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Informal Resolution System (IRS)

Traffic Light Edit

The traffic light has three colors, and behavior may be divided into three zones. Green on the traffic light means "go"; behavior in the green zone means "it's acceptable." It is not sexual harassment. Red on the traffic light means "stop"; the red behavior zone means "don't do it." It is sexual harassment. The third color on the traffic light, yellow, means "use caution." The yellow behavior zone may be sexual harassment. Just as with a traffic light, if in the yellow zone long enough, the light will turn red if yellow zone behavior is repeated enough, especially after having been told it is unwelcome, it becomes red zone behavior--sexual harassment. The following examples illustrate these three types of behavior, but they are certainly not all-inclusive:


a. Green zone. These behaviors are not sexual harassment performance counseling, touching which could not reasonably be perceived in a sexual way (such as touching someone on the elbow), counseling on military appearance, social interaction, showing concern, encouragement, a polite compliment, or friendly conversation.


b. Yellow Zone. Many people would find these behaviors unacceptable, and they could be sexual harassment violating personal "space", whistling, questions about personal life, lewd or sexually suggestive comments, suggestive posters or calendars, off-color jokes, leering, staring, repeated requests for dates, foul language, unwanted letters or poems, sexually suggestive touching, or sitting or gesturing sexually.


c. Red zone. These behaviors are always considered sexual harassment: sexual favors in return for employment rewards, threats if sexual favors are not provided, sexually explicit pictures (including calendars or posters) or remarks, using status to request dates, or obscene letters or comments. The most severe forms of sexual harassment constitute criminal conduct, e.g. sexual assault (ranging from forcefully grabbing to fondling, forced kissing, or rape).


Note: Keep in mind that the above examples are used as guidance only, that individuals believe they are being sexually harassed based on their perceptions, that each incident is judged on the totality of facts in that particular case, and that individuals' judgment may vary on the same facts. Therefore, caution in this area is advised. Any time sexual behavior is introduced into the work environment or among co-workers, the individuals involved are on notice that the behavior may constitute sexual harassment.

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