Guide to the University of Pennsylvania Sexual Harassment Policy

Relevant excerpt

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes harassment when: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or study environment.

Sexual harassment can be exhibited using three types of behaviors – verbal, non-verbal behaviors and gestures, and physical contact. Some types of verbal behavior that might constitute sexual harassment, especially when occurring in combination with offensive touching are:

  • Continuous and persistent sexual slurs or sexual innuendoes
  • Offensive and persistent risqué jokes or kidding about sex or gender-specific traits ƒ
  • Repeated unsolicited propositions for dates and/or sexual relations

Gestures or non-verbal behaviors might also be considered sexual harassment where they are persistent, severe, and offensive. Examples may include:

  • Sexual looks and lewd gestures, such as leering or ogling with suggestive overtones ƒ
  • Touching oneself sexually or persistent and unwelcome flirting ƒ
  • Displaying sexually suggestive pictures, calendars, or posters ƒ
  • Stalking

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