:, Hostile Environment Harassment is defined as the unlawful harassment against an individual on the basis of his or her sex, or gender-related status when the conduct is either:

-Sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to deny or limit the individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs or activities; or

-The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or education.

  1. The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” must be based on all of the circumstances, giving consideration to whether a reasonable person in a similar situation would have perceived the conduct as objectively offensive. Also, the following factors will be considered:

-The degree to which the conduct affected one or more students’ education or individual’s employment;

-The nature, scope, frequency, duration, severity, and location of incident or incidents; and

-The identity, number, and relationships of persons involved.

Forms of Sexual Harassment or Gender-Based Hostile Environment Harassment: Sexual Harassment or Hostile Environment Harassment based on one’s sex or gender-related status may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or gender-related status, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature. In either type of harassment, the effect will be evaluated based on the standard of a reasonable person in the position of the Complainant. Sexual Harassment or Hostile Environment Harassment can take many forms:

-It may be blatant and intentional and involve an overt action, a threat or reprisal, or may be subtle and indirect, with a coercive aspect that is unstated.

-It does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents.

  1. It may be committed by anyone, regardless of gender, age, position, or authority. While there is often a power differential between two persons, perhaps due to differences in age, social, educational, or employment relationships (e.g., supervisor to subordinate, faculty member to student, coach to student-athlete, student leader to first year student), harassment can occur in any context and between persons of equal power status (e.g., student to student, staff to staff, faculty member to faculty member, visitor/contracted employee to staff).
  2. -It may be committed by a stranger, an acquaintance, or someone with whom the complainant has an intimate or sexual relationship.
  3. -It may be committed by or against an individual or may be a result of the actions of an organization or group.
  4. -It may occur by or against an individual of any sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
  5. -It may occur in the classroom, in the workplace, in residential settings, over electronic media (including the internet, telephone, and text), or in any other setting.
  6. -It may be a direct proposition of a sexual nature.
  7. -It may be a one-time event or part of a pattern of behavior.



-It may be committed in the presence of others or when the parties are alone

  1. -It may affect the complainant and/or third parties who witness or observe harassment.

Some examples of behavior that might be considered Sexual or Hostile Environment Harassment include, but are not limited to:

-Threats, either directly or by implication, of adverse employment or academic action if sexual favors are not granted or punishing, either directly or by implication, for refusing to tolerate harassment, for refusing to submit to sexual activity, or for reporting harassment;

-Promising favorable treatment or continued employment in return for sexual favors;

-Change of academic or employment responsibilities (increase in difficulty or decrease of responsibility) based on sex or gender-related status;

-Unwanted, unnecessary and objectively inappropriate physical contact or suggestive body language, such as touching, patting, pinching, hugging, kissing, or brushing against an individual’s body;

-Sexual Assault;

-Physical coercion or pressure of an individual to engage in sexual activity or punishment for a refusal to respond or comply with sexual advances;

-Display or distribution of pornographic material or sexual explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials;

-Sexual rumors or ratings of sexual activity/performance or the circulation, display, or creation of e-mails or websites of a sexual nature;

-Excessively offensive remarks, including unwelcome graphic or suggestive

comments about an individual’s body, appearance or dress,

  1. -Jokes and humor about sex or gender-specific traits;
  2. -Inappropriate use of sexually explicit or offensive language or derogatory language directed at another person’s sexuality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or gender expression;
  3. -Insults and threats based on sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or gender expression;
  4. -The display in the workplace of sexually suggestive objects or pictures which create an intimidating or hostile work environment;
  5. -The display or circulation of written materials or pictures degrading to an individual(s) or gender group where such display is not directly related to an educational/pedagogical, artistic, or work goal;
  6. -Acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping. Harassment for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for one’s sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity, regardless of actual or perceived gender related status of the harasser or her/his/their target;
  7. -Abusive, disruptive or harassing behavior, whether verbal or physical, which endangers another's mental or physical health, including but not limited to threats, acts of violence, or assault based on gender related status and/or in the context of intimate partner violence;
  8. -Other unwelcome and unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, such as leering, name calling, suggestive comments and sexual propositions or innuendos and other oral, written or electronic communications of a sexual nature that an individual communicates is unwanted and unwelcome.


Russell J. Williams, Esq.

Williams, Hilal, Wigand,
Grande, PLLC

633 Southeast 3rd Avenue, Suite 301

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33301



Offc: 954-525-2889

Fax: 954-764-7272