Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment

Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when verbal, non-verbal and/or physical conduct is:

  • sexual and/or based on sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation (actual or perceived).
  • unwelcome, and
  • sufficiently severe and pervasive to interfere with a person’s work/learning/program performance or to create a hostile, intimidating or offensive environment.

The determination is made on a case-by-case basis looking at the whole record, including the circumstances (such as the nature of the sexual advances) and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.
Some behaviors which may be acceptable in certain contexts are inappropriate in the workplace or classroom, particularly if an objection is expressed. Whether or not the behavior is contrary to law or university policy depends upon the circumstances of each case.