Equal Employment Opportunity

We pride ourselves on being a champion to GW’s commitment to fair treatment of all members of its community and the main source of education to the university community on how to further our success and understanding of the value of a diverse workforce in our global environment.

The Equal Employment Opportunity & Employee Relations office (EEO/ER) provides consultative services to assist staff with situations that involve allegations of unfair treatment, discrimination and affirmative action, as well as disability and religious accommodations.

Policy Statement

The university is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action (EEO/AA) employer committed to maintaining a non-discriminatory, diverse work environment. The university does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law in any of its programs or activities.

For more information on this policy and its purpose, please read the Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Statement (PDF).

 

The GW Office of Equal Employment Opportunity & Employee Relations (EEO/ER) provides a variety of consultative services to university staff. We are available to assist you with situations that involve allegations of unfair treatment, discrimination, affirmative action, and other issues that involve fairness, as well as with disability and religious accommodations. Consultative assistance is provided to staff through meetings, on-site visits, telephone support, educational outreach, mediation and referral. For more information on any of the services listed below or for other questions, please contact the EEO & Employee Relations Office.

Consultative assistance is provided to staff through meetings, on-site visits, telephone support, educational outreach, mediation and referral. For more information on any of the services listed below or for other questions, please contact the EEO & Employee Relations Office.

Faculty and Staff Requests for Reasonable Accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act

EEO/ER is responsible for administering and coordinating the university's compliance with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). These Acts prohibit employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. A qualified individual with a disability is a person who, with or without a reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job.

All GW employees, both faculty and staff, may contact EEO/ER to request the form needed to apply for an ADAAA reasonable accommodation by email at [email protected], by phone at 202-994-9656, or by fax at 202-994-9658. Once the employee returns the completed request form, EEO/ER will then determine whether the employee is a qualified individual with a disability and, if so, work with the department and the employee to identify any reasonable accommodation for the disability to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.

Staff Requests for Religious Accommodations

GW will make good faith efforts to provide reasonable religious accommodations to an employee whose sincerely held religious beliefs conflict with a University policy, procedure, or other employment requirement(s). EEO/ER will review requests and assist in providing a reasonable accommodation unless such an accommodation would create an undue hardship on the employee's department. If you would like to request a reasonable accommodation based on your religious beliefs, please contact EEO/ER.

Staff Internal Discrimination or Employee Relations Complaints

Non-faculty staff should be directed to EEO/ER if they feel that they have experienced unfair treatment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, veteran status, disability, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, political affiliation, educational matriculation, retaliation, or gender identity or expression. An employee can file a grievance, and EEO/ER will work with the employee and the department to attempt a resolution of the matter.

If you have questions about the grievance process, please contact your HR representative or the EEO/ER office.

The George Washington University complies with federal EEO laws prohibiting discrimination and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977. Therefore, discrimination complaints may be based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Retaliation
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Veteran Status
  • Marital Status
  • Personal Appearance
  • Political Affiliation
  • Matriculation
  • Family Responsibilities
  • Harassment

Respond to External Administrative Agency Complaints Filed by Staff

When an employee files a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the D.C. Office of Human Rights, or any other agency that enforces employment discrimination laws, EEO/ER will respond to the complaint on behalf of the university. External administrative complaints received by an individual office should be forwarded to the EEO/ER office.

University’s Affirmative Action Plan for Faculty and Staff

EEO/ER is responsible for developing the Affirmative Action Plan for staff and faculty in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

Implement Staff Training Programs on EEO, Affirmative Action, and Disability Issues)

EEO/ER conducts training programs on equal employment opportunity laws, affirmative action obligations, and disability issues through a recurring training program.

The university’s efforts to resolve discrimination grievances begin at the informal stage, which:

  • provides an informal setting for the review of issues surrounding the grievance;
  • provides a forum for the free exchange of concerns by parties involved in the grievance;
  • promotes communications to establish better working relationships between parties involved in the grievance; and
  • resolves the grievance at an early stage, if possible.

If the grievance is not resolved during an informal hearing an employee has the option of requesting a formal hearing. To view additional information on Grievances and Resolutions, please consult the Managing Performance and Conflict section of the Supervisors' Guide.

The George Washington University complies with federal EEO laws prohibiting discrimination and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977. Therefore, discrimination complaints may be based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Retaliation
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Veteran Status
  • Marital Status
  • Personal Appearance
  • Political Affiliation
  • Matriculation
  • Family Responsibilities
  • Harassment.

 

EEO & HR Policy Compliance has established, as a part of the Informal Grievance Program, a 4-step process to resolve allegations of discrimination.

Complete the Form

Intake consists of the Grievant, the individual alleging an adverse action has been taken, completing the Request for Informal Grievance Inquiry form. This form must be completed and submitted in a timely fashion (15 calendar days from the date of the alleged discriminatory act or omission and 10 calendar days in the case of termination). Submit forms to the Department of Equal Employment Opportunity & HR Policy Compliance. The Grievant may be asked by EEO & HR Policy Compliance to provide additional information supporting his/her allegation(s) of discrimination.

Consultation/Informal Grievance Meeting

A member of the EEO & HR Policy Compliance Office will discuss the allegations with the Grievant - which will normally be scheduled within 10 calendar days of the receipt of the request. The follow up discussion(s) with the Respondent will be scheduled within a reasonable time following the Meeting with the Grievant.

During this meeting, circumstances surrounding the cause for the grievance, the relief the Grievant is seeking, and all issues of the grievance will be examined. These discussions are designed to provide the EEO & HR Policy Compliance team member with a full understanding of the issues and to collect any materials related to the grievance. Both parties are advised to provide all documentation related to the grievance during these discussions.

