Definitions of Sexual Misconduct

Category: Harassment Policies School: University of Southern Mississippi Statement Rating: Yellow Last updated: September 5, 2017

Relevant excerpt

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.  Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, behavior that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s work environment, educational programs and/or activities, and is based on power differentials (quid pro quo); the creation of a hostile environment; or retaliation.

Whether particular physical, visual, or verbal conduct constitutes harassment in violation of this policy will depend upon all of the facts and circumstances involved, the context in which the conduct occurred, and the frequency, severity and pattern of the conduct.

Not all workplace or educational conduct that may be described as “harassment” affects the terms, conditions or privileges of employment or education.

For example, a mere utterance of an ethnic, gender-based or racial epithet which creates offensive feelings in an employee or student would not normally affect the terms and conditions of their employment or education.

Hostile environment sexual harassment includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe or pervasive and objectively offensive that it alters the conditions of employment or limits, interferes with or denies educational benefits or opportunities, from both a subjective (the alleged victim’s) and an objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint.

Download full policy