About discrimination


What is discrimination?

Civil rights laws protect individuals from being treated differently based on their belonging to a protected category. Categories protected by law include, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, mental or physical disability, age (over 40), genetic information, reprisal or retaliation, marital status, parenthood, pregnancy and veteran status. Additionally, UAF employees are covered by policy against discrimination based on sexual orientation.


Discrimination by type

Learn about the types of discrimination prohibited by the laws enforced by EEOC. You can also link to relevant laws, regulations, policy guidance, fact sheets, questions and answers, best practices and other information.

Federal law protects individuals from discrimination on the following bases:

Age
Age discrimination involves treating someone less favorably because of his or her age. People who are 40 or older are protected.

Color
Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color or complexion.

Disability
Disability discrimination involves treating a person unfavorably because of his or her disability.

Genetics
The law forbids discrimination on the basis of genetic information.

National origin
National origin discrimination involves treating individuals unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background (even if they are not).

Race
Race discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because he or she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color or certain facial features).

Religion
Religious discrimination involves treating a person unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam or Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs.

Retaliation
Civil rights laws make it illegal to fire, demote, harass or otherwise retaliate against individuals because they filed a charge of discrimination, complained to their employer or other entity about discrimination, or participated in discrimination proceedings (such as an investigation or lawsuit).

Sex
Sex discrimination involves treating a person unfavorably because of that person's sex.

Veterans
The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, prohibits job discrimination and requires affirmative action to employ and advance in employment disabled veterans, recently separated veterans (within three years of discharge or release from active duty), other protected veterans (veterans who served during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized), and Armed Forces service medal veterans (veterans who, while on active duty, participated in a U.S. military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded).


Discrimination reporting

You may file a discrimination report if you believe you have been discriminated against in an employment or educational opportunity. The Department of Diversity and Equal Opportunity will process your complaint to ensure you receive due process.

The Department of Diversity and Equal Opportunity provides informal and formal resolution of discrimination and sexual harassment. Individuals who believe they have suffered discrimination also have the option to simultaneously file a report with organizations external to UAF. For employment discrimination you may contact the Alaska State Human Rights Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory act. For discrimination in regard to an educational opportunity, you may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education within 180 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory act.

Our role

The Department of Diversity and Equal Opportunity is a neutral party; we are not an advocate for anyone. When we receive a discrimination report, our purpose is to gather facts and determine whether or not there is a policy violation. If you believe you were treated differently based on one or more of the above protected categories, you may file an internal informal or formal discrimination report with the Department of Diversity and Equal Opportunity.

Informal discrimination reporting

For informal discrimination reporting, the Department of Diversity and Equal Opportunity will conduct a limited inquiry and attempt to resolve the issues. Additionally, the Department of Diversity and Equal Opportunity can arrange mediation services. If the issues are not resolved, the reporting individual has a right to file a formal complaint.

Discrimination reporting with external government agencies

Additionally, individuals who believe they have suffered discrimination may file a complaint with organizations external to UAF. For employment discrimination issues, contact the Alaska State Human Rights Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at the below addresses within 180 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory act. For discrimination in regard to an educational opportunity, students may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education within 180 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory act. Please note that a complaint can be filed with the campus Department of Diversity and Equal Opportunity and with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights (employees) or U.S. Department of Education (students) simultaneously.

Alaska State Human Rights Commission
800 A Street, Suite 204
Anchorage, AK 99501-3669
Anchorage area: 907-274-4692
Anchorage area TTY/TDD: 907-276-3177
Toll-free complaint hotline (in-state only): 800-478-3177
TTY/TDD toll-free complaint hotline (in-state only): 800-478-3177

Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Division of Employment Security
PO Box 115509, Juneau, AK 99811-5509
907-465-2712

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
350 The Embarcadero
Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94105-1260
800-669-4000

National Science Foundation
Complaints Adjudication and Compliance Manager
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
tsisley@nsf.gov
703-292-2104

Office for Civil Rights, Seattle Office
U.S. Department of Education
915 Second Ave., Room 3310
Seattle, WA 98174-1099
OCR.Seattle@ed.gov
206-607-1600
TDD: 206-607-1647
Fax: 206-607-1601


University of Alaska policies regarding discrimination

P04.01.020. Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with federal and state law, illegal discrimination in employment against any individual because of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, physical or mental disability, marital status or changes in marital status, pregnancy or parenthood is prohibited. Decisions affecting an individual's employment will be based on the individual's qualifications, abilities and performance, as appropriate.

P04.02.020. Discrimination

  1. The university will not permit or tolerate discrimination that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment, or that interferes with an individual’s performance. The university recognizes that conduct which constitutes discrimination in employment or educational programs and activities is prohibited and will be subject to corrective and/or disciplinary action.
  2. Discrimination refers to being adversely treated or affected, either intentionally or unintentionally, in a manner that unlawfully differentiates or makes distinctions on the basis of the individual’s legally protected status or on some basis other than an individual’s qualifications, abilities and performance, as appropriate. The university will vigorously exercise its authority to protect employees and students from discrimination by agents or employees of the university, students, visitors and guests.
  3. Nothing contained in this policy will be construed or applied to limit or abridge any person's constitutional right to freedom of expression or to infringe upon the legitimate academic freedom or right of due process of any member of the university community. Principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression require tolerance of the expression of ideas and opinions even though they may be offensive to some. However, ideas and opinions must be expressed in a manner that does not create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment or unreasonably interferes with an individual’s performance. The university upholds and adheres to principles of academic freedom and the laws prohibiting discrimination in employment and education.
  4. Individuals who believe they have been subjected to discrimination are encouraged to bring this behavior or action to the attention of an employee or faculty member who is in a position to assist in addressing the concern. The affirmative action officer, human resources or student affairs officer, or designee, as appropriate, will mediate disputes, receive complaints, obtain process information, or discuss resolution options regarding discrimination complaints.
  5. The university cannot guarantee confidentiality in connection with complaints alleging discrimination; however, all university employees and students are expected to make a reasonable effort to protect the legitimate privacy interests of involved persons consistent with their obligation to inform the accused.
  6. Nothing in this policy will be construed or applied to create a right to an award of damages or other monetary compensation against the university or university employees beyond any existing under state or federal law.

Equal employment opportunity is the law

Who can seek resolution?

Students:

  • Applicants
  • Parents
  • Students

Employees:

  • Applicants
  • Contractors
  • Employees
  • Faculty
  • Former employees
  • Staff

Statutes

Students:

  • Age Discrimination Act
  • AK 18.80.220 and 14.40.050
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Executive Order 11246
  • Rehabilitation Act
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
  • Title IX Education Amendment Act
  • Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act

Employees:

  • Age Discrimination Act
  • AK 18.80.220 and 14.40.050
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Equal Pay Act
  • Executive Order 11246
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act
  • Rehabilitation Act
  • Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act
  • Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act

Enforcement

Students:

  • Department of Education
  • State of Alaska Human Rights Commission

Employees:

  • Compliance programs
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • State of Alaska Human Rights Commission
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