Lighten up on harassment, female judge urges women

December 05, 1992|By New York Times News Service

Maryanne Trump Barry likes to joke that in New York she ma be seen merely as Donald Trump's sister but that in New Jersey, where she has been a federal judge since 1983, Donald Trump is seen primarily as her brother.

Since President Ronald Reagan named her to the U.S. District Court in Newark, Judge Barry, Mr. Trump's older sister, has won praise for her industry, intelligence and outspokenness.

It was her outspokenness that was most evident on Nov. 20 when she told 900 federal law-enforcement agents and officials in Washington, most of them female, that women should lighten up a bit on the subject of sexual harassment.

She said that undue sensitivity and an excessively confrontational attitude of some women in the workplace was poisoning relations between the sexes.

Because of a few "professional hypochondriacs," she said, good and well-meaning men are afraid to be themselves, and the more serious problems women face in the work force remain unaddressed.

"I stand second to none in condemning sexual harassment of women," she told the Interagency Committee on Women in Law Enforcement.

"But what is happening is that every sexy joke of long ago, every flirtation, is being recalled by some women and revised and re-evaluated as sexual harassment. Many of these accusations are, in anybody's book, frivolous."

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