Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policies & Procedures: Harassment

Columbia University

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    Harassment Policies
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Subjecting an individual to unwelcome conduct, whether verbal or physical, that creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive working, learning or campus living environment; that alters the conditions of employment or education; or unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance on the basis of the individual’s membership in a protected class is harassment.

Harassment may include, but is not limited to: verbal abuse; epithets or slurs; negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes; insulting or obscene comments or gestures; and the display or circulation of written or graphic material (including in hard copy, by email or text, or through social media) that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group members of a protected class. Calls, texts, emails, and social media usage by employees can contribute to a hostile work, learning, or living environment, even if they occur away from the workplace premises or not during work hours. Sexual harassment and other gender-based harassment, described further below, are forms of harassment.

The University will determine whether the conduct was humiliating, abusive, or threatening based on both subjective and objective factors, based on the totality of the circumstances surrounding an alleged incident or course of conduct, including, the frequency, nature, and severity of the conduct. The University will determine whether that conduct created a hostile environment by examining whether a reasonable person would find the environment hostile or abusive.