Sexual harassment, a form of sex discrimination, is defined as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. There are two typical types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile environment. Conduct of a sexual nature becomes a violation of this policy when: … such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment (hostile environment).
The University also disapproves of conduct of a sexual nature which does not rise to the level of the above definition of sexual harassment but which has a detrimental, although limited, impact on the work or academic environment. The University strongly encourages all persons witnessing or experiencing such conduct to report it (see Section 3) so that the University can take appropriate action. Such conduct may include isolated sexual remarks, sexist comments, gestures, or inappropriate physical behavior of a sexual nature. This could warrant remedial action in order to prevent such behavior from becoming unlawful harassment.
Listed below are examples of behavior that can constitute sexual harassment. The list is not all-inclusive; in addition, each situation must be considered in light of the specific facts and circumstances to determine if harassment has occurred.
- Suggestive or obscene letters, notes, invitations
- Electronic communications, such as e-mail, text messaging, and Internet use, that are sexual in nature
- Unwelcome sexual jokes or comments (including favorable comments about someone’s gender, body, or appearance)
- Impeding or blocking movements, touching, or any physical interference or stalking
- Sexually oriented gestures; or displaying sexually suggestive or derogatory objects, pictures, cartoons, or posters
- Threats or insinuations that refusal to provide sexual favors will result in reprisals; withholding support for appointments, recommendations, promotions, or transfers; or change of assignments or poor performance reviews or grades
- Sexual or gender-based violence, including, but not limited to, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion
In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment, the totality of the circumstances will be considered, including the frequency of the discriminatory conduct; its severity; and whether it is physically threatening, humiliating, or pervasive to the environment. When the University determines that a hostile environment exists, it takes action to stop the harassment and ensure it does not happen again.