Was it sexual in nature (about sex or sexuality, or directed at someone because of their sex)?
Was it explicitly or implicitly a condition of
or basis for employment or academic decisions (a quid pro quo situation)?
Did it have the effect, intended or unintended, of unreasonably
interfering with an individual's work or academic performance because it has
created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment and would have
such an effect on a reasonable person of that individual's status?
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 a term or condition of an individual's employment or education;
Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or education-related decisions affecting such an individual, or;
Such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it has the effect, intended or unintended, of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance because it has created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment and would have such an effect on a reasonable person of that individual's status.
*Employee conduct directed towards a student--whether unwelcome or welcome--can constitute sexual harassment under OAR 580-015-0010(2).
What should I do if I'm being sexually harassed?
REPORT IT! You can report it to your supervisor if it is another
employee that is doing the harassing. If you do not feel comfortable
talking with people in your place of employment or if you are a student
then report it directly to the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal
What should I do if it is my manager who is sexually harassing
Take your grievance to the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal
Opportunity. They will help contact the necessary authorities to deal
with the situation.
My old boyfriend, who works at the same department with me,
continues to make lewd comments and touch me. Could I file for sexual
Yes you can. It doesn't matter who the person is if they doing/saying
anything to you in a sexual way that is unwelcome you can file a sexual
I told my supervisor that I was being sexually harassed, but I asked
her not to do anything about it. She's investigating anyway. Isn't she
supposed to keep my confidence?
No. Your supervisor has a legal obligation to address the
alleged harassment. This should be done by reporting the incident to
OAAEO. Everyone involved will do all they can to protect you confidence
but can not ignore allegations of harassment.
I've been accused of harassment, but I don't think I did anything
wrong. What should I do?
If the person who feels harassed comes to you directly, take them
seriously. Make sure you respond in an appropriate and professional
manner. If you are asked to leave someone alone, leave them alone. You
do not have the right to interact socially with anyone. Express regret
for any offensive behavior and agree to treat people appropriately. If
you have a formal complaint has been filed against you, you will be
contacted by OAAEO.
Is same sex harassment illegal?
Is it sexual harassment if it's only verbal?
Yes. Unwelcome sexual conduct includes both actions, such as hugging,
neck rubbing, and other inappropriate touching, as well as verbal conduct,
such as compliments on appearance, jokes, vulgar language and so on.
What is "quid pro quo" sexual harassment?
Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment means the exchange of one thing for
another. Usually this means that the supervisor is demanding sexual
favors in exchange for getting a promotion or a raise. In the case of
students it would be the exchange of sexual favors for things such as
good grades or other educational benefits.
Is there a statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment claim?
Yes, the complaint must be filed within 365 days of the alleged
My co-worker says that an employer could be responsible for sexual
statements, actions and so forth by non-employees. Is this really
Yes, the university is responsible for providing an harassment free
environment. If visitor, vendors, applicants, or others are engaging
in inappropriate behavior, this could be harassment.
What is "Hostile Environment" sexual harassment?
A hostile environment is one where a persons ability to function
within the space is impaired by the actions of another.
What factors determine whether an environment is "hostile"?
To answer this question there are many factors that must be taken
into account. First off did the harassed feel that the environment was
hostile? Was it reasonable for them to feel this way? Circumstances
that need to be looked at include: the nature of the conduct, how often
the conduct occurred, how long the conduct continued, the age and sex
of the harassed, whether the conduct adversely affected the harassed
work/education or working/educational environment, whether the alleged
harasser was in a position of power over the harassed, the number of
alleged harassers, the age of the alleged harasser, where the harassment
occurred, other incidents of sexual harassment involving the same or
other harassment complainants.
What is unwelcome sexual conduct?
This is behavior such as emails, jokes, hugs or touching, comments,
proposals, etc. that are of a sexual nature. This could include a dirty
joke, asking for a date, asking for sexual favors, giving a back rub,
touching someone's leg, etc. Remember sexual harassment is not based on
whether harassers intended to conduct themselves in an unwanted sexual
way, but rather it is based on whether the harassed feels that it is
unwanted sexual behavior.
Who can be a victim of sexual harassment?
Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment. No one person is immune
from being made uncomfortable by people's actions. You can be male,
female, young, old, Hispanic, homosexual, straight, African American or
Caucasian. You can be a supervisor or an employee and still experience
Who can be a sexual harasser?
This is the same as above. No one is immune from making people feel
uncomfortable. People's levels of comfort vary greatly. Something you
might not find offensive could be very offensive to someone else.
Can one incident constitute sexual harassment?
Yes. Now there are some considerations here. While one incident can
be considered sexual harassment that does not necessarily mean that it is
actionable. This means that one action might not necessarily constitute
the filing of a formal complaint. Unless it is an egregious offense such
as a sexual assault or groping, one incident can usually be handled
without formal disciplinary action.
Q: Must sexual conduct be unwelcome in order to be sexual harassment?
A: Yes. Conduct is unwelcome if the recipient does not request or invite the conduct, and views it as offensive or undesirable. However, just because a subordinate or co-worker does not immediately speak out or complain does not mean that the sexual conduct was welcome. The recipient of the behavior might feel that objecting would only result in increasing the harassing conduct. Sometimes, people feel intimidated by the conduct and/or feel too embarrassed, confused or fearful to complain or resist. Also, someone who willingly participates in conduct on one occasion may later decide that the same conduct on a subsequent occasion has become unwelcome.
Q: Does all sexual conduct create a sexually hostile environment?
A: No. Although even one incident of quid pro quo harassment (for example, threatening to fail a student) is unlawful, generally, a hostile environment may be created by a series of incidents. So, for example, a sexual joke, even if offensive to the student to whom it was told, will not by itself create a sexually hostile environment. However, a sexual assault or other severe single incident can create a hostile environment.
Q: When does sexual conduct create a sexually hostile environment?
A: In order to answer this question several factors must be considered. Did the student view the environment as hostile? Was it reasonable for the student to view the environment as hostile? All relevant circumstances should be considered, including the following:
the nature of the conduct
how often the conduct occurred
how long the conduct continued
the age and sex of the student
whether the conduct adversely affected the student's education or educational environment
whether the alleged harasser was in a position of power over the student subjected to the harassment
the number of alleged harassers
the age of the alleged harasser
where the harassment occurred
other incidents of sexual harassment at the school involving the same or other students.
Q: Will OSU let future employers or universities know that Ive filed a claim of sexual harassment?
No. Federal law prohibits OSU from sharing information about sexual harassment claims with future employers or universities that you may apply to.