Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favor, and other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when:

  • The unwanted sexual or gender based behavior adversely affects working conditions or learning environment and becomes and obstacle in the individuals day to day life.
  • If behavior is sexual or based on gender and would upset a reasonable person.

There are two types of harassment:

  • Quid-Pro-Quo or “This for That”- Sex or sexual favors in exchange for benefits
  • Hostile Work Environment – interferes with work/school performance The behavior must be sufficiently severe or sufficiently pervasive

Reasonable Person Standard

If someone is upset by sexual misconduct and a reasonable person would also be upset, it’s probably illegal sexual harassment. On the contrary, if someone gets upset by rude behavior and a reasonable person would not be offended, it’s probably not illegal harassment.

What should I do if I am being sexually harassed?

  • Don’t Blame Yourself!
  • Clearly say “no”! -- Tell the person their behavior offends you
  • Write down what happened.
  • There is no one way to respond to sexual harassment. Every situation is different, and you can only evaluate the problem and pick the best response.

Examples of sexual harassment:

  • Sexual comments, teasing, or jokes
  • Suggestive gestures, sounds, or whistles
  • Inquiries or discussions about sexual activities
  • Pressure to accept social invitations, to meet privately, to date, or to have sexual relations
  • Sexual slurs, demeaning or derogatory statements, or other verbal abuse
  • Graphic or sexually suggestive comments about an individual’s attire of body
  • Unwanted or unnecessary physical contact, sexual touching, brushing up against another in a sexual manner, graphic or sexually suggestive gestures, cornering, pinching, grabbing, kissing, or fondling
  • Suggestive, obscene or harassing messages sent via computer or phone;
  • Requesting or demanding sexual favors in exchange for employment or academic opportunities (such as promotions, keeping a job, grades, or recommendations).