The words “sexual harassment” are often thrown around in news stories and workplaces, while almost no one really understands what exactly entails sexual harassment.
Some things that may seem normal can be sexual harassment, and some things that are not normal can be determined not sexual harassment.
For example, the University of La Verne sexual harassment policy covers sexual harassment on and off campus.
It is determined as any act that creates a hostile work environment with regards to remarks or acts based on sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, color, national origin, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, age or any other basis protected by law.
In other words, many things that are offensive to a normal person are deemed sexual harassment.
Although sexual jokes are very popular in society today, one that is deemed offensive or hurtful is classified as sexual harassment.
So be careful with those “Lady who lived in a shoe” limericks and racist jokes.
Even if someone simply overhears the joke and is offended, charges can be filed.
In addition, grades or professional advancement cannot be held back from a student or faculty member for not performing sexual favors or inappropriate acts.
The college stereotype of sleeping with a teacher for a grade is an act that is completely off-limits.
Sexual harassment is not restricted to male and female, or student and teacher.
Same sex relationships are also included, and student-on-student or faculty-on-faculty are also sexual harassment.
The sexual harassment code can go pretty far.
For example, if an offensive picture is put onto a computer as a background or screen saver, the person charged with putting that on the screen can be charged with sexual harassment.
However, a compliment cannot be construed as sexual harassment.
If a teacher or another student tells you something nice about a shirt or how you look today, that is a nice gesture, not harassment.
The easiest thing is to not fear sexual harassment, but to be mindful of the policies and what is deemed sexual harassment
Be aware of what you are doing, and what other people are doing to you in order to promote a safe and healthy school environment.