Discrimination & Harassment Policy

Relevant excerpt

The University prohibits the discrimination and harassment of individuals based upon any protected basis: race, national origin, religion, age (40 and over), marital status, disability, sex, and sexual orientation. The University will not tolerate any form of harassment or any offensive conduct that has the effect of severely interfering with an employee’s work performance or a student’s school performance or creating an intimidating or hostile work environment.

Harassment  is  conduct  (physical,  verbal,  graphic,  written,  or  electronic)  that  is  (1)  unwelcome;  (2) discriminatory on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic  information, sexual orientation, or veteran status; (3) directed at an individual; and (4) so severe,  pervasive, and objectively offensive that a reasonable person with the same characteristics of the  victim would be adversely affected to a degree that interferes with his or her ability to participate  in or to realize the intended benefits of an institutional activity, opportunity, or resource. 

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal and physical  conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when such conduct is (1) unwelcome;  (2) discriminatory on the basis of sex; (3) directed at an individual; and (4) so severe, pervasive,  and objectively offensive that a reasonable person with the same characteristics of the victim  would be adversely affected to a degree that interferes with his or her ability to participate in or  to realize the intended benefits of an institutional activity, opportunity, or resource.

Generally, a single sexual joke, offensive epithet, or request for a date does not constitute  sexual harassment; however, being subjected to such jokes, epithets, or requests repeatedly may  constitute sexual harassment.  Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to the  following, when they are part of a pattern of conduct that meets the standard set forth above:

  • Physical – Engaging in sexually suggestive physical contact or touching another employee in a way that is unwelcome, such as pinching, patting, or grabbing.
  • Verbal – Derogatory comments, slurs, or other offensive words or comments made on the basis of gender whether made in general or whether directed to an individual or to a group of people regardless of whether the behavior was intended to harass. Telling jokes of a sexual nature; making sexually oriented comments on a person’s appearance, sexual rumors, code words, and stories.
  • Visual- Posted material, e-mails or material placed in or on University equipment or on one’s own personal property or body (including clothing and tattoos) in the workplace, which is offensive on the basis of gender.

In determining whether alleged sexually harassing conduct warrants corrective action, all relevant circumstances, including the context in which the conduct occurred, will be considered. Facts will be judged on the basis of what is reasonable to persons of ordinary sensitivity and not on the particular sensitivity or reaction of an individual.

Discriminatory Hostile Environment: Unwanted or persistent verbal or physical conduct made on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, disability, marital status, gender, or age (40 and over) which creates a hostile or intimidating work environment or which unreasonably interferes with an individual’s jo [sic] performance and/or opportunities constitutes discriminatory hostile environment harassment.

Examples include, but are not limited to the following, when they are a part of a pattern of conduct that meets the standard set forth above:

  • Offensive language
  • Racial or ethnic slurs
  • Demeaning or derogatory comments made on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, national origin, disability, marital status, gender, age, or disability

Hostile conduct can occur whether made in general, directed to an individual, or to a group of people regardless of whether the behavior was intended to harass.

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