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Sexual/Peer Harassment

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Sexual/Peer Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advance or conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working/learning environment.   For sexual harassment to be actionable, you generally have to demonstrate it has happened repeatedly, although one flagrant act may be sufficient to trigger action.  The key to defining sexual harassment is asking the question:  “is this offensive conduct that a reasonable person should not have to endure?”  It has to be unwanted, sexual, and offensive.



•  Calling a person a doll, babe, or honey.

•  Making sexual innuendoes.

•  Telling sexual jokes or stories.

•  Making sexual comments about a person's clothing, body, or looks.

•  Turning discussions to sexual topics.


•  Looking a person up and down (elevator eyes) .

•  Staring at someone.

•  Displaying sexual and/or derogatory comments about men/women on coffee mugs, hats, clothing, etc.

•  Invading a person's body space; standing closer than appropriate or necessary for the work being done.

•  Making sexual gestures with hands and/or body movements.


•  Massaging a person's neck, shoulders, etc.

•  Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around or in the view of another person .

•  Brushing up against a person.

•  Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking.

 What defines Peer Harassment?

Harassment from a peer - an equal. Consists of at one end of the scale so-called “teasing,” sexual innuendoes, and bullying of a sexist nature, both physical and verbal.  At the other end of the scale is explicit sexual harassment up to and including sexual aggression.  Peer harassment can occur from student to student or faculty member to faculty member.


1. Behavior that is clearly wrong any time it happens:  grabbing someone's genitals, forced kissing, nasty insults, blocking someone's way, stalking.

2. Behavior that is offensive to some people and not to others:  jokes, language, teasing.

3. Behavior that may or may not be offensive, depending on who is doing it or how it is done (the nature of the relationship) touching, compliments, asking someone out for a date.


Link for more information about sexual harassment:

Facts About Sexual Harassment


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