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Class Action: The Landmark Case that Changed Sexual Harassment Law
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Class Action: The Landmark Case that Changed Sexual Harassment Law

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  371 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
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 th ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 14th 2003 by Anchor (first published July 7th 1999)
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Aug 18, 2008 Holly rated it it was amazing
This was an incredibly informative, well written, and heart wrenching book. It's been a few years since I saw "North Country" but from what I remember, it absolutely pales in comparison to the book. The authors tell the story so well that I felt emotional several times while reading about the horrendous struggle the brave women at Eveleth Mines went through dealing with sexism at work and then dealing with retaliation & health problems after filing the lawsuit. The lawsuit lasted 14 years. A ...more
Jul 11, 2010 Deb rated it liked it
This is the true story behind the movie "North Country", about the first class action sexual harassment suit filed for women employees at Eveleth Mines, in Virginia, Minnesota. This is one of a bunch of towns on "the Range", Iron Range, about an hour or so from Duluth. Still haven't been there. I had the pleasure of meeting the heroine of Class Action, Lois Jenson, when she visited a writing class at UWS. The book doesn't do her justice (really, it doesn't). A brave and fascinating woman. The su ...more
Aug 25, 2007 Agnes rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of gender equality and legal history
This was such a fantastically written piece of nonfiction that I read it in one day, which is quite unusual for me when it comes to nonfiction. It recounts the story of the landmark Jenson v. Eveleth Mine Co. case that first made it possible to bring a class action lawsuit based on sexual harassment, to hold a company responsible for its hostile work environment, and to award damages based on emotional and psychological distress stemming from sexual harassment. Hard to believe that the case wasn ...more
Betty Mars
Jun 28, 2011 Betty Mars rated it really liked it
i felt the virgin/whore dichotomy was played up a little too much in the beginning--the start of the book has a very sensationalized approach, which is unnecessary. it doesn't matter whether lois jenson was prim, prudish, or a big ol' slut. no one deserves to be treated the way she was treated.

other than that, the story was an inspiration.
May 11, 2012 Drick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: current-events
After seeing the movie "North Country" I was interested in reading this book which inspired the movie. The movie, which does not intend to be a re-telling of the actual events does a good job of depicting the nature of the harassment inflicted on the women who went to work in the Eveleth Company mines in northern Minnesota. The sexual harassment class action brought against the country was the first sexual harassment class action in the country and changed the course of litigation against sexual ...more
Bob Schmitz
May 15, 2012 Bob Schmitz rated it liked it
I saw the movie "North Country," enjoyed it and so read the book. As is so often the case the movie is much neater, less complicated and happier than the book.

In the late 1970's Lois Jensen is a single mom who needs a better paying job and when she hears the Eveleth Mine in Forbes, Minnesota is hiring women she applies and is hired. The mine is a very hostile atmosphere for a few dozen women that work there. Crude remarks, unwanted touching, grabbing, gross graffiti, waved dildos, feces-smeared
This is the story of the case (Jensen v. Eveleth Mines) that defines what we as a society today generally consider "common sense" regarding sexual harassment or gender discrimination in the work place. This is the case that informed the content of those "sensitivity training" or "sexual harassment" courses many of us are required to take in the work place - the ones most of us are tempted to consider ridiculous. It also set the precedent that protects sexual harassment plaintiffs against overly ...more
Lacey Louwagie
Nov 09, 2011 Lacey Louwagie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
It's hard for me to say I "liked" this book because, even though it was well-written and kept my interest high, it was also so emotionally excruciating to read. I listened to this in audio form, which made it a twelve disc set. After the first three discs outlined the sexual harassment the women at Evelyth Mine faced in detail, I felt certain it could "only get better from there." But the entire experience these women endured, for almost twenty years of their lives, was harrowing. The sexual har ...more
Apr 28, 2008 Felicity rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in civil rights and 20th century social history
Wow. This book is well worth reading, not for any great artistry of prose, but for the story it tells. This case, dramatized (and actually toned down, I hear) for the big screen as North Country is unbelievable. Unbelievable the crap these women went through in order to get a living wage, unbelievable the tactics brought to bear against them by the company's lawyers, and unbelievable, to me at least, that this case and all its legal implications were not resolved until 1998.

I think by 1998 I'd a
Jun 25, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book! Strongly recommend to males and females. If you are reluctant because you saw North Country this is WAY better and the movie actually diverges quite a bit from the true story, which is much better. It is so sad that women used to have no legal protection in their areas of work. A lot of people complain about sexual harassment laws but after reading this you’ll see just how necessary they are. A lot of interesting insight on the justice system and how it can put the very people it set ...more
Much different than the movie North Country which is partially based on this book. I liked the movie, as a movie it's very good but you cannot say it is a direct translation of the book or what really happened. The problem with reality is that it sometimes gets a bit dull. The middle section of the book detailing the endless trials these women go through was a bit much for me. If you're a student or lover of all things latigious you'll probably really enjoy the book.

What the women in the mines i
Jun 06, 2016 Amber rated it really liked it
Shocking to learn that the sexual harassment in the movie North Country was actually somewhat milder than the real-life occurrences detailed in this book. Very thoroughly researched and easy to read, and very informative about some truly shocking abuse, and Court decisions, that were just not that long ago.

Authors' lack of understanding of business and economics (steel "dumping," acting like it's a bad thing that businesses care about profits, promoting "buy American," etc.) was a little gratin
Stacey Wagner
Mar 05, 2014 Stacey Wagner rated it really liked it
I read this book while working at Ev-Tac in 2005. I didn't know the history of the place until I got there and someone recommended I read the book. I was HORRIFIED that things like this take place in modern society. I passed the book around to all my female colleagues (we were there for a computer project that lasted about 8 months) and we all started looking over our shoulders, because the men mentioned in the book still work there. The place might have a different name now (U-TAC), but it unne ...more
Jun 29, 2011 Kyra rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this shortly after seeing the movie "North Country" that was based off of it.
Both the movie and the book moved me deeply.
It gave me hope to read about the trials & tribulations of how long it took to build this class action suit on discrimination against women.

