Virginia Tech®home

Discriminatory Harassment

University Policy 1025: Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Assault defines harassment as inappropriate conduct that is based upon a person’s age, color, disability, gender (including pregnancy), gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status and unreasonably interferes with the person's work or academic performance or participation in university activities, or creates a working or learning environment that a reasonable person would find hostile, threatening or intimidating.

Harassment can occur even if one person does not have institutional or leadership power over the other.

Examples of possible discriminatory harassment include:

  • Mistreating someone due to their race, religion, or sexual orientation
  • Making fun of a person’s disability
  • Telling unwelcome jokes about someone’s identity such as race or national origin
  • Putting down people who are older, who are pregnant, or who come from other countries
  • Urging religious beliefs on someone who finds it unwelcome

Examples of possible sexual harassment, if unwelcome, repeated, or severe include:

  • Flirting
  • Unwanted touching
  • Sexually suggestive messages, letters, posters, or pictures
  • Comments about a person’s clothing, his or her body, or personal appearance
  • Sexual advances or propositions
  • Repeated requests for dates
  • Pressure for sexual activity

Misuse of role (quid pro quo sexual harassment)

A form of discriminatory harassment is sexual harassment. In addition to the description found above, sexual harassment can also consist of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made, explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education, or when the submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment or an educational decision.

Safety concerns

For information about disruptive behavior, threats, or other safety or violence issues, visit Virginia Tech Threat Assessment and Management. If you are experiencing behavior that makes you feel threatened or unsafe, contact the Virginia Tech Police Department at 540-382-4343.

Additional information

Have questions? Review the Harassment and Discrimination FAQs or contact the Office for Equity and Accessibility for assistance.