• Title XII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made sexual harassment discriminatory

  • Sexual harassment is illegal and unfair

  • Undermines fairness, respect, trust, morale, and productivity

  • Anyone can be an instigator or victim

  • Sexual harassment may link sex to work-related rewards or penalties or create a hostile work environment

  • Sexual harassment is physical, verbal, or nonverbal sexual conduct that the target does not want and finds uncomfortable

  • Employers can be legally liable unless they have strong, well-publicized sexual harassment policies that are well publicized

  • Employers must follow through with reporting, investigation, and penalties for violators


  • Quid Pro Quo – Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute “quid pro quo” sexual harassment when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, or (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual.

  • Hostile Environment – Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute “hostile environment” sexual harassment when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.


  • Whether the conduct was verbal or physical or both

  • how frequently it was repeated

  • Whether the conduct was hostile or patently offensive

  • Whether the alleged harasser was a co worker or supervisor

  • Whether others joined in perpetrating the harassment

  • Whether the harassment was directed at more than one individual


  1. The employee’s inquiry is filed with the EEOC or a state commission dealing with human rights.

  2. If the EEOC finds that there may be probable cause-a reasonable possibility of discrimination, the commission requests the employer’s records.

  3. The EEOC arranges a conciliation meeting with the employer to discuss the employee’s complaint.

  4. If there is no satisfactory conciliation agreement, the EEOC may issue a right to sue to the complainant.


  • The fear of losing one’s job.

  • The need for a future job reference.

  • The possibility of being considered a troublemaker.

  • The assumption that nothing would change if harassment was reported.

  • Concerned about being accused of inviting the harassment.

  • A reluctance to draw public attention to private lives.

  • The prospect of emotional stress for filing a lawsuit and undergoing long, costly legal procedures.


  1. Do not presume guilt

  2. Use the reasonable person standard

  3. Maintain confidentiality

  4. Document all complaints

  5. Establish clear policies

  6. Provide training, training, training to ALL employees


Sexual Harassment Resource Page by Robert Gaines and Susan Gerritsen

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: A Primer by Barry Roberts and Richard Mann

Press Release from the U. S. Department of Defense, July 2, 1996


Sexual harassment in the active-duty military is declining according to a recent Department of Defense survey. Between 1988 and 1995, the percentage of military women who reported that they had received uninvited and unwanted sexual attention from someone at work during the last 12 months declined from 64 to 55 percent. The percentage for men dropped from 17 to 14 percent. In addition, survey respondents with six to ten years of experience were asked their opinion of how often sexual harassment occurs, compared to a few years ago. Sixty percent of female respondents and 76 percent of males reported that it occurs less frequently. Only ten percent of female respondents and 5 percent of males said sexual harassment occurs more often today.

The survey was fielded at the same time other Department initiatives to prevent sexual harassment were being implemented. Three survey forms were mailed to military members between February and September 1995. The first survey replicated a 1988 DoD survey so as to provide comparisons to the 1988 timeframe. A second survey differed from the first in three ways. It provided: (1) survey respondents an opportunity to report on an expanded list of behaviors and to indicate if they considered any of those behaviors to have been sexual harassment; (2) an opportunity to report on experiences that occurred outside of their military duty hours; and (3) measures of Service members’ perceptions of the complaint process and the extent of effectiveness of training related to sexual harassment. A third survey, for which no results were tabulated, was administered to a small sample to provide information that researchers could use to transition to a single survey in the future.

In addition to the decline in sexual harassment, other indications that Department initiatives were already making a difference were:

· Training: Over 80 percent of members reported being trained and about 60 percent indicated the training was moderately or very effective. · Awareness of Sexual Harassment: When asked if they knew what words and actions constitute sexual harassment, 82 percent of female respondents and 84 percent of men said “to a large extent.”

· Reporting: Eighty-seven percent of female respondents and 89 percent of men said they knew the process for reporting sexual harassment. Also, personnel are increasingly reporting their experiences. In 1995, 40 percent of female respondents and 17 percent of men indicated they chose to report an incident, compared to 1988 when 8 percent of the women surveyed and 10 percent of men said they had done so.

Regardless of improvements to date, any incidence of sexual harassment is unacceptable. Secretary of Defense William Perry said, “all employees of this Department have a right to carry out their jobs without discrimination or harassment.” He and all senior leaders in the Department are committed to the implementation and enforcement of appropriate policies and safeguards to ensure that all members are assured of this basic right.

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