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Center for Professional Practice of Nursing

Center for Professional Practice of Nursing

Sexual harrassment

Sexual Harassment defined:

"Sexual harassment is illegal.
 It is defined by law as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature."

University Policy and Procedure # 380 - 12

Quid pro quo

Where employment decisions or expectations (e.g. hiring decisions, promotions, salary increases, shift or work assignments, performance expectations) are based on an employee's willingness to grant or deny sexual favors. Examples:
  • Demanding sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or raise.
  • Disciplining or firing a subordinate after ending a romantic relationship.
  • Changing performance expectations after a subordinate refuses repeated requests for a date. 

Hostile environment

Where verbal, visual, or physical behavior in the workplace: 1) focuses on the sexuality of another person occurs because of the person's gender; 2) is unwanted or unwelcome; and 3) is severe or pervasive enough to affect the person's work environment.

The following are examples of behaviors that can create a hostile environment if they are unwanted and uninvited:

  • Off color jokes or teasing
  • Comments about body parts or sex life, sexual orientation
  • Sexual innuendoes
  • Use of profanity
  • Repeated requests for dates
  • Excessive attention in the form of love letters, telephone calls or gifts
  • Suggestive pictures, posters, calendars or cartoons
  • Offensive emails, screen savers, computer material
  • Leering, stares or gestures
  • Invading another person's "space"
  • Touching - brushes, pats, hugs, shoulder/back rubs or pinches

Circumstances of sexual harassment

Circumstances of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • The victim or harasser may be a woman or a man.

  • The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. The harasser can be the victim's:
    • Supervisor
    • An agent of the employer
    • A supervisor in another area
    • Co-worker
    • A non-employee

  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct. Example is having to overhear a sexually explicit conversation.

  • Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim. This does not have to result in loss of promotion or being fired. The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome. The harasser is told that his/her conduct is not appreciated.

What can you do?

There are many options for resolving a sexual harassment complaint.  One option the University offers is a confidential informal review process to resolve allegations of sexual harassment. This process attempts to resolve your issues or concerns at an informal level. A request for review must be filed within 365 calendar days from the date the complainant knew of the sexual harassment. For additional options, questions, advice, and more information contact:

Office of Equal Opportunity, Sexual Harassment, Mediation & Support Services
2nd Floor, Ticon III
(916) 734-2259 or Hotline (916) 734-2255 

Human Resources Contacts

UC Davis Health System Sexual Harassment Advisors:

Sexual Harassment Education Program

Internal resources

Equal Opportunity, Sexual Harassment, Mediation, & Support Services

Rm. 2200, Ticon III, 2nd Floor (916) 734-5335
Confidential Sexual Harassment Hotline (916) 734-2255
Discrimination Hotline (916) 734-3000

Employee & Labor Relations

Ticon, 3rd Floor  (916) 734-3362

Academic & Staff Assistance Program (ASAP)

Ticon, 3rd Floor  (916) 734-2727

External resources

Department of Fair Employment and Housing
2000 "O" Street, Suite 120
Sacramento, CA 95814-5212
(916) 445-5523

Equal Employment Opportunities Commision
2800 Cottage Way
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 978-4812