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Sexual Harassment in an Internship
The University of Minnesota Duluth is committed to taking prompt and effective steps intended to end sexual harassment, prevent its recurrence and, as appropriate, remedy its effects. If you, a student of the University, are participating in an internship or co-op experience, know that the University offers support if you experience sexual harassment of any kind.
Was I Sexually Harassed?
All genders can experience sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might include (but is not limited to) the following:
- Subtle pressure or advances for sexual activity
- Physical contact such as brushing against, touching, hugging, pinching, patting, etc.
- Comments of a sexual nature such as innuendos, sexually suggestive language or jokes, remarks about a person’s clothing, body, or sexual activities, etc.
- Sexually graphic images
- Obscene gestures
- Conditioning an educational or employment decision or benefit on submission to sexual conduct
What To Do If You Experience Sexual Harassment During Your Internship or Co-op Experience
- Trust your instincts and take any threat seriously
- Contact your University Internship Coordinator, Career & Internship Services office, Faculty Advisor, or other University advisor
- Seek personal support resources
- Ask about accommodations (e.g., changes) that can be made to your work or learning environment
- Learn about reporting and investigation options
Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA)
(218) 726-1442 or 24-hour crisis line (218) 726-1931
The University offers accommodations designed to promote your safety, well-being, and continued access to educational programs and activities to the extent these accommodations are reasonably available and requested. Accommodations and protective measures are available regardless of whether you report your experience for investigation. To discuss what accommodations or protective measure might be available and helpful to you, please contact your University Internship Coordinator or the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR).
For additional information, see the University’s Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Relationship Violence Administrative Policy.
Legal Rights Vary
The nature of your internship or co-op position including whether your internship or co-op position is for University credit and whether you are considered an employee at your internship and co-op site, could impact your legal options. Educate yourself on the specifics of your situation.
Paid interns or co-op placements are legally considered employees of the organization they are employed by, and employers must take reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring in the workplace.
Unpaid interns or co-op placements might not legally qualify as an employee of the organization, and legal rights differ by state. Employment status might be determined by whether or not you received compensation (not limited to monetary compensation). Regardless of employment status, you still have rights, see the resource section for options.
Depending on the particular circumstances of your internship or co-op position, various reporting and investigation options may be available to you:
University: The UMD Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) and UMD Equal Opportunity Associate in EOAA address sexual misconduct in University activities and programs, including conducting formal investigations.
Your Internship Coordinator: Your UMD faculty internship coordinator can talk with you about your options.
Lawyer: You are free to consult with a lawyer.
Law Enforcement: You are encouraged to contact the police if you have concerns about your personal safety and/or believe a sexual assault or other crime has been committed.
Human Resources at your internship or co-op site: In addition to reporting your experience to the University, consider reporting to the HR team at your internship or co-op site.
University employees are required to report sexual misconduct impacting students to the UMD Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) or UMD’s Equal Opportunity Associate from EOAA. Therefore, if you share your experience with your University Internship Coordinator or another University employee, that person is required to share your experience with OSCCR or EOAA. This reporting requirement helps ensure that any time the University learns about sexual misconduct it reaches out to the impacted individual to offer support, accommodations, and the opportunity to initiate an investigation. For more information about this reporting requirement, please visit UMD’s Responding to Sexual Misconduct website.
Some University employees, including representatives from the Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC), counselors in UMD Counseling Services and pastoral clergy from the UMD Council on Religious Advisors are exempt from this reporting requirement when they learn about sexual misconduct in the course of their professional responsibilities.