Respect in the Workplace


ETSU's Statement of Policy

ETSU will not tolerate discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, creed, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age (as applicable), status as a covered veteran, or genetic information, nor will ETSU tolerate harassment on the basis of these protected categories or any other category protected by federal or state civil rights law.

What Is Harassment?

  • Harassment is conduct that is based on a person's race, color, religion, creed, ethic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age (as applicable), status as a covered veteran, genetic information, or any other category protected by federal or state civil rights law, that:
    • Adversely affects a term or condition of an individual's employment, education, participation in an institution's activities or living environment;
    • Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's employment or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or abusive environment of the individual; or
    • Is used as a basis for or a factor in decisions that tangibly affect that individual's employment, education, participation in an institution's activities or living environment.

  • Harassment can occur between employees of the same sex, between employees of different sexes, and between employees of any rank or position in the organization.

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Not Tolerated

  • Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, such as requests for sexual favors and other physical or verbal actions are a violation of ETSU's PPP-080 policy and is not tolerated in our workplace.

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The Raise

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Question: Would you consider this a violation of ETSU's policy?
Answer: The correct answer is "yes". Even though he never comes out and explicitly states that she is to have sex with him, Justin implies as much when he invites her to become a traveling partner.

You're Mine Now

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Question: Does Dana violate ETSU's policy?
Answer: If you thought Dana violated ETSU policy, you're correct. Dana violated policy by making suggestive statements that Jimmy now has to do whatever she says, whenever she says.

Examples of Sexual Harassment

  • Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following:
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    • Refusing to hire, promote, or grant or deny certain privileges because of acceptance or rejection of sexual advances;
    • Promising a work-related benefit or a grade in return for sexual favors;
    • Suggestive or inappropriate communications, email, notes, letters, or other written materials displaying objects or pictures which are sexual in nature that would create hostile or offensive work or living environments;
    • Use in the classroom of sexual jokes, stories, remarks or images in no way or only marginally relevant to the subject matter of the class;
    • Implied or overt sexual threats;
    • Suggestive or obscene gestures;
    • Sexual violence; including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion;
    • Suggestive or inappropriate acts, such as comments, innuendoes, or physical contact based on one's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity/expression.

Unacceptable Behaviors

  • Examples of unacceptable behaviors include:
    • Sexual innuendoes, comments, and remarks about a person's clothing, body or activities;
    • Suggestive or insulting sounds;
    • Whistling in a suggestive manner;
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  • More examples of unacceptable behaviors include:
    • Humor and jokes about sex that denigrate men or women;
    • Sexual propositions, invitations, or pressure for sexual activity;
    • Patting, pinching, and other inappropriate touching;
    • Unnecessary touching or brushing against the body;
    • Attempted or actual kissing or fondling;
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The Shoulder Rub

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Question: Did Tracy violate ETSU's policy?
Answer: This was clearly inappropriate workplace behavior. Paula is upset, doesn't want her help, and finds her touching offensive. While one may think that Tracy intended no harm or that she may have been simply trying to comfort her, the fact remains that Paula told her she didn't want the massage and gave cues that she found Tracy's behavior offensive.

Question: If Tracy really intends no harm/nothing sexual, does that change your opinion about whether her actions violated ETSU's policy?
Answer: Tracy's intent has no bearing on whether her behavior violates ETSU's policy. Behavior can violate ETSU's policy regardless of the intent.

More Unacceptable Behaviors

  • Discussing sexual matters
  • The use of demeaning or offensive names such as honey, sweetie, hottie, baby, girl, boy, or hunk.
  • Viewing or posting of sexual pictures, magazines, posters, videos, or images.
  • Sending co-workers sexually explicit emails, text messages, or similar electronic communications.
  • Offensive gender-based comments or behaviors that denigrate people simply because of their gender such as "a woman's place is in the kitchen, not the boardroom."

Other Behavior That Violates Policy

  • ETSU policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity/expression.

The Joke

In the following video, Bill and Lyle are laughing at a joke when Nick, who is openly gay, walks into the break room.

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Question: Did this violate ETSU's policy?
Answer: If you answered "yes", you're right. It is a violation of ETSU's policy. It doesn't matter that the comments weren't directed specifically at Nick.

Question: Is it a violation of ETSU's policy if a heterosexual individual overhears them and is offended?
Answer: Yes, it is still a violation of ETSU policy. The joke doesn't need to be directed at the individual filing the complaint to make it a violation of policy.

The Favor

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Question: Did Robert do Shawna a favor, as he says, or is this a violation of ETSU's policy?
Answer: If you didn't think Robert's gesture was much of a favor, you're correct. In fact, this video is an example of discrimination based on sex stereotypes.


  • Violation of ETSU's policy can result in disciplinary actions including written warnings, suspension, demotion, and even termination.
  • In addition, employees who violate policy could be sued in their individual capacity and risk losing their savings, home, or other assets.


  • One of the reasons that people are hesitant about reporting inappropriate sexual behavior is because they are concerned about potential retaliation. Retaliation refers to adverse actions taken against an individual because that person voiced concern about inappropriate sexual behavior.
  • Such retaliation is strictly prohibited. ETSU takes allegations of retaliation very seriously.

You're Part of the Workplace

  • Make sure you're not involved in any "inappropriate behavior".
  • Respect your co-workers' rights.
  • Don't jump to conclusions based on someone's dress, actions, or physical appearance.

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REMEMBER: Every employee is entitled to a respectful workplace.

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Post Test

  • Thank you for taking this online training course. In order to satisfactorily complete this course, you are required to pass a final test. If you have viewed each page of the training, you may take the Post-Test.
  • By completing the questions you will demonstrate the knowledge you have gained as a result of completing this online training course.
  • You must make a score of at least 70% on this test. You will have three attempts to reach this score. Upon success, you will be presented with a "Congratulations" screen. Please print this screen for your own records. It is not necessary to e-mail your Course Coordinator. They will be notified when you submit your quiz and make a note of your Post-Test score.