If it appears that the grievance can be resolved at this stage, the EEO Associate will prepare documents, outlining the terms of an agreement and have both the Grievant and the Respondent sign said agreement. The Executive Director of EEO & HR Policy Compliance will sign the final version of this document and return a copy to the Grievant and Respondent.

If the grievance cannot be resolved at this stage, an Informal Grievance Hearing will be scheduled.

Informal Grievance Hearing

The Informal Grievance Hearing is a method of investigation designed to both clarify the issues and develop a complete, objective and impartial record of the facts and allegations. An EEO & HR Policy Compliance staff member will serve as a Facilitator. The Informal Grievance Hearing is a non-adversarial process, which will provide a full and fair opportunity for each participant to present facts relating to the allegations while also maximizing the Facilitator’s ability to resolve the issues of the complaint. Participants in the Informal Grievance Hearing will usually be:

  • The Grievant;
  • The Respondent;
  • Designated Assistants; and
  • EEO & HR Policy Compliance.

Occasionally, official observers from the EEO & HR Policy Compliance Office attend for training and quality assurance purposes. Usually all of the above participants will be present during the entire process. All statements will be made a part of the official record. To insure the accuracy of the record, the Informal Grievance Hearing may be tape-recorded. However, these recordings will only be used to assist the Facilitator in preparing an accurate record and will be destroyed once the Facilitator has completed the investigation.

The typical Informal Grievance Hearing begins with the Facilitator making introductory remarks outlining the procedure, identifying the issues of the grievance, and generally setting the stage for opening statements. The Grievant then makes his/her opening statement, giving his/her view of the matters giving rise to the grievance followed by the Respondent's opening statement. Following this interchange, the Facilitator questions the Grievant and Respondent. Next, the Grievant and Respondent are provided an opportunity to ask questions of each other regarding relevant issues. The Facilitator may then wish to ask further questions of either party. The Grievant and Respondent are each then allowed an opportunity to make a Summary Closing Statement. The time allotted for these statements will generally be limited to no more than 15 minutes, but may be adjusted to accommodate both parties, if time permits. This brings to a close the hearing portion of the investigation.

The process is informal and formal Rules of Evidence do not apply. Supporting documents may be placed in the record at any time during the process by either party. The Informal Grievance Hearing will be under the control of the Facilitator and the participants are expected to cooperate fully during the process. Argumentative, abusive or hostile conduct from either party or any of the participants may result in the hearing being terminated, with the reason for termination being made a part of the record.

Resolution

Resolution of the issues surrounding the grievance is the goal of the Informal Grievance Program. If, during the Informal Grievance Hearing, the parties can reach a mutually acceptable agreement, a member of our office will prepare documents outlining the terms of the agreement and have both the Grievant and Respondent sign the agreement at the Hearing. The Executive Director of EEO & HR Policy Compliance will follow up with a notice formally closing the grievance.

If the parties do not reach a mutually acceptable agreement during the Hearing, the Facilitator will further investigate the grievance after the conclusion of the Hearing. Once the investigation and all relevant actions are complete, the Grievant and Respondent will be notified of the outcome of the Informal Grievance Process.

If the Informal Grievance is not resolved to the Grievant’s satisfaction, the Grievant, if an eligible employee, may request a Formal Grievance Hearing within ten (10) days of completion of the Informal Grievance Process.

Once a request for a Formal Grievance Hearing is submitted to the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity & HR Policy Compliance (EEO), EEO will, within ten (10) calendar days, select a three (3) person Committee from the Formal Grievance Board to review the grievance and forward the request to the Committee.

The Committee will review the request and determine, within 15 calendar days of receipt of the request, whether or not to grant the request for a hearing. The Committee may request clarification or seek additional information before granting or denying the request for a hearing. The Committee can deny the request for 1) lack of merit based on the information supplied; or 2) the inability to grant the relief, i.e. apologies, monetary settlements, etc.

If the Committee denies the request, the Grievant may appeal the Committee’s decision by submitting a request for an appeal within ten (10) calendar days of the mailing of the decision.

If the Committee grants the request, they will establish a date for the Hearing. EEO will arrange for a location for the Hearing. Once a Hearing date and location is established, any request by the Grievant or Respondent to postpone the Hearing must be made in writing to the Committee and sent in care of EEO.

Hearings are conducted according to the Formal Grievance Hearing Order of Proceedings. The Committee will meet in closed session to reach a decision. The Committee has authority to grant specific remedies as set forth in the Formal Grievance Hearing Board Training Program Manual. The decision shall be submitted in writing, within ten (10) calendar days of the hearing, to the Executive Director of the Equal EEO & HR Policy Compliance. EEO will send the decision to the Grievant’s home address of record and to the Respondent’s office address. Unless appealed by the Grievant or Respondent, the decision of the Committee is final. If either party appeals, the decision will not be implemented until the appeal process is completed.

Committee decisions may be appealed by submitting a completed Formal Grievance Hearing Request for Appeal to the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), Rice Hall 2121 I Street, NW Suite 101. Appeals must be within ten (10) calendar days from the mailing of the decision. The decision of the CHRO on an appeal is final.

Additional information related to Equal Employment Opportunity and employee relations can be found in both the Diversity and Inclusion section of the Employee Handbook as well as the Maintaining Diversity section of the Manager's Toolkit.

Hiring managers who have questions about EEO considerations during the interview process should consult the Competitive Recruitment Guide and the Recruitment Resource "EEO Considerations in Interview Questions (PDF)."

Employees can also consult their Human Resources representative or contact the EEO/ER office for additional information or advice.