Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment refers to:
(a) vexatious sexual conduct or a course of comment that is known or ought reasonably to be known as unwelcome;
(b) a sexual solicitation or advance made to an individual by another individual where the other individual is in a position to confer a benefit on, or deny a benefit to, the individual to whom the solicitation or advance is made, where the individual who makes the solicitation or advance knows or ought reasonably to know that it is unwelcome; or
(c) a reprisal or threat of reprisal against an individual for rejecting a sexual solicitation or advance.

Sexual harassment can happen to and be perpetuated by anyone. Its consequences for all parties can be serious and have long-lansting effects. Sexual harassment is prohibited by Human Rights legislation and is not tolerated at Dalhousie. Engaging in sexually harassing behaviours can result in disciplinary action such as that outlined in the Sexualized Violence Policy. This may include, but is not limited to reprimand, relocation, suspension, expulsion or dismissal.

Sexual Harassment can include:


  • Sexual innuendo
  • Gender specific insults
  • Suggestive and/or derogatory humour, jokes or comments emphasizing sex, gender-specific traits or sexual orientation
  • Sexual propositions or invitations
  • Threats of a sexual nature
  • Homophobic remarks
  • Inappropriate or uncalled for comments about one's body or dress
  • Persistent unwanted contact after the end of a consensual relationship


  • Suggestive staring or leering
  • Suggestive and/or derogatory sounds or gestures emphasizing sex or sexual orientation
  • Inappropriate displays or distribution of sexually suggestive and/or derogatory pictures, objects, writing or graffiti, including electronic and hard copy forms
  • Unauthorized distribution of sexually-explicit material involving specific individuals
  • Persistent unwanted contact after the end of a consensual relationship
  • Stalking (Criminal Harassment)

Physical contact:

  • Unnecessary or unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature such as patting, touching, pinching or brushing against a person’s body
  • Persistent unwanted physical contact after the end of a consensual relationship
  • Sexual assault

Sexual harassment is not:

  • interactions between consenting adults
  • mutual attraction or flirtation
  • consensual relationships
  • expressions of affection between friends

Sexual harassment does not mean that sexuality or sexual issues must never be discussed in a work or study area or that they cannot be areas of legitimate academic inquiry. Discussions of scholarly research on sexuality in the classroom, for example, would not normally constitute sexual harassment. However, when discussion of sexuality is inappropriate in content or presentation style to the setting or the individuals involved, this may create a situation in which sexual harassment may ensue.