommend that
employers should stifle individual instances of offensive speech to avoid
costly repercussions. EEOC asserts that while some incidents of harassment
commonly do not infringe on the federal law, a pattern of such occurrences may
be unlawful. As such, to fulfill its duty of preventive care, the management
must make clear to employees that it will arrest harassment before it rises to
the level of a contravention of federal law.

In conclusion, Volokh’s article claims that the scope of harassment law
is guided by three facts. First, that harassment law does not distinguish
slurs, pornography, administrative, religious, or social explication, and other
makes of speech. Second, that the ambiguity of the terms severe and pervasive
means that the law may practically restrict any speech that an employer feel
might be found by a fact-finder to be severe or pervasive.  Finally, because an employer is liable for
the aggregate of all his or her employees’ speech, a wise employer will bar any
statement that might be “harsh or pervasive” enough to form a hostile




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