The Administrative Policies

TAP NO. 30: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, EQUAL EDUCATIONAL AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY, AND HUMAN RELATIONS IN THE WORKPLACE AND CLASSROOM

Scope

This policy applies to faculty, students, and staff; all individuals doing business with or providing services to the University; and all other persons that participate in the University's educational programs and activities, including third-party visitors on campus. This policy applies to all employment and educational practices and actions.

Purpose

This policy evidences the university's commitment to the principles of equal educational and employment opportunities for all qualified persons. It establishes the University's policy prohibiting discriminatory human relations in the classroom and workplace for all qualified persons, and provides guidance on the University's response to reported violations of this Policy.

I. Policy

It is the policy of Duquesne University to provide an educational, employment, and business environment free of all forms of discrimination, as set forth in this policy and as otherwise prohibited by state and federal law.

II. Overview

The University is committed to nondiscriminatory human relations in the classroom and workplace, without regard to the person's race, color, gender, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, religion, national origin, marital status, genetic history, Veteran status, disability, and/or any other category or characteristic otherwise protected by state or federal law. All of these classes and any other forms of discrimination are totally antithetical to the policy of the University. This applies to all University activities, including, but not limited to, recruitment, hiring, examination and testing, training, grading, disciplinary actions, rates of pay or other compensation, advancement, classification, transfer and reassignment, discharge, and all other terms and conditions of employment, educational status, and access to university programs and activities.

A. Equal Educational Opportunity:

No person seeking to pursue study at the University shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in their educational pursuits or in having access to any program or activity of the University if they have the required academic and technical qualifications.

B. Equal Employment Opportunity:

No qualified person seeking employment with, or advancement within, the University shall be excluded from the recruiting process and every effort shall be made to hire and promote women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in all position classifications. To ensure compliance with this policy, Human Resources may monitor and report on applicant demographics for those who voluntarily provide the information using our electronic applicant tracking system.

C. Religiously-Affiliated Organization:

Duquesne University is an educational institution operated in affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. Nothing in this Policy should be construed as a waiver either of the Constitutional or statutory rights which Duquesne University enjoys as a religiously-affiliated organization. In particular Duquesne University reserves the right to specify as a qualification for employment the ability and willingness to support the values of Catholicism as set forth in the University's Mission Statement.

III. Retaliation 

Retaliation means any adverse action or threat taken or made against an individual for making a report alleging a violation of this policy or participating in any investigation or proceeding related to this policy. No individual who complains of or reports an alleged violation of this policy or who participates in the investigation or resolution of such a complaint shall be subject to retaliation as a result of such activity or participation.

IV. Key Terms (Definitions)

A. With respect to the timeframes set forth in Appendix A, all references to Business Days are Monday through Friday and exclude recognized University holidays/holy days of obligation. In exceptional circumstances, time frames may be extended with written approval by the Vice President of Legal Affairs.

B. The Complaint Resolution Process is the process, set forth in Appendix A, for addressing alleged violations of this Policy.

C. A party or participant's University email account is the Official Method of Communication during the Complaint Resolution Process. Parties and participants are required to periodically check their account for time critical notices or administrative notices requiring a timely response. Notice will be considered received one day following the date the notice is posted to an email account. Failure to check a University email account does not excuse or exempt a party or participant from any actions required by the University. Failure to check email is not an excuse to miss a deadline that is established under the Complaint Resolution Process. Party and participant communication regarding the Complaint Resolution Process should be generated from their Duquesne University personal email account.

D. A finding with respect to a Respondent's responsibility for committing a violation of this Policy is made using a Preponderance of the Evidence standard. This means that the Review Panel will make a determination whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent is responsible for committing a violation.

E. A Respondent is an individual who allegedly violated this Policy.

F. Complaints of alleged violations of this Policy are heard by a Review Panel comprised of mix of three faculty and staff members who have been trained on TAP 30 and the Complaint Resolution Process.

G. The Complainant and Respondent may be accompanied by one Support Person throughout the Complaint Resolution Process. A Support Person must be a current University student, faculty, or staff member. Upon request, the Director of Anti-Discrimination Compliance will connect a party with a member of the University community who has been trained as a Review Panel member who can act as a Support Person. The Support Person shall not perform any function other than advising the party, and may not speak for, or on behalf of, the party. A Support Person may not ask questions or speak for or on behalf of the party during interviews in the Complaint Resolution Process. Communication during the Complaint Resolution Process will be between the Director of Anti-Discrimination Compliance and the party. Additionally, delays in the Complaint Resolution Process will not normally be allowed due to a Support Person's scheduling conflicts.

H. The University Mediator is the University administrator responsible for Step One of the Complaint Resolution Process.

I. A Witness is anyone with first-hand knowledge related to the alleged violation of this Policy.

V. Complaint Resolution

Any student, faculty, or staff member who believes that he or she has experienced a violation of this policy should raise his or her concern to the Director of Anti-Discrimination Compliance. Alleged violations of this Policy will be addressed following the Complaint Resolution Process set forth in Appendix A. Complainants must meet with the Director of Anti-Discrimination Compliance to file a formal complaint within sixty (60) business days following the alleged discriminatory act or the date on which the Complainant knew or reasonably should have known of the act. The Complaint Resolution Process is confidential to the greatest extent possible.

A Complainant may choose not to file a formal complaint under the Complaint Resolution Process and/or may choose to withdraw his or her complaint at any point in the Complaint Resolution Process. In some situations, however, the University may be required to address the reported Policy violation even though the Complainant does not wish to proceed. This may occur when the University believes there is a need to prevent ongoing or recurring discrimination or when the University has a legal obligation to pursue an investigation related to a reported Policy violation. In such cases, the University is not obligated to follow the Complaint Resolution Process.

Complainants are encouraged to utilize the University's Complaint Resolution Process. However, the University acknowledges the rights of Complainants to seek redress from any external enforcement agency, including the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the Office of Civil Rights of the US Department of Education. The Complaint Resolution Process will stop upon the University receiving notice (orally or in writing, from any person, including the Complainant) that the Complainant has filed an external complaint, but the University, in its discretion, may continue to investigate and/or address reported violations of this Policy.

Allegations of violations of this Policy which are made against a student(s) will be referred to the Director of Student Conduct and addressed in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Student Handbook.

VI. Related Information 

TAP No. 56, Americans with Disabilities (ADA) and Requests for Reasonable Accommodation
The Faculty Handbook
The Student Handbook
Appendix A: Anti-Discrimination Complaint Resolution Process

VII. Violations

Violations of this policy will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are subject to formal disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. See also, Appendix A, which sets forth the process for making findings and sanctions.

VIII. History

Date of most recent revision: October 2019.

IX. Ownership of Policy

Director of Anti-Discrimination Compliance.