Sexual Harassment - It's Not Okay

Title IX was passed in 1972 and expressly prohibits sexual harassment in any educational arena. It also prohibits harassment in any business or office that gets funds from the US government. Many private companies now prohibit harassment in the workplace as well, putting into place specific rules and regulations to protect employees. It covers a number of different topics and also covers dating in the workplace.

Examples of Sexual Conduct

Sexual harassment is any form of sexual conduct that takes place in a school, business or organization. It applies to people of the same sex or people of the opposite sex in that another male can harass another male as well as females, or vice-versa. It refers to any type of verbal or nonverbal action, including physical actions. Any type of sexual touching is an example of sexual conduct, as is talking about doing sexual things to another person and distributing sexually explicit information. Other examples of sexual conduct include making sexual gestures, promising favors for sexual acts or spreading sexual rumors about another person.

Unwelcome or Welcome Advances

Sexual harassment refers only to unwelcome advances. This means that the student or employee didn’t ask for the conduct or agree to it. It even applies to advances where the person says or does nothing. An example is an employee who doesn’t explicitly state that they don’t want to hear the dirty jokes, but never willingly agreed to hear them.


All types of sexual conduct create a hostile environment and it doesn’t have to be continual actions. In other words, a single incident can cause a hostile environment. It not only causes the harassed person to feel uncomfortable, but others in the vicinity as well. Those who see the harassment take place often feel uncomfortable in their surroundings, which results in a hostile environment.

Preventing Harassment

The prevention of sexual harassment is an important step. The easiest way to do this is by setting up a series of rules or regulations that everyone must follow. The school or business can also host meetings where they run over the rules to ensure that everyone understands them. Many places also declare their own safety officer, which gives individuals a place to go when they feel violated or threatened.

Reporting Harassment

When confronted with sexual harassment, telling someone about the incident is the most important step. Individuals should also make it clear that the behavior is unwanted and ask the instigator to stop. It’s also helpful to ensure that others are in the area because it gives witnesses to the incident. Cases where witnesses were present have a better chance of being validated.

Reacting to Claims

When an individual files a claim of sexual harassment, the organization in charge should take specific steps to determine if the claim is valid. They first hold their own investigation of the incident(s), which involves talking to all those involved as well as witnesses. They then make a determination based on the facts that determines what happens next. It might result in termination, probation or some type of formal action such as a letter on their permanent record.

Resources for help and more information:

Sexual harassment is a hot button topic, to the point where even dating services now mention it in their charters. Those who feel they’ve been a victim of should contact authorities as soon as possible.

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