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Class Action: The Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Lawby Clara Bingham
Synopses & Reviews
In the tradition of A Civil Action and Erin Brockovitch, Class Action is a story of intrigue and injustice as dramatic as fiction but all the more poignant because it is true.
In the coldest reaches of northern Minnesota, a group of women endured a shocking degree of sexual harassment–until one of them stepped forward and sued the company that had turned a blind eye to their pleas for help. Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, the first sexual harassment class action in America, permanently changed the legal landscape as well as the lives of the women who fought the battle.
In 1975, Lois Jenson, a single mother on welfare, heard that the local iron mine was now hiring women. The hours were grueling, but the pay was astonishing, and Jenson didn't think twice before accepting a job cleaning viscous soot from enormous grinding machines. What she hadn't considered was that she was now entering a male-dominated, hard-drinking society that firmly believed that women belonged at home–a sentiment quickly born out in the relentless, brutal harassment of every woman who worked at the mine. When a group of men whistled at her walking into the plant, she didn't think much of it; when they began yelling obscenities at her, she was resilient; when one of them began stalking her, she got mad; when the mining company was unwilling to come to her defense, she got even.
From Jenson’s first day on the job, through three intensely humiliating trials, to the emotional day of the settlement, it would take Jenson twenty-five years and most of her physical and mental health to fight the battle with the mining company. But with the support of other women miners like union official Patricia Kosmach and her luck at finding perhaps the finest legal team for class action law, Jenson would eventually prevail.
Clara Bingham and Laura Leedy Gansler take readers on a fascinating, page-turning journey, the roller-coaster ride that became Jenson vs. Eveleth and show us that Class Action is not just one woman's story, it's every woman's legacy.
From the Hardcover edition.
An intriguing account of a seminal sexual harassment lawsuit describes the experiences of Lois Jenson, a single mother who endured a shocking degree of sexual harassment on her job with a local mine before suing the company that had ignored her pleas for help, in a case that took twenty years to settle and transformed the American legal system. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.
A petite single mother, Lois Jenson was among the first women hired by a northern Minnesota iron mine in 1975. In this brutal workplace, female miners were relentlessly threatened with pornographic graffiti, denigrating language, stalking, and physical assaults. Terrified of losing their jobs, the women kept their problems largely to themselves—until Lois, devastated by the abuse, found the courage to file a complaint against the company in 1984. Despite all of the obstacles the legal system threw at them, Lois and her fellow plaintiffs enlisted the aid of a dedicated team of lawyers and ultimately prevailed. Weaving personal stories with legal drama, Class Action shows how these terrifically brave women made history, although not without enormous personal cost. Told at a thrillers pace, this is the story of how one woman pioneered and won the first sexual harassment class action suit in the United States, a legal milestone that immeasurably improved working conditions for American women.
About the Author
Clara Bingham is a former White House correspondent for Newsweek and wrote Women on the hill: Challenging the Culture of Congress. She has written for Talk, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and The Washington Monthly. She is a graduate of Harvard University.
Laura Leedy Gansler is a lawyer specializing in alternative dispute resolution and securities law. She is a former adjunct law professor at American University. After graduating from Harvard University, Gansler received a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1989.
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