What might sexual harassment look like
Examples may include the following unwelcome behavior:
- Unwanted sexual advances, particularly when repeated.
- Repeatedly telling jokes of an explicitly sexual nature in the workplace or academic setting.
- Requests for sexual favors in exchange for hiring, promotion, raises, good grades, or any other workplace or academic benefit.
- Viewing or displaying in sight of others sexually explicit or pornographic material at the workplace or within the academic environment (where not connected to any academic or work-related purpose).
Not all of the following hypothetical examples are sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive to violate the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Related Interpersonal Violence, but all of them involve problematic or questionable behavior that may lead to complaints.
- Jayden’s major requires an internship. Her supervisor at the off-campus internship site has sent her sexually explicit email with links to sexually graphic webpages twice now. Both times the emails were quickly followed by apologies where Jayden’s supervisor explained they were meant for someone else.
- Alex’s work-study supervisor occasionally makes jokes with sexual overtones. As he approaches his second year on the job, Alex’s supervisor mentions the possibility of Alex stepping into a new role that would pay significantly more. When Alex inquires about the job responsibilities and hours, his supervisor shares that it would likely require late nights at the supervisor’s home.
- In one of Kiana’s classes, the professor frequently makes derogatory comments about what women in the class are wearing. While Kiana has never been the direct target of a comment, she begins to notice she’s spending too much time deciding what to wear to class in order to avoid being targeted. (Kiana is thinking about dropping the course).
- Jim, a facilities worker in Gender Inclusive Housing, is generally well liked by residents. He often lingers to chat with them and sometimes goes into their rooms to talk. One resident notices Jim frequently makes flirtatious comments about their physical appearance and often remarks “you look so much prettier when you smile!” Uncomfortable with Jim’s remarks, the student is thinking of moving to a different residence hall.
- Jose is a non-traditional student who has always maintained a perfect GPA. The graduate assistant teaching his lab section asked him to go to dinner with him several times. Each time Jose makes up an excuse to convey his disinterest he notices his lab assignment grades decline. (Jose believes that it is in retaliation for his refusals).
- Jane is Andre’s supervisor. A few months into Andre’s employment Jane adds Andre as a friend on Facebook. One day, in the break room, Jane asks Andre why he’s never posted a photo with a woman. Andre shrugs and walks away. A couple months later, on their walk to the parking lot, Jane spots a rainbow flag bumper sticker on Andre’s car and makes a comment about how the sticker explains her unanswered question from a few months ago. She then adds “I should have known, you’re too handsome and well put together to be straight!” The next day Jane asks Andre if she can set him up with her cousin who is gay. When Andre declines, Jane begins asking what his type is and shares she has many gay friends he “can choose from.”
- Nia is in a tenure track position. She begins dating Kenji, a tenured professor in the department who happens to sit on the peer review committee that will consider her reappointment. After several weeks, Nia realizes that Kenji is interested in a more serious relationship than she is. One evening, as Nia is trying to head home, Kenji reminds her that “…one sleepover can make a world of difference come review time.”
- A resident in Imani’s residence hall has been sending her suggestive Snapchats; though she rarely views them, she seems to be receiving more by the day. When Imani passes the resident in the hallway he makes comments about her body and recently grazed her hair. Later that night, he came to Imani’s door to apologize and asked if he could make it up to her with a back rub. Imani declined and shut the door. The next morning she found obscenities written on her white board.
- For some time, Silvia has listened sympathetically when her boss talks about his unhappy marriage. Now he wants her to listen over drinks after work. (Silvia is uncomfortable with the proposition).
- Casey, a third year dental resident, spends a lot of time with her attending faculty, Dr. Smith, seeing patients and reviewing files late at night. One night, Dr. Smith told Casey they “make a great team” and that he wanted to keep in touch after Casey finished her residency. Following that, Dr. Smith frequently reminded Casey of all the professional connections he had that would be beneficial to her. A week before graduation, Dr. Smith invited Casey to dinner at his home to celebrate her accomplishment. While there, they shared several bottles of wine and spoke about an opportunity for Casey to meet a professional connection of Dr. Smith’s the following week. While massaging Casey’s shoulders, Dr. Smith started kissing her neck and whispered in her ear that he was looking forward to taking their relationship to the “next level” once he was no longer her supervisor.
- Jessica is a graduate student attending her first academic conference where she will present a paper. One evening, at a reception, she gets to talking with her advisor’s friend, who works at a different University as a full professor, whose work she’s long admired. When he suggests they go up to his hotel room so he can offer her feedback on her presentation in a quieter setting she asks if they can go to the lobby instead. After her advisor’s friend’s insistence, she agrees to go upstairs. Alone in the elevator, he strokes her hand and comments that he often asks his friend how he’s able to contain himself. Adding he’d be too distracted by Jessica’s beauty to take her on as an advisee.
- Hannah walks by the same construction site every morning to get from her residence hall to her 9:00 AM class. She quickly notices one construction worker who is always on site gives her elevator eyes every time she passes. Hannah feels very uncomfortable each time it happens so she usually wakes up early enough to take a different (longer) route to avoid him. One day, toward the end of the semester, Hannah, wearing a dress, is running late to class and chooses the shorter route by the site. As she passes, Hannah hears him wolf-whistle loudly, followed by a comment about how she should wear form fitting dresses more often. Hannah notices some people nearby laughing at the comment and is left feeling embarrassed and objectified.