Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advancement, request for sexual favors, or other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature when:
3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment, education, or living environment.
You might be a victim of sexual harassment if:
You are working or studying in an environment made hostile or intimidating by unwelcome, severe, pervasive and persistent behavior based on sex.
Sexual harassment is behavior that frightens, demeans, or belittles, and that interferes with a person’s academic or work life.
Touching, kissing, holding, stroking, hugging, staring, leering, gesturing – any physical contact or behavior that is unwelcome can be harassing.
Any verbal commentary directed at or in the vicinity of someone can be sexual harassment, especially if it is commentary that creates a hostile or intimidating or belittling atmosphere. Comments about appearance and jokes are very often the context for this kind of sexual harassment. Verbal harassment can be direct (person-to-person) or by electronic means (voice mail, radio or TV signal).
What’s recommended? Be respectful of others in your communications. Say only what you know FOR SURE your listeners (see Third Party note below) will find to be acceptable – that is, your comments / jokes are not demeaning or belittling or hostile. If you aren’t SURE, then save what you have to say for a private setting.
Sexual harassment can be created by anything that is meant to be seen – signs, posters, pictures, cartoons, sayings – that contribute to a hostile or intimidating or demeaning atmosphere.
What’s recommended? Be respectful of others in your communications. If you know FOR SURE that anyone seeing what you have in the way of a cartoon, poster, etc. (see Third Party note below) will find it to be acceptable – that is, your pictures/ posters/ cartoons/ etc. are not demeaning or belittling or hostile – then you can display them, within whatever other regulations might apply for your situation. If you aren’t SURE, then save what you have for a private setting – at home, in your room (but not for public viewing).
Working or studying in an atmosphere which is repeatedly experienced as demeaning or hostile or belittling based on sex can be sexual harassment. This kind of atmosphere can be created for a worker by co-workers or for a student by faculty, staff or other students. Jokes, discussions about sexual encounters and fantasies, teasing about an individual’s sexual activity, pinching or stroking, posters and cartoons etc. can create an offensive and hostile atmosphere.
The “poison” can include persistent and repeated notes on a message board, emails or voice mail messages, whistles, sneers, or other comments, posters or cartoons, spreading rumors, following or stalking.
Hostile environment sexual harassment: this occurs when unwelcome sexually harassing conduct is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it affects a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity, or creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment.