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SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE What is it? What can be done about it? Presented by: Janet Hindman, Ed.D. Assistant Superintendent of Academic Programs.

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Presentation on theme: "SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE What is it? What can be done about it? Presented by: Janet Hindman, Ed.D. Assistant Superintendent of Academic Programs."— Presentation transcript:


2 SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE What is it? What can be done about it? Presented by: Janet Hindman, Ed.D. Assistant Superintendent of Academic Programs and Services

3 Today’s Objectives for All Employees Identify sexual harassment when given real-life scenarios. Describe the federal laws prohibiting sexual harassment and the penalties attached to their violation.

4 Today’s Objectives for All Employees Explain the complaint process and list the steps in the reporting procedure. Identify specific corrective actions that will help remedy sexual harassment situations in the classroom and on the job.

5 Why Do We Need To Be Concerned About Sexual Harassment? 1992 Supreme Court Case of Franklin vs. Gwinnett

6 Why Do We Need To Be Concerned About Sexual Harassment? Educational institutions may be forced to pay damages to victims of sexual harassment. Violates an individual’s legal right. Produces a negative impact on all students and employees within the institution.

7 The Costs of Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) continue to climb at a steady rate of 12 to 13 percent each year.

8 The Costs of Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment charges are now the FOURTH most frequently alleged discrimination issue brought before the EEOC. Yet, they are

9 Negative Effects of Sexual Harassment Lower productivity of employees and diminished learning on the part of students; Higher costs due to lower efficiency;

10 Negative Effects of Sexual Harassment Increased absenteeism, turnover, and drop out rates; Court awards, settlements, and fees; Damage to the institution’s public image; and Deterioration of student and staff morale and organizational climate.

11 Definition of Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment is unwanted sexual or gender-based behavior that occurs when one person has formal or informal power over another.

12 Elements of Sexual Harassment Unwelcome sexual advances; Requests for sexual favors; Other sexual conduct--physical or verbal; Any conduct or offensive unequal treatment which occurs because of gender.

13 Types of Sexual Harassment Quid Pro Quo – “This for that.” Hostile Environment

14 Quid Pro Quo “This for that.” Supervisor commits quid pro quo harassment if (s)he makes decisions based on whether an employee accepts or refuses sexual advances.

15 Quid Pro Quo Submission to the conduct is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of obtaining education or employment. Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a factor in decisions affecting that person’s education or employment.

16 Hostile Environment Co-workers create a hostile environment if they interfere with another employee’s work by doing or saying sexually offensive things.

17 Hostile Environment Harassment The victim is usually subjected to unwelcome repeated sexual comments, innuendoes, or touching, which alter conditions or interfere with school or employment performance or access to opportunities provided by the institution.

18 Hostile Environment Harassment Conduct is gender-based and creates an intimidating or offensive place for employees to work or students to go to school. This usually requires a pattern of this sort of behavior, but sometimes one incident is enough, if severe or outrageous.

19 Hostile Environment Harassment Can occur off campus grounds, e.g., school sporting events, on a school bus, on a school trip, in a college sponsored internship program; Can be caused by teachers, professors, administrators, bus drivers, or other staff, students, vendors, or persons temporarily on campus.

20 KEY WORD = UNWELCOME Unwanted, unsolicited behavior Imposed on another

21 What Constitutes Sexual Harassment? PERCEPTION NOT INTENT U.S. Supreme Court determined the conduct is sexual harassment if a reasonable person with the victim’s perspective considers it so.

22 Examples of Sexual Harassment Sexual innuendoes and comments Intrusive sexually explicit questions A neck/shoulder massage Rating a person’s sexuality Repeatedly asking a person out for dates or to have sex Sexual ridicule Frequent jokes about sex or males/females

23 Examples of Sexual Harassment Touching, patting, pinching, stroking, squeezing, tickling, or brushing against someone. Stalking a person; Attempted or actual sexual assault; Letters, notes, telephone calls of a sexual nature.

24 Employee Responsibility to Report Sexual Harassment Be professional and business-like. Be direct and candid about the behavior and your feelings. Report the incident to your supervisor or the District Title IX coordinator. Document actions for your reference.

25 Title IX Coordinator Janet Hindman Assistant Superintendent of Academic Programs and Services Box 30430 Amarillo, Texas 79120 / 806-335-2823 Ext. 217

26 Employee to Student Sexual Harassment Title IX Office of Civil Rights (OCR) defines: Sexual Harassment as __________________. Quid Pro Quo Hostile Environment Legitimate Non-Sexual Touching

27 Employee to Student Sexual Harassment Quid Pro Quo – School employee explicitly or implicitly makes an educational decision based on a student’s submission to unwelcome sexual advances. Hostile Environment – sexually harassing conduct by an employee, another student, or third party, that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it limits a student’s ability to benefit from an educational program.

28 “ Legitimate Non-Sexual Touching” Guidelines state that harassment does not include “legitimate non- sexual touching” such as hugging a student who has achieved a goal or consoling a child with an injury.

29 Was the Conduct Welcome? Romantic relationships between District employees and students constitute unprofessional conduct and are prohibited as outlined in the Employee Handbook. OCR will NEVER view sexual conduct between an adult school employee and an elementary school student as consensual.

