V. Blair Druhan, a J.D/Ph.D student in Vanderbilt’s Law & Economics program, has won a Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing for her Note, “Severe or Pervasive: An Analysis of Who, What, and Where Matters When Determining Sexual Harassment,”, which was published in the Vanderbilt Law Review in 2013.
Druhan is one of 15 law students nationwide to receive a prestigious Burton Award in 2014. The awards are sponsored by the Burton Foundation, which established an awards program in 1999 to reward “great achievements in law” ranging from legal writing to publications to legal reforms. Druhan’s Note was recognized in the category that honors law students for writing that uses plain, clear and concise language to address complex legal concepts. Award winners will be honored at the Burton Awards Fifteenth Annual Awards Program and Gala, held at the Library of Congress, on June 9.
In her Note, Druhan empirically analyzes survey respondents’ perceptions of sexual harassment, finding support for three legal standards. Her results show that women are more likely to perceive unwanted behaviors as sexual harassment, supporting a reasonable woman standard. In addition, her results support the consideration of the supervisor status of the harasser and the gender composition of the workplace when determining whether unwanted actions constitute sexual harassment.
Druhan, who is attending Vanderbilt as a Law & Economics Scholar, earned a B.S. in economics from Auburn University in 2009. She served as executive editor of the Law Review in 2012-13 after serving on its staff in 2011-12. She received the VLR Candidates Award, given by the second-year Law Review staff to the third-year staff member who is the most effective mentor, in spring 2013. After her graduation in 2015, she plans to clerk for Judge Stephen A. Higginson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She is currently working on her dissertation, currently titled “Judicial and Agency Enforcement of Nondiscrimination Laws,” which addresses the consequences of employment discrimination, including sexual harassment, and the handling of employment discrimination charges.