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:
- Complaints of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment and related retaliation, should be directed to the Title IX Office. Titleix@vanderbilt.edu; Telephone 615-343-9004
- Student Access receives student requests for disability-related email@example.com; Telephone 615-343-9727
- The Equal Opportunity and Access Office (EOA Office) receives all other complaints of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and requests for accommodations. firstname.lastname@example.org; Telephone: 615-343-9336
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
Questions about accommodations for faculty and staff should be directed to the Equal Opportunity and Access Office (EOA Office) email@example.com; Telephone 615-343-9336. Student accommodations requests should be addressed to Student Access firstname.lastname@example.org; Telephone 615-343-9727.
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.
- 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 also a form of sexual misconduct prohibited under the Sexual Misconduct Policy. Sexual Misconduct is a broad term that includes, but is not limited to, the following conduct: Sexual Harassment; Sexual Assault; Dating Violence; Domestic Violence; Stalking; and Retaliation. (All terms are defined in the Sexual Misconduct Policy.)
- 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.
- Complaint Procedure
Any member of the University community who experiences discrimination, harassment, or related retaliation 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 Opportunity and Access Office (EOA Office), which addresses complaints raised by faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows/trainees, and students.
Any member of the University community who experiences sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment or related retaliation, should immediately seek assistance through the Title IX Office, which addresses complaints involving faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows/trainees, and students.
To the extent that allegations include sexual harassment as defined under Section
106.30 of the USDOE regulations implementing Title IX, resolution will proceed under the procedural requirements set out in the Formal Grievance Protocol.
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.