Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome action, language or visual representation of a sexual nature that has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or that creates a hostile working, educational, or living environment. … A second form of sexual harassment (hostile work environment) exists when an individual is subjected to unwelcome discriminatory conduct because of his/her sex or gender that is either severe or pervasive, alters the work or educational conditions of the individual, and creates an abusive environment.
Sexual harassment also includes gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression or hostility based on gender, sexuality or sex- or gender-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
Examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment include:
- making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or humor, not pedagogically appropriate
- verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, suggestive or obscene letters, notes or invitations, not pedagogically appropriate
- objectively offensive comments of a sexual nature, including persistent or pervasive sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes, which a reasonable peer would find offensive and which are not pedagogically appropriate
- leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of suggestive objects or pictures, cartoon or posters in a public space or forum, not pedagogically appropriate
- severe, persistent or pervasive visual displays of suggestive, erotic or degrading sexually oriented images, not pedagogically appropriate
- letters, notes or electronic communications containing comments, words or images described above, not pedagogically appropriate
The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” is based on a reasonable person standard, considering all the circumstances.