Come a few days ago when the Supreme Court seems to decide that women are no longer a protected class and have ruled that women can not bring a class-action suit against that worker abusing monstrosity Wal-mart.
Aug 04, 2011 Peterladwein rated it liked it
An inside look at the nation's first sexual harassment class action lawsuit. Really sheds light on the adverse effects the litigation process has on plaintiffs -- which is totally eye-opening. Plaintiffs had better be prepared to be raked over the coals by unscrupulous defense attorneys. Very well written, if not a bit emotionally exhausting at times (Louis Jenson did suffer tremendous emotional distress from all this, and it rubs off on the reader).
Jun 02, 2010 james rated it liked it
(I had to read this for class, so maybe that made it less enjoyable.)

All I remember from the books is that the North Country is full of sexist pigs. It was not a very exciting book, but Bingham did a great job making a non-fiction book read like fiction.

Also, it seemed rather biased toward the plaintiffs. Even though apparently the defendants and defendants' counsel refused to be interviewed, I feel the book could have been more evenhanded.
Mary Frances
Aug 01, 2014 Mary Frances rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for those interested in legal cases. It deals with a sexual harassment class action suit against a mining company, in fact the first class action certified for such claims. It is also a great picture of how recently the world was even less concerned about workplace behavior toward women. When the case was first decided, I used it in legal writing classes I was teaching, as it was very new law at that time. It is not a dry compilation of the facts but does an excellent job of ...more
Nov 05, 2008 Kim rated it really liked it
Great story, but the movie was horrible. If you read the book and then see the movie you will have to ask "What the....?" The actual story is fascinating enough - Hollywood did not need to cheese it up and change important storylines. For someone who grew up near the Iron Range in the 70's at the height of the feminist movement and all of the controversy that brought, this was a great read.
Rod Zemke
Jul 28, 2010 Rod Zemke rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book, but it took some liberties with the facts. I know the woman who represented the mining company (a good person and a feminist). It would have been nice if Bingham could have interviewed her for the book (the attorney could not discuss the case as that was part of the settlement).
May 22, 2016 Tera rated it really liked it
3.5 really. Well researched and quite interesting if you have any interest in the law or justice, however, a bit dry at times. It mostly covers the extended court cases (over 20 years of litigation) as well as some of the personal lives of the those involved. It is more about the law, legal processes, and the effects sexual harassment had on the victims and only delves into their personal stories to the extent that they affected or were affected by the case. If you don't enjoy the nuances of the ...more
Nov 17, 2007 Kate rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in workplace issues, sexual harassment
Very interesting book about the first class action sexual harassment lawsuit. The story was the basis for the movie North Country, though the movie greatly oversimplified the legal battle, which went on for more than a decade.
Jun 24, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
It was good for the knowledge I gained, but I think I would have liked it more had I not had to read it in two days for a class that I am taking. Took me by suprise and opened up my eyes for sure.
erin cosens
Sep 09, 2007 erin cosens rated it really liked it
the best account of the difficulty of filing a suit against sexual harassment and the gross failures of sexual harassment law.
Shirley Breheny
Jul 12, 2016 Shirley Breheny rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
This was an extremely informative book, which I actually listened to "on tape." It was written to give all the background, proceedings and outcome of the first class action workplace sexual harassment lawsuit. Every relevant detail was included, including legal data as well as social and emotional events. Personally, I appreciated this about the book, but I could see where this might feel like too much for others. Anyone interested in the historical scope of women's right in the United States sh ...more
Aug 29, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it
Recommended to Linda by: a Walk a Crooked Mile Books find
My favorite genre to read is nonfiction that is so well written you can't put it down. Sometimes it's because it races along like a novel (Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age comes to mind). Other times it's because the author does such a good job of contextualizing the main story with side journeys into related topics to give you a fuller understanding of the main story (Triangle: The Fire That Changed America is an excellent example of this type). Class Act ...more
Lori Simpson
Mar 07, 2015 Lori Simpson rated it really liked it
I have worked with all the judges mentioned, so this was really interesting to me! I was expecting it to be quite graphic about the working conditions in the mines, but instead it was the long legal struggle that caused the most damage. Brave women to change the law for all women in the workplace. Need to watch North Country.
Jun 09, 2015 Buffy rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this true story and at the same time was sad at what these brave women endured. Our rights as women have truly not improved that much at present. However there has to be those brave souls who start the process moving forward. I highly recommend this book be read by all women. The authors did a fantastic job of bringing this story to life and making the reader feel the emotions of the situation as well.
Aug 10, 2016 Martha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
This is a great book about a landmark case in sexual harassment/hostile workplace law. One woman was particularly courageous and persistent in pursuing the case to its final settlement ten years after the original suit was filed.

May 08, 2015 Kat rated it really liked it
This book tells a galling story of an abusive workplace, and the incredible perseverance it took to bring the case through court. The pacing is good, and the content is balanced.
Pam Herrmann
May 09, 2015 Pam Herrmann rated it liked it
The true story of the women who worked at the Eveleth Minnesota mine. The sexual discrimination they endured over the years was appalling. Lois Jenson spearheaded the lawsuit that lasted over 10 years and took away the peace from their lives and left some unable to ever work again from PTSD. I did grow a little bored with the book as there were a lot of repeated stories but I'm sure it was done to show the grueling process these women went thru. It definitely was a legal milestone that helped im ...more
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