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Discrimination & Discriminatory Harassment

Southwest Minnesota State University prohibits discrimination and harassment against persons in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices, or access to and participation in educational programs, services, and activities on the basis of membership or perceived membership in any of the following protected classes: race, sex (including pregnancy, child birth, and related medical conditions), color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, martial status, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, familiar status, and membership or activity in a local human rights commission. Protected class also includes genetic information for employees. 

Southwest Minnesota State University shall maintain an encourage full freedom of expression, inquiry, teaching and research. Academic freedom comes with a responsibility that all members of our education community benefit without intimidation, exploitation, or coercion. This policy is directed at conduct that constitutes discrimination or harassment under this policy and is not directed at the content of speech. In cases in which statements are other forms of expression are involved, Minnesota State must consider an individual's constitutionally protected right to free speech and academic freedom. However, discriminatory or harassing conduct is not within the protections of academic freedom or free speech.

This page provides a general overview of several of the protected class statuses, terms, and definitions of discrimination and harassment as they pertain to a status as it is defined in the MinnState Board policy 1B.1. For a comprehensive list, please click on the policy link below. For additional resources, please navigate to our resources page or click on the Resources button.

1B.1 Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination in Employment and Education Policy.

What is Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity/Gender Expression discrimination?

Conduct that is directed at an individual because that individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation/gender identity/gender expression, and that subjects the individual to differential treatment so as to interfere with or limit the ability of the individual to participate in, or benefit from, the services, activities, or privileges provided by the University or otherwise adversely affects the individual's employment or education. 

Discrimination can also occur if treatment of an individual is unfavorable based on who that individual is married to.

Examples can include:

  • Deliberately not using an individual's preferred name or pronouns after being provided that information by the individual.
  • Denying an individual access to an educational program due to their sexual orientation. 
  • Showing preferential treatment, such as giving more desirable jobs/positions to those of a specific orientation.
  • Dismissal from employment based on same-sex partner relationship.

Resources

 

What is Sex discrimination?

Tile IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities. Sex discrimination is conduct that is directed at an individual because that individual's sex, and the subjects the individual to differential treatment so as to interfere with or limit the ability of the individual to participate in, or benefit from, the services, activities and privileges provided by the University or otherwise adversely affects the individual's employment or education.

Examples can include:

  • Denying student access to an educational program based on the student's sex.
  • Engaging in or sanctioning continuing discriminatory conduct, unrelated to the academic discussion in a course or class, thus creating a hostile environment for individual students.
  • Being denied raises, benefits, promotions, or performance evaluations on the basis of the individual's sex.
  • An individual subjected to comments of a sexual nature by another employee and/or supervisor, and the University fails to take steps to stop the behavior. 

What is Sexual Harassment?

A form of sexual discrimination which is prohibited by state and federal law. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical conduct, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or education, evaluation of a student's academic performance, or term or condition of participation in student activities or in other events or activities sanctioned by the University; or
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions or other decisions about participation in student activities or other events or activities sanctioned by the University; or
  3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of threatening an individual's employment; interfering with an individual's work or academic performance; or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.

Examples can include:

  • Demanding sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or a better grade.
  • "Rating" another individual's body on sex appeal.
  •  Leaving unwelcome, sexually explicit messages on voice mail.
  • Telling off-color jokes or making teasing comments of a sexual nature.
  • Unwelcome, unnecessary touching, patting, rubbing, or pinching of another individual.

What is discriminatory harassment based on Sex?

Verbal or psychical conduct that is directed at an individual because that individual's sex, and that a negative effect or is likely to have a negative effect on the individual so as to have the purpose or effect of creating a hostile work or educational environment. 

Examples can include:

  • Unwanted and excessive attention through phone calls, emails, letters, gifts, etc. 
  • Using language that is offensive and/or implies inferiority of another individual based on their sex, such as "slut," "bitch," "babe," "stud," etc.
  • Continually making offensive comments about women in general.

What is Race/Color discrimination?

Conduct that is directed at an individual because that individual's race/color, and that subjects the individual to differential treatment so as to interfere with or limit the ability of the individual to participate in, or benefit from, the services, activities, or privileges provided by the University or otherwise adversely affects the individual's employment or education.

Examples can include:

  • Willfully disregarding comments made by an Asian American student during class discussion.
  • Inviting all co-workers except a co-worker of color to an office birthday celebration.
  • Denying a Somali employee the opportunity to attend a staff development seminar--an opportunity that was afforded to all other employees. 

What is Race/Color harassment?

Verbal or psychical conduct that is directed at an individual because that individual's race/color, and that has a negative effect or is likely to have a negative effect so as to have the purpose or effect of creating a hostile work or educational environment.

Example can include:

  • Telling a person to color to go back to her/his/their own country.
  • Spray painting racially insulting comments on the residence hall doors of Latino students.
  • Derisively commenting on the ceremonial dress and chanting of two American Indians participating in a Pow Wow.

What is Disability discrimination?

Conduct that is directed at an individual- or someone perceived as an individual- with a mental or physical disability, and that subjects that individual to different treatment so as to interfere with or limit the ability of the individual to participate in, or benefit from, the services, activities, or privileges provided by the University, or otherwise adversely effects the individual's employment or education.

Examples can include:

  • Focusing on an individual's disability rather than their abilities during a job interview. 
  • Delaying providing a course syllabus in large print to a student with a visual impairment. 
  • Scheduling an office party in a location that is inaccessible to an employee who uses a wheelchair.
  • Denying employment or educational opportunities to an applicant, employee or student because they have a disability. 

What is Disability harassment?

Verbal or physical conduct directed at an individual- or someone perceived as an individual- with a mental or physical disability that has a negative effect or is likely to have a negative effect so as to have the purpose or effect of creating a hostile work or educational environment.

Examples can include:

  • Mimicking a co-worker's speech impairment.
  • Addressing an individual with a mental or physical disability as "retard" or "crip" or other derogatory or offensive language.
  • Repeatedly asking the only student in class with an obvious disability, "Do you understand?"

 


 

Last Modified: 3/29/24 10:22 AM | Website Feedback