Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environment

Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: (1) submission to the conduct is made a term or condition of employment; or (2) submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or (3) the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the employee’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. This definition includes many forms of offensive behavior. The following is a partial list:

  1. Unwanted sexual advances;
  2. Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors;
  3. Making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances;
  4. Visual conduct such as leering, making sexual gestures, or displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons, or posters;
  5. Verbal conduct such as making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, sexually explicit jokes, or comments about any employee’s body or dress;
  6. Verbal sexual advances or propositions;
  7. Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentary about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words to describe an individual, or suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations;
  8. Physical conduct such as touching, assaulting, or impeding or blocking movements;
  9. Verbal, written or electronically transmitted comments, epithets, slurs, jokes, advances or propositions of an offensive nature; and
  10. Retaliation for reporting harassment or threatening to report harassment.

It is unlawful for males to sexually harass females or other males, and for females to sexually harass males or other females. Sexual harassment on the job is unlawful whether it involves coworker harassment, harassment by a manager, or harassment by persons doing business with or for the company.

Prohibited harassment on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, disability, handicap, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship status, status as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era, or any other protected basis, includes behavior similar to sexual harassment, such as:

  1. Verbal conduct such as threats, epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs;
  2. Visual conduct such as derogatory posters, photographs, cartoons, drawings, or gestures;
  3. Physical conduct such as assault, unwanted touching, or blocking normal movement; and
  4. Retaliation for reporting harassment or threatening to report harassment.