Sexual Harassment Prevention

View the Sexual Harassment Policy #1:02:05)

It is the established policy of Jacksonville State University to provide a work and study environment for faculty, staff and students that is free from all forms of sexual harassment, sexual intimidation, and exploitation. Jacksonville State University condemns such behavior and will review all claims of sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines generally define sexual harassment, in part, as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to the conduct is made a condition of employment or admission of an applicant;
  • Submission to or rejection of the conduct is made the basis for a personnel action (e.g., performance appraisal, recommendation for retention, salary increases, promotion, tenure or grades);
  • The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual’s work performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or studying environment. Such behavior may violate federal law and/or give rise to personal liability for the results of such behavior.

To further define the prohibited behavior, sexual harassment may consist of explicit demands for sexual favors and may involve threats or punishment where sexual favors are denied or promises of employment benefits are made if sexual favors are granted. Sexual harassment may be subtle and may not involve threats of punishment or promises of benefits. Examples of conduct outside the generally accepted academic environment which can create a sexually offensive working environment include, but are not limited to: (1) sexually offensive or oriented foul or derogatory language, jokes, kidding, hazing or taunting; (2) the display of sexual objects; (3) the circulation or display of publications such as calendars, cartoons or graffiti with sexually oriented content; (4) unwelcome touching; (5) unwelcome flirtations or requests for dates or after hours meetings; or (6) any other verbal, physical, hazing or visual conduct of a sexual nature that would create an uncomfortable or hostile environment. The forms of sexual harassment may come from supervisors, administrators, co-workers, and even from outsiders such as, vendors, service representatives or others.

This policy applies to all university employees (inclusive of faculty, staff, and student employees), volunteers, contractors, and further applies, where possible, to those who do business at the university. Compliance with this policy is a term and condition of employment or conducting business with the university.

Procedures for Initiating a Complaint of Sexual Harassment. The University cannot address harassment unless it has been made aware of the harassment. If an employee feels that she or he has been subjected to sexual harassment, or has witnessed any form of sexual harassment, the employee may proceed with the complaint to his or her immediate supervisor or may address the complaint directly to the Office of Human Resources. The University strongly encourages the timely filing of any complaints of sexual harassment. EEOC guidelines generally suggest the filing of such claim within six (6) months of the alleged occurrence. Filing a contemporaneous complaint assists the university in conducting an investigation which is thorough and fair to all parties.

An employee does not have to put his or her complaint of sexual harassment in writing for an informal investigation to be initiated. If the employee wishes to submit an informal complaint to a supervising employee, he or she may discuss the matter with the supervisor. The Department of Human Resources encourages resolution of sexual harassment complaints at the lowest administrative level. Some complaints may be resolved by a conversation, better communication, education and/or the supervisor’s support of the University’s policy, and of a work environment free of sexual harassment. If a satisfactory conclusion is not reached at the level of the immediate supervisor, either party may pursue the matter to the next level of supervision, e.g., Dean or Director. At this stage, a formal written charge of sexual harassment signed by the charging party must be submitted by the employee against whom the charge is made, and the accused will be provided with an opportunity to respond. If a satisfactory conclusion is not reached at the dean or director level, either party may pursue the matter to the Vice President of his or her Division. A final appeal may be made to the President and the decision of the President will be final.

If the employee does not wish to pursue an informal or formal sexual harassment complaint through the supervisor, the employee may pursue an informal or formal complaint or charge directly with the Department of Human Resources, Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The guidelines and procedures of due process outlined above will apply. If a satisfactory conclusion is not reached with the involvement of Human Resources, either party may pursue the complaint to the President. The decision of the President will be final.

Confidentiality. The University’s administration is fully committed to creating a work environment free of sexual harassment. Thus, the University will investigate all complaints of sexual harassment, whether written or verbal. Therefore, while the University will consider requests for confidentiality, there can be no guarantee of complete confidentiality. The administration, supervisors, and representatives of Human Resources will, wherever practicable, only discuss the matter with those closely involved, and if necessary, the University attorney and/or outside counsel. The University is also keenly aware if the need to protect the rights of the accused and will attempt to balance the process of investigating complaints with observation of those rights.

Back to Handbook Table of Contents