The determination of what constitutes sexual harassment will vary with the particular circumstances, but it may be described generally as repeated and unwanted sexual behavior, such as physical contact and/or verbal comments or suggestions, that adversely affects the working or learning environment.
For general policy purposes, sexual harassment may be described as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical conduct and expressive behavior of a sexual nature when:
3. Such conduct has the effect of interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning employment or educational environment.
Examples of such behavior may include sexual propositions, obscene gestures or remarks, suggestive or insulting sounds, and unacceptable body contact.
There are two types of sexual harassment:
2. Hostile environment — when unwelcome sexual behavior has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment.
What Behaviors Can Be Considered Sexual Harassment?
Behaviors that can be considered sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following:
Making suggestive comments about a person’s clothing, anatomy, or looks
Uninvited sexual teasing, telling sexual jokes, or using sexual innuendoes
Asking inappropriate questions about a colleague’s or student’s personal life
Uninvited and deliberate inappropriate touching
Restricting or hindering another person’s movements
Looking a person up and down with ‘elevator eyes’ or staring
Making uninvited sexually suggestive facial expressions, sounds, or gestures
Sending uninvited letters or materials of a sexual nature or making uninvited telephone calls
Repeatedly asking a person out on a date, even after that person has said no
Belittling or ridiculing a gender through comments or jokes
Displaying sexually oriented posters, calendars, cartoons, or other similar material
Response. Be sensitive to responses to your behavior. Pay close attention to both verbal and nonverbal communication; if you observe any sign that you are making someone uncomfortable, stop the offensive behavior immediately.
To determine if your behavior is unwelcome, you should ask yourself the following:
Would I want any of my behavior to be the subject of a column in my organization’s newsletter or to appear on the evening news?
Would I behave the same way if my spouse or significant other were standing next to me?
Would I want someone else to act this way toward my spouse, child, or significant other?