What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is an illegal form of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972.
Pursuant to Board Policy 3.01.09, and in keeping with efforts to establish an environment in which the dignity and worth of all members of the institutional community and worth of all members of the institutional community are respected, it is the policy of the El Paso Community College that sexual harassment of employees and students at the College is unacceptable conduct and will not be tolerated. Sexual harassment may involve the behavior of a person of either sex against a person of the opposite or same sex, when that behavior falls within the following definition.
Sexual harassment of employees and students of El Paso Community College is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or grade;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or grade decisions affecting that individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or educational experience, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.
Effects of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment may make a person feel angry, afraid, embarrassed, degraded, and/or intimidated. In some cases, it may result in serious or long-lasting problems (physical illness, withdrawal from social or public activities, drug or alcohol abuse, or difficulty with relationships). Students may also be discouraged from entering fields that have traditionally been gender based.
How to Recognize Sexual Harassment
It is easy to make a determination about sexual harassment when threats or rewards are involved. But there are other forms that include:
- Touching, holding, grabbing, hugging, kissing, “accidental” collisions, other unwanted physical contact, physical assault and rape;
- Offensive jokes and language, threats, comments or suggestions of a sexual nature; and/or
- Nonverbal actions such as staring at a person’s body, leaning over someone, offensive gestures or motions, circulating letters or pictures/cartoons, and other sexually oriented behavior.
If you are ever unsure, ask yourself: Would I want my spouse, child, sister, or parent to have to see or listen to something like this?
While not prohibited, consensual sexual relationships between supervisors and subordinate employees cause special concerns with respect to the existence or appearance of exploitation, abuse of position, or favoritism. In such cases, apparent mutual consent does not preclude initiation of a sexual harassment complaint or a finding of sexual harassment.
Rights & Responsibilities
- Employees and students have the right to an environment free from sexual harassment;
- Each employee and student has a responsibility not to engage in behaviors that constitute sexual harassment;
- If an employee or students feels that he/she is being harassed, that employee or student has the right and the responsibility to either communicate this directly to the harasser or to a supervisor; and
- Supervisors have a responsibility for preventing sexual harassment and for taking prompt effective action if the supervisor knows or should have reason to know of the harassment.
- Recognize your role as a member of the College in taking action to prevent sexual harassment.
- Make a personal commitment to foster a harassment free environment.
- Examine your own behavior.
- Develop greater awareness of cues in the environment which may suggest a need for preventative measure.
- Identify behaviors which require preventative action.
- Remind others of the College’s policy and commitment to preventing and stopping sexual harassment.
What YOU Can Do
- Respond to the problem. Tell the person you find his/her actions offensive.
- Keep a written record of the times, places, and specifics of each incident, including the names of others who may have witnessed the incident.
- Report the harassment to an individual in a position of authority.
- Assist victims in making their feelings known.
- Follow College policies and procedures.
- Encourage the reporting of sexual harassment.
Persons who feel that they have been sexually harassed and wish further information or assistance in filing a complaint should contact: Employee Relations; Vice President; Student Services; any Administrator, such as a department director, Instructional Dean, or an El Paso Community College instructor or counselor.
College Procedure 3.43.01.10 outlines the specific process to address complaints of discrimination against College employees, students, or applicants. The College, however, reserves the right to administratively review such complaints, and to waive the standard complaint procedure and take immediate and appropriate corrective action is deemed necessary.