Maintaining Diversity

Maintaining Diversity Icon

Consistent with its commitment to equal opportunity, the university strives to maintain a positive climate for work in which relevant factors such as ability and performance are the bases for decisions relating to individual employees. Managers are responsible for maintaining an environment that supports equal opportunity. This section helps managers understand and incorporate policy and guidance on equal opportunity and affirmative action programs, and to create and manage diversity in the workplace. The information presented here is a supplement to the information provided in the Employee Handbook. As regular university employees, managers are expected to be familiar with the information and follow the guidance found in the Employee Handbook.

Managers are responsible for upholding the university's Equal Employment Opportunity policy and for bringing all issues of concern related to equal employment to the attention of the Equal Employment Opportunity and Access Office. If an employee complains or raises a concern related to discrimination or a difference in treatment in the workplace, managers should contact the Equal Employment Opportunity and Access Office (EEOA) for assistance.

All inquiries pertaining to equal employment opportunity or affirmative action made by attorneys, governmental agencies, or parties other than the university employees should be referred to the EEOA Office or to the Office of the Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

Affirmative Action Program

Pursuant to the US Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and under Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Act, the university executes the Affirmative Action Program and prepares an annual Affirmative Action Plan (AAP). The plan consists of the following sections for:

  • Minorities and Women

  • Persons With Disabilities, and

  • Protected Veterans

The Equal Employment Opportunity and Access Office (EEOA) is responsible writing and implementing the AAP and for the execution of the Affirmation Action Program as a whole. All AAP documents are available for review in the EEOA Office.

Staff should direct any questions or inquiries to the Equal Employment Opportunity and Access Office between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Faculty should direct any questions or inquiries to the Office of Faculty Personnel between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.


Managerial Responsibilities

If an employee requests an accommodation based on a religious practice or belief, the manager should refer the employee to the Equal Employment Opportunity and Access Office (EEO/A).  In consultation with all appropriate parties, the EEO/A will make a recommendation.

Employee Responsibilities

An employee will be asked to provide appropriate documentation to support his or her request to EEO/A.  Documentation that may be considered, includes, but is not limited to: changes in hours or days of work; or time off with or without pay.

In some cases, the university's dress code may also be modified to accommodate a religious practice.

University Responsibilities

The university will make reasonable efforts to provide employees with religious accommodations during all employment processes to enable them to perform the essential functions of their jobs, and to exercise their religious practice without creating an undue hardship on the university. Each accommodation request is considered on an individual basis.


In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), the university does not discriminate against "qualified individuals with a disability."  All individuals are considered for employment based on their education, skills, and experience required for a position. A qualified applicant will be any individual who can perform the essential functions of that position with or without a reasonable accommodation.

The university promotes diversity and nondiscrimination and supports the employment of qualified individuals with disabilities in its workforce. Therefore, a process has been established to determine and implement reasonable modifications to the work environment to allow employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of their jobs.

Types of impairments that may be disabilities:

  • An impairment that substantially limits major life activities such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, hearing, seeing, speaking, breathing, or learning

  • An impairment that otherwise affects an individual's ability to perform a class of jobs or broad range of jobs

  • A psychological impairment such as a learning disability may be considered a disability

  • A chronic health impairment such as epilepsy, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, heart issues, and AIDS may also be considered a disability


Managerial Responsibilities

If a manager is approached by an employee requesting an accommodation or by an employee who believes that he or she has been unlawfully discriminated against because of a disability, the manager should contact the Equal Employment Opportunity and Access Office (EEO/A) as soon as possible. A manager should also contact EEO/A if the manager knows or has reason to know that an employee is experiencing workplace problems because of a disability.

If a manager believes that an employee's job performance problems may be the result of a medical condition, the manager should discuss their concerns with an EEO/A staff person before discussing the matter with the employee.


Employee Responsibilities

An employee is responsible for requesting an accommodation for his or her physical or mental disability, if that disability impacts the employee at work. Employees should request an accommodation through the EEO/A office. An employee must participate in the “interactive process” with EEO/A in order to obtain an accommodation.


University Responsibilities

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and similar provisions of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, once an employee requests an accommodation, the university will promptly determine whether the employee is a qualified individual with a disability and whether a reasonable accommodation exists that would allow the employee to perform the  essential functions of the job without imposing an undue hardship on the university.



The university expects all employees to treat each other with fairness and respect. Harassment occurs when employees are treated in a hostile, or offensive way. This behavior is not acceptable under any circumstance. Harassment based upon race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, or as otherwise stated under Federal, District of Columbia, state or local law, is also strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.

All allegations of harassment, or complaints of unequal treatment will be taken seriously and must be brought to the attention of the EEO/A. Employees who believe that they are experiencing any type of unlawful discrimination or harassment should bring their concerns to the attention of their managers, EEO/A, or any member of management.

Retaliation in any form against an employee who reports harassment, or who participates in an investigation into an allegation of harassment, is strictly prohibited and will result in appropriate disciplinary action for the party found to have retaliated against the employee.

Any manager who fails to take appropriate steps to help investigate, process, or resolve a complaint of harassment may be subject to discipline.


What Employees Should Do If They Believe They Are Being Harassed

If an employee is experiencing any type of discriminatory conduct or harassment:

  • The employee should bring that conduct to the immediate attention of his or her manager, the Sexual Harassment Response Coordinator at (202) 994-6503, or the Equal Employment Opportunity and Access Office at (202) 994-9656

  • If any employee raises a concern of sexual harassment with a manager (regardless of whether the employee is under the supervision of the manager with whom the concern is raised) that manager should immediately discuss the issue with the Sexual Harassment Response Coordinator.

  • If an employee asks a manager not to share his or her concerns with anyone else, the manager should encourage the employee to report the complaint or allow the manager to report the complaint. Often, assurance of appropriate  confidentiality will ease the employee's reluctance to raise a concern. Please note that absolute confidentiality cannot be guaranteed; only confidentiality to the extent it is consistent with university policy and procedures can be assured. Regardless of the employee's request, managers must report allegations of unlawful harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity and Access Office.


The University's Response to Claims of Harassment:

  • The university will conduct a prompt and thorough review of the circumstances surrounding a reported incident. It will be kept confidential to the extent possible.

  • If the investigation discloses that an individual has committed an act of discrimination or harassment, that individual will be subject to appropriate corrective or disciplinary action up to and including termination.

  • Retaliation in any form against an employee who complains of discrimination or harassment,or who participates in an investigation of an allegation of discrimination or harassment, is strictly prohibited and will result in appropriate disciplinary action.

  • Any supervisory employee to whom an employee brings a complaint of discrimination or harassment but who fails to take appropriate steps to address it, is subject to a disciplinary action.