Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature in the workplace or learning environment, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).The EEOC and New York Human Rights law have categories for two-forms of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.

Quid pro quo is where unwelcome sexual conduct is used as the basis for hiring or other employment decisions, such as promotions, raises or job assignments.

A hostile work environment occurs when unwelcome verbal or physical sexual conduct unreasonably interferes with the victim’s ability to do his/her job or creates an offensive or intimidating environment on the job

More to know about sexual harassment:

  • Sexual harassment may be verbal, visual and/or physical, and may include sexually offensive remarks or jokes, unwanted touching or groping, coerced sex acts, requests for sexual favors of a sexually suggestive nature, displaying pornographic images, comments (either complimentary or derogatory) about a person’s gender or sexual preferences, and sexual gestures.
  • Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.
  • A harasser may be someone the victim knows well or not at all. The harasser can identify with any gender and have any relationship to the victim, including being a direct manager, indirect supervisor, coworker, teacher, peer or colleague.
  • Sexual harassment can occur in the workplace or learning environment, like a school or university. It can happen in many different scenarios including after-hours conversations, exchanges in the hallways and non-office settings of employees or peers.

Sexual harassment is prohibited by Title VII of the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act, New York State Human Rights Law and, in some instances, local law (for example, the New York City Administrative Code). The NYS Human Rights Law also protects against harassment based on gender identity or transgender status.

Harassment on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation is also prohibited by the New York State Orientation Non-Discrimination Act.

Although sexual harassment laws do not usually cover teasing or offhand comments, these behaviors can also be upsetting and have a negative emotional effect. Sexual harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The Sexual and Relationship Violence Response Team (SRVR) and staff therapists at Barnes Center Counseling provide privileged and confidential support and counseling for students who have experienced relationship violence. Our staff will discuss safety planning, patterns of abuse, provide emotional support, and discuss reporting options.

Should a student impacted by relationship violence choose to file a formal complaint with the university, the SRVR and counseling team will work with the Dean of Students staff to provide support and advocacy to the reporting student throughout the entire process. The decision to seek medical care or report an incident lies with the person who has experienced stalking or relationship violence.

Students who desire to file a report about incidents of relationship violence can do so through the following resources:

  • Department of Public Safety, 005 Sims Hall, 315.443.2224
  •  Title IX Coordinator, 005 Steele Hall, 315.443.0211
  • Syracuse Police Department,  511 South State Street, 315.435.3016