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Sexual Harassment

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Sexual HarassmentWhat is it?A Legal DefinitionQuid Pro QuoHostile EnvironmentNecessary ShowingsSocial ContextExampleIs this sexual harassment?Student’s Instructor’s Story StoryThe Case of the Lonely TAOffice HoursSlide 13Is this?How about now?The Risks of RomanceIt’s a bad ideaPower imbalances and changing circumstancesWhat do you see?Date at your own riskWhat can you do about offensive conduct that is not yet severe or pervasive?Report all inappropriate conductResources for assistance in making a direct response and beyondFiling a complaintWhy is it important?How do you do it?Who is the alleged harasser?Summary of options for addressing sexual harassmentSexual HarassmentA Workshop for Teaching AssistantsPamela Thomason:Pamela Thomason:Pamela Thomason:Pamela Thomason:What is it?•According to Merriman-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (3rd Ed.), it is: uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct directed at an employee because of his or her sex.sex-u-al ha-rass-ment \`sek-sh(e-)wel he-`ras-ment\ n (1975):Pamela Thomason:Pamela Thomason:A Legal DefinitionSexual harassment is any Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:of a sexual nature when:Quid Pro Quo•Submission to the conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in other University activity,•Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions, orYou gotthepart!Hostile EnvironmentSuch conduct has the purpose or effectof unreasonably interfering with anindividual’s performance or creating anintimidating, hostile, or offensiveUniversity environment.Necessary Showings•The conduct must be severe or pervasive•“Mere offensive utterances” do not constitute sexual harassment.•Courts look at all of the circumstances to determine whether a reasonable person would consider the conduct to be severe or pervasive from the victim’s viewpoint.•Frequency and severity are balanced.Social ContextDetermining whether a reasonable person would consider behavior to be severe requires “careful consideration of the social context in which the particular behavior occurs and is experienced by its target.”“The real social impact of workplace behavior often depends on a constellation of surrounding circumstance, expectations, and relationships which are not fully captured by a simple recitation of the words used or the physical acts performed.”Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore ServicesOncale v. Sundowner Offshore ServicesExample•Is a football player’s environment severely or pervasively abusive if the coach smacks him on the buttocks as he heads onto the field?•Would the same behavior reasonably be experienced as abusive by the coach’s secretary back at the office?Is this sexual harassment?A role play exerciseStudent’s Instructor’sStory StoryI was excited about my research project. I was flattered when my graduate advisor suggested we discuss it over dinner. At first I felt uncomfortable about meeting him in a social setting but, deciding that I was being paranoid, agreed. During dinner, we began to discuss class and my project. As the evening progressed, the conversation shifted to very personal topics, including my present and past boyfriends. I tried to shift the conversation back to something related to class but he kept drifting back to personal issues. Occasionally he touched my hand and told me he thought I was attractive. As we were getting ready to leave, he stood uncomfortably close to me and patted me on the arm. I felt nervous about the way he was relating to me but I was afraid to offend him by saying anything. Now I find myself avoiding him even though I respect his opinions and need need his guidance to do well in my department.I was interested in her work, especially since her topic has been a special interest of mine. I thought her project had real potential. I invited her to dinner so wecould talk over her ideas in a more relaxed atmosphere. I thought this would be helpful since she seems very bright but is nervous and shy in class. I enjoyed getting to know her better and I could tell the feeling was mutual. We had a good time and the discussion was productive. Since our meeting, I haven't seen much of her. I’m surprised that after such a promising start she seems less interested in my help. I guess she changed her mind about the project. It makes me wonder if she’s really grad school material.The Case of the Lonely TAOffice Hours•William moved to UCLA from the East Coast to pursue a master’s degree in drama. Basically broke, he got a job as a TA of a popular course on film. While at first he felt too young (24 years old) to exert authority it turned out that his youth helped him to communicate with students and his classes were filled with discussion and philosophical debate. He developed a kind of friendship with some students.•The only part he hated was office hours. He spent that time alone in an underground cubicle waiting for people who never came. That is, until Lisa showed up.Is this sexual harassment?•Lisa was one of the best students in class and she started popping by. They talked about movies, sexy actors, and the Lakers. William began looking forward to office hours.•Lisa began putting her telephone number on assignments and one afternoon she showed up in a wet suit and said, “Surf’s up. Wanna come?”Is this?•William did not go because he could not surf but he kicked himself for not going. That night, he started to dial Lisa’s number several times but never placed the call.•Later, he thought: All tests are numbered so the TA cannot know the identity of the student and cannot be biased in grading.•He asked Lisa out for drinks.How about now?•After having a few too many drinks, William and Lisa end up in bed in William’s apartment. Neither is very sure about how they got there.•Lisa stopped dropping by for office hours and stopped coming to class. Her message machine came on every time William called.•William saw Lisa on the street but she turned and walked the other way before he could speak to her.•He heard that she left the University.The Risks


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