From Publishers Weekly
In 1997, in reversing a lower court decision, federal appellate Judge Donald Lay wrote in a sexual-harassment class-action lawsuit, Jenson v. Eveleth, "The emotional harm, brought about by this record of human indecency, sought to destroy the human psyche as well as the human spirit.... The humiliation and degradation suffered by these women is irreparable." Journalist Bingham's (Women on the Hill: Challenging the Culture of Congress) and attorney Gansler's deeply felt and disturbing narrative is the story of what informed Judge Lay's decision. In 1975, Lois Jenson became one of the first women to work in the iron mines of Minnesota and the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. Eveleth Mines was Jenson's employer. The center of the story is the 25-year ordeal Jenson and other women miners underwent: the harshness and callousness of the abuse directed at the women in the uncivilized and misogynist atmosphere of the mine will outrage readers. The equally brutal treatment class members received in the civilized venue of the federal court system, especially by the lawyers for Eveleth, will shock them. The matter-of-fact description of Eveleth's lawyers' assault on Jenson's character during a deposition that inquired about the most intimate details of her life has tremendous immediacy. Because of the personal price the plaintiffs pay, and despite the success of the litigation, this account falls somewhere between a cautionary tale about the dangers facing those who challenge entrenched institutions and a bittersweet celebration of the ultimate effectiveness of the justice system.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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From Library Journal
A collaboration between a journalist and a lawyer, this volume describes in elaborate detail the tortuous path of the first class-action sexual harassment lawsuit, Jenson v. Eveleth Mines. In 1975, the Minnesota mine hired its first four women as the result of a consent decree; Lois Jenson took one of the jobs. Subjected to disgusting and relentless sexual harassment, Jenson went in turn to the company, the union, the state department of human rights, and finally, in 1988, to private counsel. With Title VII expert Paul Sprenger at the helm, the case took another 11 years, as the company's attorneys waged an intense "nuts and sluts" defense, a strategy that cost the mine $15 million. Although ultimately vindicated, the complainants suffered not only from harassment but from the brutalizing process of the litigation. Jenson herself became disabled by stress from the harassment, the hostility of female co-workers, the length of the legal process, and the invasive interrogations connected with the claim for damages. Excessive detail, compelling though it is, diminishes the book's utility. Recommended for large public and academic libraries. Cynthia Harrison, George Washington Univ., Washington, DC
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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