Basically, sexual harassment means bothering
someone in a sexual way. For a persons behavior to be
considered sexual harassment, it must meet three
1. Be unwelcome
2. Be sexual in nature
3. Occur in or impact on the work environment
Unwelcome behavior is behavior that a person
doesnt ask for and considers undesirable or offensive.
Not everyone has the same perception (idea) of what is
undesirable or offensive. Whats okay for some people
isnt okay for others.
So, whose perception should be used, the person
who is giving the unwelcome behavior or the person
receiving (recipient) the unwelcome behavior? The
person receiving the behavior is being affected;
therefore, its the recipients perception that counts. If
the recipient is a reasonable person and not overly
sensitive, behavior which the recipient finds
unwelcome should be stopped. From the view of the
recipient, this is a reasonable personal standard and
is really no more than using common sense.
BEHAVIOR WHICH IS SEXUAL IN
Behavior that is sexual in nature is fairly easy to
determine. For example, if someone tells sexually
explicit jokes, displays sexually suggestive pictures,
and talks about sex, that persons behavior is sexual in
Some people consider other behaviors, such as
touching, to be sexual in some cases but not in others.
Not all touching is sexual in nature. However, touching
certain parts of the body or done suggestively is sexual
in nature. Again, using common sense is normally
enough to tell whether a certain behavior is sexual in
OCCUR IN OR IMPACT ON THE WORK
For sexual harassment to occur, unwelcome sexual
behavior must occur in or impact on the work
Quid Pro Quo (This for That)
When someone is offered or denied something that
is work-connected in return for submitting to or
rejecting unwelcome sexual behavior, that person is
being subjected to a type of sexual harassment known as
quid pro quo (this for that).
A person isnt promoted because he/she didnt
submit to unwelcome sexual behavior. This is an
example of quid pro quo sexual harassment. Other
examples include the loss of a job, a demotion, or a bad
Basically, if a work-connected decision is made
because a person is being subjected to or has rejected
unwelcome sexual behavior, sexual harassment has
occurred. Normally, this is from a senior to a junior,
because the senior person can offer something.
If unwelcome sexual behavior of one or more
persons in a workplace interferes with another persons
work performance, sexual harassment has occurred.
Now, suppose the behavior makes the workplace
offensive, intimidating, or abusive to another person,
whether or not work performance is affected. This type
of sexual harassment is called hostile environment. The
following are examples of a persons behavior that
could create a hostile environment:
Use of sexually explicit or sexually offensive
Display sexually oriented posters or calendars of
nude or partially clad individuals.
Touch someone in a suggestive manner (that is,
intentionally brushing against or pinching a
Give someone unwelcome letters, cards, or gifts
of a personal nature that have sexual overtones.
Give unwanted or uninvited pressure for dates.
Some types of unwelcome sexual behavior dont
have to create a hostile environment to be sexual
harassment. If a person fondles or gropes another
person in the workplace, the behavior is considered
sexual harassment. This behavior is considered sexual