Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination, and can be defined as unwelcome sexual attention or behavior which negatively affects the work or learning environment.  Sexual harassment is a violation of the law and University policy.

What does it look like?

Quid Pro Quo:

—An employee or student’s benefits, grades, promotions, or reviews are tied to sexual activity

—Power difference

—Example: A supervisor offers to promote an employee in exchange for sexual favors

Hostile Enviroment:

In some instances of sexual harassment, there is behavior of a sexual nature in the workplace or learning environment which creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment that disrupts people's ability to do their job or learn. This behavior may occur between peers or between people with unequal power. Some examples of this type of behavior include:

  • sexual jokes and innuendo, including email, texting and social media
  • unwanted, repeated requests for dates
  • suggestive looks, gestures and sounds
  • sexual touching
  • posters, screensavers, or other visuals


Relevant policies
What can I do about it?

If you feel that you may be experiencing harassment or discrimination:

  • Don't blame yourself. You have not asked for this unwelcome behavior.
  • Get personal support. Don't let feelings of sel-doubt or confusion stop you from seeking help or speaking out. Consider talking to any of the resources listed on this site.
  • Act quickly. The behavior will not go away. Often the behavior escalates rather than diminishes. Also, some options for remedy expire after 30 days.
  • Keep a record. Note dates, places, times and witnesses, as well as the nature of the unwanted conduct.
  • Learn your rights and resources. Call any of the resources listed on this site for assistance.
How can HDAPP help?


HDAPP works to prevent sexual harassment through education. We know that the best tool for addressing sexual harassment is preventing it from happening in the first place, and education is a key to prevention. HDAPP provides workshops on a regular basis for staff and faculty through Staff Development & Professional Services (SDPS). Additionally, HDAPP is available upon request to provide programs tailored to the specific needs of any student, staff or faculty group. We are also happy to work with our campus partners such as the Student Life Centers to provide programming that addresses broader issues of campus climate, sexism, heterosexism, and more. 

HDAPP also offers print and electronic materials.  You can see one example here. If you would like to obtain multiple copies to distribute in your department or group, please contact us for information on ordering.  


HDAPP is available to receive complaints of sexual harassment from anyone affiliated with UC Davis. If you believe that you or someone you know may be experiencing sexual harassment or if you have questions or want to consult, please contact us. We’ll be happy to speak with you about your concerns and offer clarification, support and resources.  We believe strongly in helping people make their own informed decisions about whether, where and how to report situations of concern.

 If you would like to make a report of sexual harassment, we can take such reports over the phone or by scheduling an in-person meeting. We discuss all new reports with other members of the Sexual Harassment Case Management Team, and that group helps decide whether a case should be addressed through Early Resolution or Formal Investigation. 

Early Resolution

Most situations are resolved this way. Early Resolution can take many forms, including: 

  • Helping you communicate directly with the other person.
  • Arranging for a UCD official to talk with the other person (a “no-fault” or “notice” conversation.)
  • Helping you and the other person agree to certain changes in how you interact.
  • Separating you and the other person.
  • Negotiating a disciplinary agreement with the other person.
  • Conducting training on sexual harassment for an individual, department or group.
  • Using Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) or the Academic and Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) for emotional support.
  • Other strategies you and the University agree to try.


Formal Investigation

 Most complaints are resolved through Early Resolution, but some cases may need to be investigated before they can be resolved. A case is usually referred for investigation when the alleged behavior is serious and there is a significant difference between your account of the situation and the other person’s account; or when the allegations include behavior which, if true, would constitute a violation of University policy and would warrant some type of disciplinary action. 

If the University decides a formal investigation is necessary, the Title IX Officer appoints an official investigator. You and the accused will be notified of the investigation. The investigator will conduct separate interviews with you, the accused and other potential witnesses. The investigator may recommend that certain steps (interim protections) be taken to protect you or witnesses at any time during the investigation. The investigator will prepare and submit a report addressing whether or not University policy was violated. If there is a finding of a policy violation, the University will consider disciplinary action against the accused and/or other remedies that may be appropriate. 


HDAPP also offers an anonymous call line at (530) 754-3865. Any member of the UC Davis community can call this number anonymously to share concerns about sexual harassment at UC Davis and to discuss resources and options.  As long as you don’t provide any identifying information about the person who may be engaging in sexual harassment, your conversation with HDAPP can be completely confidential.   Please note: Under UCD policy, Designated Officials (supervisors, managers and faculty) cannot guarantee confidentiality if they are aware of the parties involved.