Sexual Harassment: Psychiatric Assessment in Employment Litigation

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American Psychiatric Pub, 2008 M05 20 - 312 pages
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This comprehensive text stands alone in addressing sexual harassment from a forensic psychiatric perspective. Sexual Harassment: Psychiatric Assessment in Employment Litigation reviews the law, social science research, clinical experience, and principles of forensic evaluation relevant to the highly adversarial legal arena of sexual harassment litigation. This illuminating guide covers every aspect of psychiatric assessment in sexual harassment litigation: definition/legal history, bias/gender, credibility/malingering, "welcomeness," "reasonableness," causation, and emotional injury and damages. In an area where few training or educational opportunities exist, Dr. Gold presents a structured framework for these evaluations, including case examples that bring this framework to life.

No single response or specific psychiatric problem is associated with sexual harassment. Not all experiences of sexual harassment even constitute illegal employment discrimination. The term itself covers a wide range of behaviors, from annoying to traumatic. Likewise, the responses to such events, real or perceived, are broadly diverse. Further, the difficulties and ambiguities that arise at the interface of psychiatry, the legal system, and the social issues raised by sexual harassment make the application of psychiatric knowledge and expertise in such cases uniquely challenging.

This work provides invaluable assistance in helping mental health experts meet these challenges while also serving the legal system's goal of adjudicating disputes in the interest of serving justice. It emphasizes that experts should Base their evaluations and testimony on a thorough evaluation of the issues in each case. Acquire the intellectual tools needed, including familiarity with gender issues, the effects of stress and trauma, the scope and effects of sexual harassment, and an awareness of the potential biases that may influence opinions. Understand the scientific basis of their testimony.

As the definitive work on the forensic psychiatric aspects of sexual harassment, this work explores and bridges the interface between the law, social science, psychiatry, and employment issues. This classic volume will provide invaluable assistance to psychiatrists and psychologists in formulating credible, well-reasoned opinions in an evolving and controversial area of the law. Other mental health professionals and educators, as well as members of the legal and human resources community, will also find that this in-depth study increases their understanding and appreciation of the complexities and challenges of psychiatric evaluations in sexual harassment litigation.


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Definition Legal History
Bias in the Assessment of Sexual Harassment Claims
Gender the Workplace and Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment Research Science and Daubert
Special Issues in and Guidelines for
Credibility Assessments and Malingering
The Assessment of Welcomeness
The Reasonable Person and Sexual Harassment
Psychiatric Diagnosis and the Assessment of Causation
Emotional Injury and the Assessment of Damages
A Framework for Psychiatric Evaluation

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About the author (2008)

Liza H. Gold, M.D., is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Director of the Program in Psychiatry and Law at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. She has a private practice in Arlington, Virginia.

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