II (13). Harassment

In order to create a respectful, welcoming and productive community, the Institute is committed to providing a living, working and learning environment that is free from harassment.

Harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct of a verbal, nonverbal or physical nature that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a work or academic environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile or abusive and that adversely affects an individual’s educational, work, or living environment.

In determining whether unwelcome conduct is harassing, the Institute will examine the totality of the circumstances surrounding the conduct, including its frequency, nature and severity, the relationship between the parties and the context in which the conduct occurred. Below is a partial list of examples of conduct that would likely be considered harassing, followed by a partial list of examples that would likely not constitute harassment: 

  • Examples of possibly harassing conduct: Public and personal tirades; deliberate and repeated humiliation; deliberate interference with the life or work of another person; the use of certain racial epithets; deliberate desecration of religious articles or places; repeated insults about loss of personal and professional competence based on age.
  • Examples of conduct that is likely not harassment: Administrative actions like performance reviews (including negative performance reviews) and making work assignments; other work-related decisions like moving work areas or changing work colleagues; and isolated incidents (unless, as noted above, they are very severe, such as the use of certain racial epithets). 

More examples of possibly harassing conduct as well as information on different ways to raise concerns about harassment can be found in the Institute Guidelines for Raising Complaints about Harassment.

Conduct that does not rise to the level of harassment may still violate Section 9.2. Even conduct that does not violate an MIT policy may be inappropriate and any inappropriate conduct should be addressed by the supervisor or department head.

While MIT’s harassment policy is not limited to harassment based on the protected categories listed in Section 9.3, the Institute is particularly committed to eliminating harassment based on those categories. Harassment that is based on an individual’s race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, or national or ethnic origin is not only a violation of MIT policy but may also violate federal and state law, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Mass. General Laws Chapter 151B. For information on how to file complaints of violation of law with governmental agencies see Section Legal Information. For information on how to file complaints of discriminatory harassment, see MIT's Institute Discrimination and Harassment Response Office https://idhr.mit.edu/reporting-options.

General complaint procedures are described in MIT Policies and Procedures Section 9.8.

-Source: Institute Policy 9.5, Policy on Harassment

MIT’s policy on sexual misconduct.