“The University of Memphis is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. What Does This Mean?”. Introduction.
“The University of Memphis is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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“The University of Memphis is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
What Does This Mean?”
As a University of Memphis faculty or staff member you’ve probably noticed the statement “The University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.” This statement appears on all publications, letterhead, and advertisements. On more formal printed University correspondence and publications, the University uses an expanded version of the previous statement.
“The University of Memphis, a Tennessee Board of Regents Institution, is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Employer. We urge all qualified applicants to apply for this position. Appointment will be based on qualifications as they relate to position requirements without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, or veteran status.”
If you’ve been in the workforce for a while, this has become routine for most employers. This presentation will explain why we use this statement and the purposes for the federal regulations. Policy and procedures information should be discussed with employees every year.
Federal EEO Laws
Federal law requires The University of Memphis to make employment decisions without regard to race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion and disability.
Federal EEO laws which prohibit discrimination against these classes:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: race, color, sex, religion and national origin
The Civil Rights Act of 1991
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADE A)
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: race, color, and national origin
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The Equal Pay Act
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
Executive Order 11246
State and municipal laws
Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act
Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
How Do We Ever Keep Up With All of These Laws?
Office of Civil Rights
Department of Labor
Department of Labor
Department of Education
Department of Personnel Management
Department of Justice
While there are several federal agencies who monitor compliance of these regulations, the three most important agencies are the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs or OFCCP, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC, and The Tennessee Human Rights Commission or THRC.
So What’s the Difference Between Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity?
Affirmative Action is one means to end discrimination and to remedy the effects of past discrimination in the workplace. It includes productive recruitment and positive outreach activities and plans designed to notify and attract women, minorities, persons with disabilities, disabled veterans, Vietnam era veterans or other underrepresented groups about job openings and opportunities.
The University of Memphis does this to ensure fair and equitable employment practices as well as to achieve an equitable representation in our workforce.
Under Executive Order 11246, Affirmative Action requires The U of M to establish an Affirmative Action Plan to accomplish these measures and to assess the status of our workforce.
Affirmative Action strategies are intended to help bring these groups to our front door, or to be more precise, into our applicant pools.
Once good faith efforts to attract these individuals have been made, Equal Employment Opportunity takes over.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) provides a working environment for all employees free of discrimination, prejudice, and bias.
Any employment decision made should be based on sound management principles and should not be tied to any discriminatory factors discussed earlier.
So What Do All These Rules and Regulations Mean?
The Pregnancy Act (PDA)
It is a violation of University policy, as well as federal and state laws, to discriminate against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of sex.
Most recently, the EEOC and the OFCCP started examining promotional opportunities for women in the upper echelons of companies. This is known as a “Glass Ceiling Audit.”
The Pregnancy Act
Sex discrimination can take a number of forms:
The Pregnancy Act or PDA is designed to prevent discrimination in the workplace against women as a result of their role as child bearers.
It is the policy of The University of Memphis to provide eligible women employees with leave and adequate recovery time for childbearing.
The woman employee is normally reinstated to her original job.
It is a violation of University policy to harass any member of the University community on the basis of sex.
Sexual harassment may be defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s employment, or submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions or whenever such
conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the work performance through the creation of a hostile environment.
A hostile environment may be created by repeated, unwelcome sexual contact or remarks, including jokes or demeaning statements about a particular gender made in the workplace.
Application of this doctrine in the classroom is far more complicated for faculty because it implicates academic freedom.
If questioned a faculty will have to be able to show that such remarks or jokes are legitimately within the scope of the course that he or she is teaching when the remarks are made.
Intimate relationships between supervisors and their subordinates, between faculty members and students are strongly discouraged due to the inherent inequality of power in such situations. These relationships could lead to undue favoritism or the perception of undue favoritism, abuse of power, compromised judgement or impaired objectivity.
Obviously any employment decision made on the basis of gender is a violation of state and federal laws and regulations, as well as University policy, unless the position qualifies for the bona fide occupational exception under Title VII.
Race, Color or National Origin Discrimination
Race, color or national origin
It is a violation of University policy to harass a person because of the individual’s race, color, or national origin.
Racial harassment may be defined as:
“conduct by the employer, or its employees which unreasonably interferes with the victim’s status or performance through the creation of an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.”
Like sexual harassment, a hostile environment based on race may be created through repeated remarks, jokes, or slurs regarding race or national origin made in the workplace or educational environment.
Disabled and Veterans of the Vietnam Era
It is University policy to take Affirmative Action to employ and advance in employment qualified disabled veterans, and Vietnam era veterans whether they are disabled or not.
Recently, the law added in coverage for veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized.
Generally this regulation requires the University to post job openings with the local state employment agency.
Usually those positions which are considered executive and top management jobs, jobs which are posted internally, and jobs lasting 3 days or less do not have to be posted with the local State Employment Agency.
The law requires that employers with Federal contracts or subcontracts of $25,000 or more provide equal opportunity and affirmative action for Vietnam era veterans, special disabled veterans and veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized.
The University of Memphis prohibits discrimination based on religion against applicants for employment and employees.
Efforts will be made to accommodate the religious observances and practices of employees unless the requested accommodation is unreasonable and would result in an undue hardship on the conduct of University business.
National Origin Discrimination
It is the policy of the University to prohibit the discrimination based on an individual’s place of origin, or his or her ancestor’s place of origin, or because an individual has physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics of a national origin.
Additionally, it is against University policy to discriminate because of a marriage to or association with persons of a national origin group, or due to membership in or association with an organization identified with the interests of a national group.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
ADEA prohibits discrimination on the basis of age as to applicants for employment and employees the age of 40 or over except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification or the employer is observing the terms of either a bona fide seniority system or employee benefit plan.
Persons with Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act
The Rehabilitation Act promotes employment of persons with disabilities and was designed to prevent discrimination.
A person with a disability is:
“anyone who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of the major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.”
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 basically strengthened and extended the requirements of The Rehabilitation Act making them applicable to private as well as public employers and added stronger laws related to public accommodations, telecommunications, and transportation.
Companies that serve the general public are required to make their facilities, services, goods and other public accommodation accessible.
The Equal Pay Act (EPA)
The Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires that men and women receive equal pay for equal work.
It’s not a violation if salaries are not equal due to a seniority system, merit system, a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production or because of any factor other than sex.
As you can see, complying with Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action legislation and applicable regulations is not easy and as employees or supervisors, you may be required to explain your actions, decisions, or recommendations.
The University must ensure that all employment-related decisions and actions are based on sound management principles and professional standards.
They must not and will not be based on “race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, disability, or Vietnam era or disabled veterans status.”
To comply with policies, procedures, or sound business practices, you may have to complete more paperwork or have more meetings with your supervisor or co-workers.
These extra efforts on your part will help to ensure that The University of Memphis is a working environment free of discrimination.