30 Was the Conduct Welcome? OCR RARELY considers a romantic relationship consensual between an employee and a secondary student. HPISD and our community would NEVER view this behavior as appropriate.

31 Was the Conduct Severe, Persistent, or Pervasive? OCR considers several factors: Degree to which the conduct affected one or more students’ education or adults’ performance; The type, frequency, and duration of the conduct; Number of individuals involved;

32 Was the Conduct Severe, Persistent, or Pervasive? Age and sex of the alleged harasser and the subject of harassment; Size and location of the school and context in which incident occurred; Other incidents at the school; The identity and relationship of the individuals involved.

33 Student to Student Sexual Harassment – Can We Be Held Liable? Davis vs. Monroe County Court Case reveals that school districts may be held liable for money damages in a case of student to student sexual harassment under Title IX.

34 Davis vs. Monroe County U.S. Supreme Court held that school districts can be held liable in damages only where the school district is deliberately indifferent to sexual harassment, of which the school district has actual knowledge, and deprives victims of access to educational opportunities.

35 Can We Be Held Liable? School districts may be liable in damages under Title IX only for the school district’s failure to act immediately and decisively to end the harassment. The court established a duty upon the school districts to attempt to not permit student to student peer sexual harassment in school, during school hours, on school grounds, or at school- sponsored activities.

36 Can We Be Held Liable? Caution is best when it comes to sexual harassment. When in doubt as to whether they have witnessed casual teasing or sexual harassment, school employees must report what they have seen -- it is not up to the employee to make judgment calls.

37 Examples of Student to Student Sexual Harassment Mooning; Streaking; Shouting obscenities; Leaving obscene messages on computers; Bra, pants, shorts, or skirt snapping; Pulling down someone’s pants, shorts, or skirt; Flipping up skirts;

38 Examples of Student to Student Sexual Harassment Telling someone what sexual behaviors the speaker would like to engage in with that person; Whistling or yelling at women who walk by or rating them. Teasing females or males about their sexuality, breasts, or genitals; Touching and grabbing.

39 What Everyone Should Know! Take the report seriously. Listen, sympathize, but don’t judge. Don’t delay. Respond to concern. Document: DATE and TIME Follow-up on the complaint Avoid using Dangerous Words.

40 DANGEROUS WORDS WHEN RESPONDING TO COMPLAINTS, BE CAREFUL THAT THESE WORDS DO NOT COME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH: It’s just teasing – no big deal. It’s just a joke – lighten up. The people in our school would never do... I know (s)he didn’t mean anything like that.

41 DANGEROUS WORDS “It’s your fault for dressing so provocatively.” “You need to learn to handle these things.” “Just ignore it.” “He puts his arm around everyone.” “You must have wanted it or you would have told him no.” “That’s how they do things where he comes from.”

42 DANGEROUS WORDS “This kind of behavior is part of growing up.” “Why can’t you learn to accept a compliment?” “It’s a matter of hormones, we can’t control that.” “If we had to discipline every student who used bad language, we’d never get anything else done.”

43 Five Steps When Encountering Sexual Harassment 1.Take steps to remedy the immediate situation. 2.Speak to the offending student after class. 3.Speak to the student who was offended. 4.If you think the behavior could be sexual harassment, report it to an administrator. 5.If you deem it necessary or the student requests it, separate the students.

44 Employee Responsibility If behavior does not cease, file a formal complaint or grievance. Information about sexual harassment or sexual abuse of a student shall be reported to the appropriate authorities as required by law.

45 Misconceptions Sexual harassment concerns are killing humor. Humor in the classroom isn’t dead. But jokes or kidding can become bad news when... - There’s a power difference by position - There’s a numerical or other power imbalance between you and your group and another person involved.

46 Misconceptions - When the jokes are frequent and sexually explicit or graphic. - When the jokes are unwelcome. Sexual harassment concerns are killing freedom of speech. Freedom of speech involves the free discussion of ideas... It does not include asking students or employees for sexual favors or intimidating them because of gender.

47 REMEMBER To be sexual harassment the following must be considered: The frequency and severity of the conduct. Was the conduct unwelcome? Was it sexual? Was it gender-based?

48 Personal Behavior Checklist Maintaining harassment-free schools and campuses is critical for encouraging: An open learning environment; Productive and happy employees; Good relationships between students and employees of both genders.

49 Use the checklist to examine how you behave: Does this behavior contribute to getting our goals accomplished? Could this behavior hurt my fellow employees or other students if they were here? Could this behavior be interpreted as harmful or harassing by an outsider? Could this behavior be sending out signals that invite harassing behavior on the part of others?

50 A Rule of Thumb When Considering How an Action will be Perceived: WHEN IN DOUBT, DON’T!

51 SUMMARY: What is Sexual Harassment? It is sometimes difficult to define sexual harassment for three reasons: 1. What is inappropriate for one person may be acceptable to another. 2. There is no single test for distinguishing sexual harassment from merely offensive or inappropriate conduct, although there are guidelines. 3. Context is important.

52 SUMMARY: What is Sexual Harassment? So, when does: A look become a leer? A touch become a grope? A joke become a taunt? A tease become harassment?


54 Thank you! If you have any questions or need any help, please call!

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