Step 5: Hostile Environment—Types of Sexual Harassment
Hostile Environment occurs when unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive or abusive employment, service, or educational environment or is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it affects a person's ability to participate in or benefit from a University program or activity. Conditions could include:
- Offensive language
- Sexually offensive signs, cartoons, calendars
- Displaying sexually explicit pictures on computer screen
- Repeated requests for dates
- Requests for sexual favors
- Using terms like "babe," "hottie," "doll," or "gay"
- Unwanted email or letters that are sexual in nature
- Unwelcome touching, hugging, or massages
- Bashing due to sexual orientation - either verbal confrontation, physical violence
A female staff member, Meenah, is asked by her supervisor, Richard, to facilitate the department's weekly Friday meeting while he is out of town at a conference. As a newer member of the department, Meenah visits her colleagues asking for their input on an agenda and topics for the meeting. Chris, longtime staff member tells her that he doesn't usually attend these meetings because they don't have anything to do with him. Chris has also made it known that he believes men and only men should be in charge of meetings. Then, on Friday, he shows up at the meeting and announces that he doesn't understand why the supervisor would appoint Meenah, a female and a newcomer, to run the meetings—"Why do we have a girl running the meeting? Is this some affirmative action thing?"
The following clip is an example of harassment contributing to a hostile environment.