Sexual Harassment

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when accepting such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or academic decision that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance. The University has a policy that strictly prohibits sexual harassment in both the academic and working relationship. If you believe you are being sexually harassed or know of someone who is being sexually harassed, please contact the Office of Human Resources:

Employee Relations & Compliance
Office of Human Resources
Hannah Hall, Room 126
(713) 313-7881 or (713) 313-7521

More information regarding sexual harassment may be found in the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy.

What is a hostile work environment?

A hostile work environment is one where conduct occurs that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an objectively intimidating, threatening, abusive, humiliating or offensive working environment. Hostile work environment conduct must also be directed at a specific protected class (i.e. gender, race, color, etc.) This conduct includes:

  • lewd jokes or inappropriate comments
  • displaying sexually suggestive or inappropriate material
  • rude, annoying, abrasive behavior toward an individual or a particular group
What should I do if I am being harassed or work in a hostile environment?

If you are comfortable speaking to the accused harasser, tell the harasser to stop. If that does not stop the harassment, you may file a complaint by submitting a completed Sexual Harassment Complaint Form to the University’s Office of Human Resources. Please note that you are not required to confront the accused harasser prior to filing a “Sexual Harassment Complaint Form”.

If I report harassment to my supervisor, can I ask her/him to keep it confidential?

Your supervisor may want to keep your report confidential, but he/she is required by University policy to report harassment to the University’s Office of Human Resources. If you want the harassment to stop, your supervisor will need to discuss the matter with the appropriate University officials.

Discipline and Termination

I am a supervisor and am having disciplinary problems with an employee. Can I fire the employee immediately?

No. The University’s Discipline and Termination Policy outlines a progressive discipline model that should be followed, when appropriate, for addressing a non-probationary employee’s failure to comply with the rules, procedures and protocols that have been adopted for all University employees.

What type of actions may prompt immediate termination of my employment?

Pursuant to the University’s Discipline and Termination Policy, an employee may be terminated for job performance issues and/or inappropriate workplace conduct, including, but not limited to:

  • Falsifying a state document or information in a state document
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances on the campus at any time. (Note: this provision does not apply to the consumption of alcoholic beverages served in accordance with University policy at University-sponsored events.)
  • Insubordination.
  • Disorderly conduct, horseplay, harassment of other employees (including sexual harassment) or use of abusive language on the premises.
  • Fighting, encouraging a fight, or threatening, attempting, or causing injury to another person on the premises.
  • Neglect of duties, loafing, or wasting work time.
  • Theft, dishonesty, or unauthorized use of University property, including records and confidential information.
  • Refusing to adhere to established rules and policy.
  • Repeated tardiness or absenteeism, absence without proper notice to the supervisor, unexcused absences or unavailability for work.
  • Behavior outside work that affects job performance.
What is a RIF/Reorganization?

Reorganization or Reduction in Force (RIF) occurs when a department, division, or the entire University entity must implement a staff reduction plan. The purpose of a RIF or reorganization is to retain the most productive employees in spite of adverse economic conditions, while ensuring compliance with all applicable laws.


I have a disability and need to have my work station adjusted. Who do I contact?

Pursuant to the University’s ADA/504 Policy, any employee requesting an accommodation should submit their request in writing to the University’s ADA/504 Coordinator, stating the nature of their disability and the accommodation requested. The employee may also be required to provide documentation to support their request for accommodations. All inquiries regarding ADA accommodations should be directed to the ADA Coordinator in the Office of Human Resources, Hannah Hall – Room 126, (713) 313-7037.


I believe that my boss is discriminating against me. Is there anything I can do?

Any employee who believes they are being subjected to unfair or unequal treatment, for any reason, is entitled to file a discrimination complaint. The employee should put their concerns in writing and submit it to the Office of Human Resources, Hannah Hall – Room 126, (713) 313-7037.