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Human Resource Management

Hostile Work Environment and Reporting Sexual Harassment

Revised: October 27, 2017


The purpose of this training is to raise awareness among our faculty, staff and students regarding their responsibility in preventing sexual harassment in the workplace and learning environment.

Sexual harassment training is based on LSUHSC Chancellor’s Memorandum 49 (CM-49)- Sexual Harassment/Gender Discrimination.

The Louisiana legislature requires annual sexual harassment training for employees. The federal Campus SaVE Act requires ongoing sexual harassment training for all faculty, staff and students.

Training Objectives

After completing this course, you will:

LSUHSC-NO’s Responsibilities

Employee and Student Responsibilities

Work Environment

A work environment is any place where faculty, staff, or students gather to work or study including but not limited to:

Hostile Work Environment

Behavior of a sexual nature creates an offensive or hostile work environment, when it:

Physical conduct can create or encourage a hostile work environment. Some examples include:

Verbal conduct can create or encourage a hostile work environment. Some examples include:

Courts are more likely to find an illegal hostile work environment where there is one or more of the following present:

Negative Effects of a Hostile Work Environment

This is Tara


Tara is a nurse at a local hospital. Lately, her co-worker, Judy has been putting up pictures of partially-clothed or nude men on the break room bulletin board. Every time she sees one, Tara takes it down and throws it away, but it seems there’s a new one up each time she enters the room. Tara has asked Judy not to post the pictures because she finds them inappropriate and they make her feel uncomfortable. Judy just laughs and tells Tara not to be such a prude and that many of the other nurses enjoy looking at the pictures. Could Judy’s action be sexually harassing? Hover your mouse over or tap your finger on the box below to see the right answer. (Tap on any picture to make the answer disappear.)


Posting these pictures could be creating a hostile work environment.


If only Tara is offended, then there is no problem. Majority rules, right?

Meet Madison


Madison is a graduate student and received an "F" on a paper she submitted to Professor Strange. Madison agreed to meet with Dr. Strange in his office to discuss her grade. Upon her arrival, Dr. Strange immediately closed his office door. He then sat down, closed his eyes, started licking his lips and told Madison he had fantasies about her. Madison was uncomfortable and offended by his sexually explicit comments. Madison told Dr. Strange that she had to go home to study. Without looking at her paper, Dr. Strange asked Madison if a "C" would be okay. Madison said yes and quickly left his office. Could Dr. Strange's behavior be considered sexual harassment? Hover your mouse over or tap your finger on the box below to see the right answer. (Tap on any picture to make the answer disappear.)


This behavior is an example of a hostile work environment.


No, Dr. Strange didn't touch her inappropriately so this behavior does not constitute a hostile work environment.

This is Michael


Michael works as a physical therapist at a local hospital. He has a very busy schedule and usually only has time for a quick lunch in the staff's break room. The radio disc jockey that most of his co-workers like to listen to has extremely graphic conversations with women who call in to the station. Michael finds these conversations offensive. He once asked his colleagues to change the station, but they told him it was a free country, and they could listen to what they wanted. Could Michael be a victim of sexual harassment? Hover your mouse over or tap your finger on the box below to see the right answer. (Tap on any picture to make the answer disappear.)


If Michael is forced to listen to obscene language that humiliates him, this could be a hostile work environment.


Michael's colleagues are right. If Michael doesn't want to listen, he doesn't have to. He can always eat lunch in the cafeteria.

Meet Rhonda and Joni

Rhonda and Joni

Rhonda and Joni have worked together in the same department for years. They often disagree about the best way to get work done. After (sometimes heated) discussion, they are usually able to reach a compromise. Could Rhonda and Joni be creating a hostile work environment with their arguments? Hover your mouse over or tap your finger on the box below to see the right answer. (Tap on any picture to make the answer disappear.)


If their arguments make each other feel humiliated or degraded.


This is normal workplace friction. There’s no behavior of a sexual nature here.

Sexual Harassment and the Internet

Over the past quarter century the Internet has served as an instrument for sexual harassment that has, until recently, gone relatively unnoticed. While the Internet has provided an array of benefits and advantages for today's society, its darker side has substantially emerged as Internet users are being subjected to online discrimination and sexual harassment on a daily basis.

Sexual harassment on the Internet can occur in a variety of methods and channels. Some of these channels include, but are not limited to:

The majority of sexual harassment activity on the Internet can be categorized into one of the following:

Gender Harassment

Gender harassment can be communicated in both verbal and graphic forms. It is often described as "unwelcome verbal and visual comments and remarks that insult individuals because of their gender or that use stimuli known or intended to provide negative emotions." Azy Barak, Sexual Harassment on the Internet, 23 Soc. Sci. Comp. Rev. 1 (2005).

