Department Heads' Resources
Brian Niehoff, Coordinator
202 Anderson Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506


785-532-6507 fax

Identifying Sexual Harassment

Our definition of sexual harassment is reprinted here:

Any behavior which, through inappropriate sexual content or disparagement of members of one sex, interferes with an individual's work or learning environment. The most extreme form of sexual harassment is an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship by misusing an employment or educational relationship. However, any behavior whether verbal or physical, constitutes sexual harassment, if:

  • A person is intimidated by the threat, overt or implicit, that any educational or employment decision may be affected by an unwillingness to tolerate or accept sexual attentions (Those decisions may involve grades, recommendations, evaluations, and all decisions about the requirements, terms, and conditions of employment or learning.) [or]
  • A person is required to tolerate or accept sexual attentions as a condition of employment or learning. [or]
  • The behavior creates an environment that is intimidating, hostile or offensive for members of one sex, and thus interferes with a person's ability to work or learn. [or]
  • Any educational employment decision has been affected by a person's refusal to comply with or tolerate inappropriate sexual behavior. [or]
  • Any reprisals are taken for reporting or objecting to sexual harassment.

This definition is not a list of specific behaviors. It is based on the principle that sexual harassment occurs when one person is subjected to work or learning environments in which they experience unwanted and inappropriate sexual conduct and content or the disparagement of their gender. What is unwanted is decided by the individual. We use the "reasonable person" standard to decide if something is inappropriate. This means that one must consider both the pattern and context in which something occurs to decide if it constitutes a violation of our policy.