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Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment Policy

The MAA is committed to providing a work environment that is free of discrimination and unlawful harassment. Actions, words, jokes, or comments based on an individual’s sex, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, religion, or any other legally protected characteristic will not be tolerated.

As an example, sexual harassment (both overt and subtle) is a form of employee misconduct that is demeaning to another person, undermines the integrity of the employment relationship and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. This policy applies both to staff and to those who do business with the MAA. All the MAA staff members have the right to work in an environment that is free from sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature, if:

  1. Submission to the conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or for favorable treatment;
  2. Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for decisions;
  3. The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with one’s work or performance; or if
  4. The conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, demeaning or offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment may take many forms, including, but not limited to, offensive or suggestive jokes or remarks; inappropriate personal questions or conversations; unwelcome physical contact such as patting, hugging or touching; public display of sexually explicit, offensive or demeaning photographs; leering or ogling; sexual remarks about someone’s clothing or body; unwanted requests or demands for sexual activity; or repeated requests for dates after having been told no.

Sexual harassment in its extreme occurs when someone in a position of influence or control uses his or her authority or power to coerce a relationship of a sexual nature or to punish refusal. Because of the inherent power differential, courts may hold that a relationship of a sexual nature (and perhaps a simply romantic nature) between a supervisor and a subordinate constitutes sexual harassment unless the subordinate actually welcomed (i.e., invited or solicited) the relationship and not merely consented to it. For this reason, such relationships sometimes result in sexual harassment complaints even though they began as seemingly consensual relationships. The MAA strongly discourages relationships of a sexual or romantic nature between a supervisor and a subordinate. The following are grounds for disciplinary action:

  • Any form of threat or retaliation against someone who in good faith makes a sexual harassment complaint; or
  • The submission of false information as part of a sexual harassment.


A sexual harassment complaint against a staff member may be submitted orally or in writing to any of the following staff members:

  • The Office Manager
  • The Executive Director
  • The President


MAA officials are required by MAA policy and the law to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation of sexual harassment complaints and to take appropriate action based on the results of that investigation. Strict confidentiality of sexual harassment complaints cannot therefore, be guaranteed. Information in a sexual harassment complaint will be disclosed, however, only to the extent necessary to conduct an appropriate investigation, and otherwise will be kept confidential.

Copyright ©2016 The Medieval Academy of America
Opinions expressed by members in print, video, or online represent their personal views, not necessarily those of the Medieval Academy of America.

The Medieval Academy of America
17 Dunster St., Suite 202
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: (617) 491-1622
Fax: (617) 492-3303