Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination defined under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and is an abuse of power characterized by manipulation, coercion, or unwanted sexual attention.
There are two types of sexual harassment:
Quid Pro Quo (which means "this for that") harassment occurs when a supervisor or instructor makes employment or academic decisions based on an individual's willingness to go along with requests for sexual favors or makes sexual behavior a term or a condition of employment.
Hostile Work Environment harassment is a pattern of behavior which is sexual in nature and creates a workplace or academic climate that "unreasonably interferes" with performance. "Sexual in nature" refers not only to "amorous" behavior but also to hostile conduct of a non-sexual nature which is based on a particular sex.
Examples of behaviors related to sexual harassment:
- Inappropriate touching, pating, feeling, pinching
- Unwanted kissing or fondling
- Coerced sexual encounter or assault
- Suggestive or insulting sounds
- Sexist jokes or humor
- Gender specific insults or comments
- Unwanted sexual invitations, propositions, or pressure
- Leering, ogling, and obscene gestures
- Circulating sexually explicit materials
- Blocking someone's path
- E-mails, faxes sexual in nature
If you are unsure of your own behavior, ask yourself, "Would I be acting this way if my spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend were standing next to me?"