Policy Library: Discrimination and Harassment

Relevant excerpt

Iowa State University also prohibits harassment, which can be a form of discrimination if it is unwelcome and is sufficiently severe or pervasive and objectively offensive so as to substantially interfere with a person’s work or education. Harassment may include, but is not limited to, threats, physical contact or violence, pranks, jokes, bullying, epithets, derogatory comments, vandalism, or verbal, graphic, or written conduct directed at an individual or individuals because of their race, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or U.S. veteran status.

1.1. Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment, in its legal definition, includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests to engage in sexual conduct, and other physical and expressive behavior of a sexual nature where (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used, or threatened or suggested to be used, as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting the individual; or (3) such conduct creates a hostile, intimidating or demeaning environment that is sufficiently severe, pervasive and objectively offensive to substantially interfere with an individual’s academic or professional performance. Determination as to whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment should take into consideration the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.

Under this policy, sexual harassment can be verbal, visual, or physical. It can be overt, as in the suggestion that a person could get a higher grade or a raise in salary by submitting to sexual advances. The suggestion or the advance need not be direct or explicit–it can be implied from the conduct, circumstances, and relationships of the persons involved. Sexual harassment can also consist of persistent, unwelcome attempts to change a professional or academic relationship to a romantic or sexual one. It can range from unwelcome sexual expressions directed at individual persons or classes of people to serious physical abuses such as sexual assault. Examples could include, but are not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances; repeated and unwelcome sexually-oriented bullying, teasing, joking, or flirting; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; commentary about an individual’s body, sexual prowess, or sexual deficiencies; leering, touching, pinching, or brushing against another’s body; or displaying objects or pictures, including electronic images, which are sexual in nature and which create a hostile or offensive work, education, or living environment.

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