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Sexual Harassment Defined

Sexual harassment often occurs within the framework of a power imbalance. The person harassing has a real or perceived power over the person who is being harassed.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when:

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as term or condition of person's employment or a student's academic success.
  • submission to, or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individuals.
  • such conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual's work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment.

Sexual harassment is behavior that:

  • is unwanted or unwelcome.
  • is sexual in nature or gender-based.
  • is severe, pervasive and/or repeated.
  • has an adverse impact on the workplace or academic environment.

Two Kinds of Sexual Harassment

USU, along with state and federal law, recognize and prohibit two basic kinds of sexual harassment:

  • Quid pro quo (this for that) harassment occurs when sexual favors or activities are explicitly or implicitly demanded in exchange for job or educational benefits.
  • Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when unwelcome sexual conduct significantly interferes with school or work performance, and creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive learning or working environment.