Initial Publication Date: February 19, 2018

(Un)Professional Behaviors


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines Harassment " a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).

Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws."

Definition of Harassment from the September 2016 Sexual Harassment in the Sciences Workshop

"Harassment due to a person's sexual identity, gender, race, or other protected class, consists of a single intense and severe act or of multiple persistent or pervasive acts which are unwanted, unwelcome, demeaning, abusive, offensive, and/or create a hostile professional or workplace environment. These acts may include epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; denigrating jokes and display or circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or a group identity. Sexual harassment, in addition, may include any unwanted and/or unwelcome sexual solicitation, physical advance, or verbal or non-verbal conduct that is sexual in nature."

The (Executive Summary of the) Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, June 2016) report has comprehensive recommendations for addressing harassment in the workplace. Access the full report Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, June 2016, EEOC:

Go to Modules On

  • Sexual Harassment and Assault-scope of the problem, impacts on people and institutions, response of professional societies and institutions, case studies, sexual harassment in the field, planning to prevent and mitigate incidents of sexual harassment, and related resources.
  • Bullying--resources on identifying and stopping bullying in the academic environment