Office of Affirmative Action and Employment Practices: Understanding Sexual Harassment

Category: Harassment Policies School: Indiana University, Northwest Statement Rating: Yellow Last updated: September 1, 2017

Relevant excerpt

Harassment is a pattern of behaviors which is sexual in nature and creates a workplace or academic climate that “unreasonably interferes” with performance. “Sexual in nature” refers not only to “amorous” behavior but also to hostile conduct of a sexual or non‐sexual nature. If you aren’t sure if certain behavior creates a hostile work environment, ask yourself whether a “reasonable person” would be offended. The “reasonable person” is the standard used at Indiana University to determine hostile work environment.

Sexual harassment can be a one time occurrence (for example, sex for grades) or a continuing pattern of behavior (for example, sexually explicit jokes). The context, severity, and frequency of the behavior must be considered when determining sexual harassment. Listed below are some of the behaviors which may be considered sexual harassment and sexual violence.


Verbal Harassment

  • Suggestive or insulting sounds
  • Sexist jokes or humor
  • Gender specific insults or comments
  • Unwanted sexual invitations, propositions, or pressure

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