Explanation of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; as amended, by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; and, in Kentucky, by the Fair Employment Practices Act, KRS 344.010-.500, 207.170.

Sexual harassment involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical behaviors related to a person’s gender, sexual identity, or sexuality when:

  1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s academic advancement or employment;
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions or academic decisions affecting such individual; or
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment.

Items 1 and 2 above describe what is known as quid pro quo (this for that) harassment. This type of harassment involves promise of reward or threat of punishment, explicitly or implicitly, for sexual cooperation. In quid pro quo one incident is enough to constitute sexual harassment.

Item 3 above describes what is known as “hostile environment” harassment. Though this type of harassment is not always recognized, and often goes unreported and unpunished, it is nevertheless an offense under federal and College guidelines. Generally, a pattern of behavior is required to create a hostile environment, though such behavior may be so egregious that a single incident is enough to create such an environment.