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Bullying, Microaggression and other Terms

Bullying, Microaggression and other Terms

What's the difference between bullying and harassment? And what behaviors count as microagressions? Johns Hopkins University uses these definitions.

Bullying: Unwanted, recurring aggressiveness that causes psychological or physical harm, and creates a psychological power imbalance between the bully and targets.

Discrimination: Treating a community member or group less favorably than a similarly situated community member or group because they are a member of a “protected class.”

Harassment: Any behavior that is based on an individual or group’s membership in a protected class, and that is unwelcome and creates a hostile environment.

Learners: A term that encompasses medical students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and clinical residents and fellows.

Learner Mistreatment: Intentional or unintentional behavior that shows disrespect for the dignity of others, unreasonably interferes with the learning process or creates a hostile learning environment.

Microaggressions: Verbal, behavioral or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory or otherwise negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any individual or group, particularly culturally marginalized individuals and groups.

Protected Class: A group of people with a common characteristic who are legally protected from discrimination on the basis of that characteristic. The university prohibits discrimination on the basis of the following: race, color, national origin, immigration status, ethnicity, age, disability, religion, sex, gender, pregnancy, military status, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information and other legally protected characteristics.

Retaliation: Intimidating, threatening, coercing, harassing, taking adverse employment or educational action against, or otherwise discriminating against a person in any way because the person made a report or complaint.

Sexual Assault: Includes, but is not limited to, any nonconsensual sexual contact, as well as incest or statutory rape.

Sexual Harassment: Includes, but not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual violence and other behavior of a sexual nature, when submission is implicitly or explicitly a condition of employment or participation in an educational program, the basis for personnel or academic decisions, or when it unreasonably interferes with a person’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment.

Sexual Misconduct: A term that is broader than sexual harassment and sexual assault, and includes stalking and relationship violence.

*For more details, see the university’s discrimination and harassment policy and procedures and sexual misconduct policy and procedures.

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