It is the responsibility of all members of the UMass Lowell community to prevent sexual harassment. Supervisors have additional responsibilities. Please regularly review the policy: Sexual Harassment Administrative Announcement (pdf).
Frequently Asked Questions
What is sexual harassment?
Harassment of any kind is bothersome, demeaning, irritating, and annoying behavior. Sexual harassment is specifically harassment of a sexual nature.
Disrespectful or offensive sexual behavior by faculty, staff or students is inappropriate and, in some cases, may be an abuse of authority. The involved parties can be men or women; supervisors, subordinates or peers.
We can all suffer when abusive and demeaning behavior is tolerated in our workplaces and classrooms. To eliminate sexual harassment, we need to understand it.
Sexual harassment is sex discrimination and, therefore, a violation of federal and state law. It is the policy of the University of Massachusetts Lowell that no member of the University community may sexually harass another. For purposes of this policy and consistent with federal regulations, sexual harassment is defined as follows:
Sexual Harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
In addition, it is unlawful to retaliate against any person who brings a complaint of sexual harassment. For example, even if, after an investigation, it is found that a person's claim of sexual harassment is not substantiated, it is improper and unlawful to take any action to "get even" with the complaining party, whether through his or her employment or academic status, or by any threats, or by any other means.
As part of the sanctions against sexual harassment, the University of Massachusetts Lowell expressly prohibits individuals from taking any retaliatory action against individuals who have complained about sexual harassment and/or individuals who have cooperated with an investigation of a complaint of sexual harassment. These activities, if substantiated, will be subject to discipline up to and including termination.
UMass Lowell is required to take every measure to prevent harassment and retaliation.
The practical responsibility for preventing discrimination lies with each member of the community, including you.
Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace or educational environment. UMass Lowell has policies and support structures to enable everyone on campus to work and learn in an environment free of harassment.
Who should you tell?
- Consider firmly, clearly and directly, telling the harasser to stop.
- If the behavior continues, document the conversation or offending behavior.
- Follow UMass Lowell's complaint policy (pdf).
Remember that you have a responsibility to take advantage of whatever resources and procedures your employer provides to protect yourself and your environment from unlawful harassment. You may contact the individual’s supervisor, who should take immediate measures to stop any sexually harassing behavior. When informed, a supervisor is required to contact EOO by University policy. You may also contact EOO directly yourself 978-934-3565 to ask about filing an internal complaint. Simply calling our office does not constitute filing a complaint. What You Need To Know (pdf) about filing an internal complaint. EOO will inquire into the matter to with the purpose of ending and addressing any sexual harassing behavior.
At any time, you may contact the following regarding filing a formal complaint:
1. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
Boston, MA 02203
2. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
One Ashburton Place
Sixth Floor, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108
3. Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
33 Arch Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02110-1491
If someone tells you he or she has been sexually harassed, what should you do?
If you are an employee, friend, co-worker, parent, significant other, etc., you should tell your supervisor, dean, the dean of students, ombudsperson, or the Equal Opportunity and Outreach associate assigned to your department.
Faculty and supervisors who direct the work of others are required under state law to promptly report concerns of sexual harassment to EOO, 978-934-3565. Since reporting concerns of suspected inappropriate behavior is a leadership responsibility under state law, failing to report may result in corrective action.
Types of harassment
Quid Pro Quo: Conditional sexual harassment that occurs when someone in a position of power pressures another to meet his/her sexual demands.
Hostile environment: Unwelcome sexual behavior that makes the work/academic environment offensive, hostile or intimidating (unwelcome, repeated, causes harm).
Sexually harassing behavior includes:
- gender harassment, including sexist statements and behavior that conveys insulting, degrading or sexist attitudes
- seductive behavior encompassing unwanted, inappropriate and offensive physical or verbal sexual advances
- sexual bribery, involving solicitation of sexual activity or other sex-linked behavior by promise of reward
- sexual coercion of sexual activity or other sex-linked behavior by threat of punishment.