Verbal gender harassment refers to offensive sexual messages aimed towards a victim that are initiated by a harasser. Such offensive messages include gender-humiliating comments, rape threats, and sexual remarks which are unwelcome, and are neither invited nor consensual. Verbal harassment can be either passive or active depending on whether the harasser targets a specific victim (active) or targets potential receivers (passive).

The intentional sending of erotic, pornographic, lewd, and lascivious images and digital recordings by a harasser to specific or potential victims constitutes graphic harassment. Graphic harassment often occurs via email, instant messaging, redirected/automatic linking, and pop-ups.

Unwanted Sexual Attention

Unwanted sexual attention on the Internet occurs when a harasser uses direct personal communication to harass a victim. Additionally, the harasser uses personal communication to convey messages directly relating to sex and/or sexuality which are unwanted or unwelcome by the victim.

Furthermore, a harasser who uses unwanted sexual attention to harass a victim online, intends to solicit sexual cooperation from his/her victim either on the Internet or in person.

Sexual Coercion

Sexual coercion is the least common form of sexual harassment encountered on the Internet. Sexual coercion uses various means online to obtain sexual cooperation by placing pressure on a victim. This pressure is often achieved by the use of explicit threats of harm directed towards the victim or relatives and friends of the victim.

The United States Department of Education has recognized Internet activity such as sending or showing e-mails, websites, and text messages of a sexual nature to be inappropriate sexual conduct that can potentially be actionable as sexual harassment in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Meet Akilah


Akilah is a first year graduate student. Shortly after classes began, she struck up a friendship with Jamal, another student in her program. It wasn't long before Jamal made it clear he was seeking a more serious relationship. With her heavy course load, Akilah didn't see how she could devote the necessary time to a romantic relationship and refused his advances. Jamal persisted but Akilah remained adamant. Jamal's communications escalated. He would call her constantly. When she doesn't answer her phone and avoid him on campus, his text messages changed from romantic to angry and profane. When she blocks his number, he posts pornographic pictures on the Internet with Akilah's face superimposed on the women in the photographs. Is this online harassment? Should Akilah report this to Student Affairs?  Hover your mouse over or tap your finger on the box below to see the right answer. (Tap on any picture to make the answer disappear.)


This is online harassment and Akilah should report this to Student Affairs.


Jamal didn't use his LSUHSC-NO email or other network resources so this isn't online harassment and should not be reported to Student Affairs.

What if I am a Victim of Sexual Harassment?

What Employee Relations Will Do

Notify and Interview the Accused

The accused will be notified separately from the complainant and will be provided with the details regarding the complaint to assist in recalling the incident(s) and event(s).


Interviewer will need to obtain details of:

Review the Information Provided

Investigative Process


It is important for all involved in a sexual harassment complaint to know that the complaint will be handled confidentially to the extent possible. In other words, supervisors, HR officers, and any investigators will do all that is possible to maintain confidentiality. To investigate or process a sexual harassment claim, the people responsible for investigating must be informed and the accuser and accused, as well as witnesses must be interviewed. The accuser’s, accused’s and witness’ supervisors and perhaps those higher in the chain of command need to know that there is an ongoing investigation, if only so they know why these employees need to leave the work site for interviews. And if disciplinary action is involved, the appointing authority will need to be included in the investigation. Supervisors and others can be expected to maintain confidentiality outside of the investigation however, as should any participants in the investigation.

In other words, sexual harassment complaints should never be lunchroom discussion or workplace gossip. It is particularly important for those involved in the investigation to not discuss the investigation with others in the workplace who are not involved in the investigation. Violating confidentiality can have serious consequences on the investigation.

DO NOT discuss sexual harassment complaints or investigations with those in the workplace who do not need to know.

What if I am a Witness of Sexual Harassment?

If you witness harassment occurring, you have both the right and the responsibility to report the harassment. You should follow the same steps as discussed above for sexual harassment victims.

Responsible Employees

Under Title IX, a school has notice of a sexual harassment complaint if a responsible employee “knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known,” about the harassment. A responsible employee would include:

If you are aware of any instance of sexual harassment, report it to the Title IX coordinator as soon as possible.


LSUHSC-NO does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, sex, national origin, age, mental or physical disability, or veteran's status in its programs and activities and provides equal access to its programs and activities.

Sexual harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. Any accusation(s) of sexual harassment, which are found to be valid, may subject the harassing individual(s) involved to either severe disciplinary action or termination of employment or enrollment.

Important Things to Remember

Sexual Harassment Laws & Regulations

University Policies and Procedures

LSU Publications

Getting Help

If you have any questions, please contact Human Resource Management by:

Or, LSUHSC-NO's Title IX Coordinator: