WHA CARES
Committee on Assault Response and Educational Strategies

Sexual Harassment: Know Your Rights

There are steps that you can take if you believe that you have been the target of campus sexual harassment. For more information, see the resources below. Since the legal landscape for survivors of campus sexual harassment is quickly changing as a result of new Department of Education rules regarding Title IX, note that much of the Know Your Rights literature issued by campuses and non-profit advocacy organizations is currently being updated. Finally, please be advised that the information below does not constitute legal advice.

What is Sexual Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

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