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Chapter 2: Nondiscrimination

Vanderbilt University has a strong commitment to assuring that every member of the faculty and staff and every student receive fair treatment. A number of policies support this commitment, with some of these reflecting both institutional policy and legal obligation (Title VII provisions relating to employment discrimination, for example), and others reflecting institutionally developed statements of policy considered important within the institutional community (the statement on sexual orientation, for example).

A: Nondiscrimination Statements

Nondiscrimination Statement for University Publications

The following statement on nondiscrimination must appear in all University publications that relate to admissions, the presentation of academic programs, and employment.

In compliance with federal law, including the provisions of Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, Executive Order 11246, the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 as amended by the Jobs for Veterans Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, as amended, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, Vanderbilt University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, covered veterans status, or genetic information in its administration of educational policies, programs, or activities; admissions policies; scholarship and loan programs; athletic or other university-administered programs; or employment. In addition, the university does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their gender expression. Requests for information, inquiries or complaints should be directed to these offices:  Faculty and staff – Equal Employment Opportunity Office, Anita J. Jenious, Director, eeoinfo@vanderbilt.edu, telephone (615) 343-9336; Students – Title IX and Student Discrimination, Molly Zlock, Title IX Coordinator and Director, titleixandstudentdiscrimination@vanderbilt.edu, telephone (615) 343-9004, 110 21st Avenue, South, Suite 975, Nashville TN 37203; Students – Student Access Services, Jamie Bojarski, Director disabilityservices@vanderbilt.edu; telephone (615) 343-9727.

B: Laws Imposing Special Obligations

A number of provisions of federal and state law, including those mentioned above, impose special obligations on the University and require particular attention. Among these are:

Titles VII and VIII of the Public Health Service Act

The Equal Pay Act of 1963

Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended

Executive Order 11246, as amended

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974

The Age Discrimination Act of 1975

Revenue Procedure 75-50 (1975)

Tennessee Fair Employment Practices Law of 1978

Governor’s Code of Fair Practices of 1979

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008

C: Individuals with Disabilities

Vanderbilt is committed to equal opportunity and access for people with disabilities. In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, Vanderbilt does not exclude qualified persons with disabilities from participating in employment opportunities and University programs and activities.

Questions about accommodations for faculty and staff should be directed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Office at 615-343-9336. Student accommodations requests should be addressed to Student Access Services at 615-322-4705.

D: Harassment

It is important that Vanderbilt University faculty, staff, and students enjoy an environment free from implicit and explicit behavior used to control, influence, or affect the well-being of any member of our community. Harassment of any individual based on race, sex, sexual orientation, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military status, or genetic information is unacceptable and grounds for disciplinary action, and also constitutes a violation of federal or state law. Equally unacceptable within the University is the harassment of any individual on the basis of gender identity or gender expression.

1. Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. It is illegal under state and federal law and is a violation of University policy.

Sexual harassment is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. In 1980, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission amended its sex discrimination guidelines under Title VII to include sexual harassment, defining the term as follows: “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when 1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment; 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.”

The Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education issued a policy statement on August 31, 1982, defining sexual harassment under Title IX and setting forth procedures for handling sexual harassment complaints. According to this policy statement, sexual harassment “consists of verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, imposed on the basis of sex, by an employee or agent of a recipient [of federal funds] that denies, limits, provides different, or conditions the provision of aid, benefits, services, or treatment protected under Title IX.”

2. Racial and Other Harassment in the Work Environment

Harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin is a form of unlawful discrimination and is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explains, in its 1980 “Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Sex,” that the principles for defining sexual harassment in the workplace apply as well to harassment based on race, color, religion, and national origin. Thus where harassment based on race, color, religion, or national origin has the “purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment” it rises to the level of unlawful discrimination. In addition, the courts have applied these principles to harassment on the basis of age and disability under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, respectively. Finally, the University applies these principles to harassment on the basis of military status, genetic information, sexual orientation, sexual identity, and gender expression.

3. Complaint Procedure

Any faculty member of the University community who experiences harassment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, military service, covered veteran’s status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression should immediately seek assistance through the Equal Employment Opportunity Office (EEOO) 615 -343-9336. The EEOO receives all complaints of unlawful discrimination raised by faculty and staff within the University community and, where possible, assists in the resolution of those complaints. If a faculty member alleges harassment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, military service, covered veteran’s status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression by a student, the EEOO will work in conjunction with the University’s Title IX and Student Discrimination office, as well as Student Accountability, to address the matter.

E: Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity

The following statements summarize policies on affirmative action and equal employment opportunity.

University officials will base employment decisions on the principles of equal employment opportunity consistent with our intent to achieve the goals outlined in our Affirmative Action Plan.

Vanderbilt University, through responsible officials in compliance with its affirmative action obligations, will recruit, hire, train, and promote persons in all job titles, without regard to race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, genetic information, gender expression or gender identity, except where age and sex are bona fide occupational requirements, or where a specific disability constitutes a bona fide occupational disqualification.

University officials will take affirmative action to ensure that promotion decisions are in accord with principles of equal employment opportunity by imposing only valid requirements for promotional opportunities.

University officials will ensure that all personnel actions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, layoffs, returns from layoff, University sponsored training, education, tuition assistance, and social and recreational programs, will be administered without regard to race sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military status, genetic information or gender expression.

The Provost and the Vice Chancellors assist the Chancellor in administering the provisions of the Affirmative Action Plan. They are responsible for assuring that the University’s policy on affirmative action and equal opportunity is carried out within their respective administrative areas.

The staff of the Equal Employment Opportunity Office monitors the University’s compliance with equal opportunity and affirmative action laws and coordinates and implements the provisions of Vanderbilt’s Affirmative Action Plan. The office also coordinates services for faculty and staff with disabilities.

Grievance procedures for faculty members are explained in Part IV, Chapter 2. The Office of the General Counsel is also available to assist with application and interpretation of equal opportunity and affirmative action laws.