What is sexual harassment?

Actions contributing to sexual harassment include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can be committed by anyone — men or women, against men or women, and by a supervisor, co-worker, subordinate, or non-employee.

In Education, sexual harassment is actionable under Title IX when it is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it undermines and detracts from the victims’ educational experience, such that the victims are effectively denied equal access to an institution's resources and opportunities.*

In Employment, sexual harassment is unlawful when it is so severe and pervasive that a reasonable person would consider it a hostile or intimidating work environment or when enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment.

*Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, 526 U.S. 629, 649 (1999).

Who should I contact if I have concerns that sexual harassment is affecting an NIH-funded project?

Since NIH is not a law enforcement agency, we strongly encourage people to report allegations of sexual harassment or assault to the appropriate authorities. If there are concerns that sexual harassment is affecting an NIH-funded project, NIH wants to know about it. While NIH can and will follow up on all concerns related to NIH-funded research, we do not intervene in personnel matters at other organizations. Please see our Find Help page for contacts.