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Equity Definitions

Sexual Harassment

Defined as unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and any other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when

  • Submission is such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual's education, employment, or participation in programs or activities at the Covered Entity;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for decisions affecting that individual's education, employment, or participation in programs or activities a the Covered Entity; or
  • Such conduct is so severe or pervasive that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's education, employment or participation in programs or activities at the Covered Entity, and/or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or abusive employment, academic, extracurricular or living or learning environment for the individual at the Covered Entity.

Sexual Violence

Is a form of sexual harassment, and refers to: physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol. An individual also may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and other forms of sexual coercion.

Sexual Assault

An offense that meets one of the following definitions of rape, fondling, incest or statutory rape used in the FBI's Uniform Crime reporting Program.

  • Fondling—The touching of the private parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
  • Incest—Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law. 
  • Rape—The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part of object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
  • Statutory Rape— Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

Dating Violence

Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.

Domestic Violence

A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed:

  • By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
  • By a person with who the victim shares a child in common;
  • By a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
  • By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred, or
  • By any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred. 


Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person's safety or the safety of others or suffered substantial emotional distress.

  • Course of Conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parities, by any action, method, device, or means, including social media, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property.
  • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
  • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.


Any willful attempt to inflict injury upon another when coupled with the apparent ability to do so. Actual touching, striking, or doing bodily harm to another is not required; the mere attempt constitutes an assault.


The intentional and wrongful physical contact with a person without that person's consent, or without legal authority to do so, that entails some injury or offensive touching. The willful attempt to use force to touch another is an assault; the actual touching is a battery


In the employment sector, discrimination is taking an adverse action against an employee based on that employee's age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, national origin, or disability.


Verbal statements or physical acts, which, while neither an assault nor a battery, nevertheless are likely to create tension or hostility, and therefore, may lead to conflict. 

Threat of Violence

A threat of violence is any act of aggression or a statement which objectively could be perceived as intent to cause harm to an employee. Threatening behavior includes any behavior that could be interpreted by a reasonable person as intent to cause physical harm to another individual. Threatening behavior may, or may not, include the actual act of physical force, with or without a weapon, toward another individual. Threatening behavior may be verbal or non-verbal.

Violent Act

Any act that is an assault, a battery, or the destruction/damage of physical property.