What is Sexual Harassment?

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

  1. submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of employment or participating in educational programs; or
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the individual; or
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work performance or student’s academic performance creating an intimidating , hostile, or offensive working or learning environment.

There are two forms of sexual harassment:

  • Quid Pro Quo (“This for that”)
    Employment or educational decisions that are made on the condition that a person accepts unwelcome sexual behavior.
    A quid pro quo harassment behavior is chargeable even if it happens only once.
  • Hostile Environment
    Pervasive sex-related verbal or physical conduct that is unwelcome or offensive, and that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the employee’s or the student’s work or school performance.In order to be chargeable, hostile environment must either be extreme or “sustained and non-trivial”.

Sexual harassment can be  physical, visual, and verbal. Below is a list of behaviors that fall in each of those three categories.


(Information in this section taken from West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services,www.fris.org)