Student Handbook: Affirmative Action- Discriminatory Harassment Policy 13-14

Category: Harassment Policies School: Westfield State University Statement Rating: Yellow

Relevant excerpt

“Discriminatory Harassment” is a form of unlawful discrimination including verbal and/or physical conduct based on legally protected characteristics and/or membership in a protected class that:

  1. Has the purpose or effect of creating an objectively intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment; or
  2. Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or learning performance; or
  3. Otherwise unreasonably adversely affects an individual’s employment or educational opportunities.

For purposes of this Policy, speech or other expression constitutes harassment by personal vilification if it:

  1. Is intended to insult or stigmatize an individual or a small number of individuals on the basis of their gender, race, color, disability, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, marital or veteran status; and
  2. Is addressed directly to the individual or individuals whom it insults or stigmatizes; and
  3. Makes use of insulting or “fighting” words or non-verbal symbols.

In the context of discriminatory harassment by personal vilification, insulting or “fighting” words or non-verbal symbols are those that, by their very utterance, tend to incite to an immediate breach of peace, and that are commonly understood to convey direct and visceral hatred or contempt for human beings on the basis of their gender, race, national origin, color, disability, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, marital or veteran status.

For purposes of this Policy, conduct constitutes hostile environment harassment when it:

  1. Is targeted against an individual (s) on the basis of his or her membership in a protected class; and
  2. Is not welcomed by the individual (s); and
  3. Is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it alters the conditions of education or employment and creates an environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive.

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