Affirmative Action Program
8. Policy Statements
UHV does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of protected status which includes their race, color, sex, genetic information, religion, age, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected status. Further, the University of Houston System forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Additionally, UHV does and will take affirmative action to employ, advance in employment, and treat qualified individuals without discrimination in all employment practices, such as recruitment, selection, promotion, demotion, transfer, reduction-in-force, termination, compensation, benefits and training.
Employment decisions at UHV are based on valid job requirements, merit, qualifications and abilities of the employee or applicant. UHV personnel actions or programs, such as employment, upgrading, demotion or transfer, recruitment, advertising, termination, rate of pay or other forms of compensation, and selection for training, are administered without regard to disability or veteran status.
UHS makes, and will continue to make, reasonable accommodations to promote the employment of qualified individuals with disabilities and special disabled veterans, unless such accommodations would impose an undue hardship on UHV.
To support this statement of policy, please find descriptions of the corresponding UHV and UHS policies below.
In accordance with UHS Memorandum Number 01.D.04, “Affirmative Action Policy,”
“The University of Houston System is committed to the development, implementation, and maintenance of viable affirmative action plans and programs which are in compliance with applicable state and federal laws.”
Based on this policy, UHS and its components will be responsible for the development, implementation, and administration of comprehensive affirmative action programs for all faculty and staff employment, regardless of the source of funding. These affirmative action programs will include steps to recruit, hire, train, promote, and retain qualified personnel in all protected classes at all levels of the System.
Furthermore, it is the policy of UHS that employment decisions will be based on valid job requirements, merit, qualifications and abilities of the employee or applicant, and reflect the System’s obligation to fill each position with the best talent available. In that spirit, UHS Administrative Memorandum 02.A.13 states that:
“Recruitment and selection of candidates for vacant positions will be conducted in accordance with applicable statutes, regulations, and policies of the System and will be consistent with the principles of equal employment and affirmative action.”
Thus, affirmative action does not mean lowering standards of excellence or hiring unqualified persons. Affirmative action means that UHS will make good faith efforts to increase the opportunities for women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans to participate in all areas of the workforce by making positive steps to remove discriminatory barriers. The standard of excellence that assures quality performance is central to an effective AAP. Legitimate, essential and business necessity-based standards and requirements provide for a fair and equitable employment environment for all persons.
Equal Employment Opportunity
In accordance with UHS Memorandum Number 01.D.05 “Equal Employment Opportunity,” current UH System employees and applicants for employment, will receive equal access to the application process and equal opportunity for, and equal treatment during, employment.
“The System is committed to the concept of equal employment opportunity as a necessary element of an employment process based on job-related factors and without regard to protected class status such as age, race, color, disability, religion, national origin, veteran’s status, genetic information, or sex (including pregnancy), except where such a distinction is required by law. Discrimination against any individual in any of these protected classifications with regard to recruitment, appointment, benefits, training, promotion, retention, discipline, termination or any other aspect of the terms, conditions and/or privileges of employment is prohibited. Additionally, the System prohibits discrimination in all aspects of employment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Each component university is responsible for ensuring compliance with all federal and state laws, regulations and guidelines, and with System policies.”
Discrimination and Harassment
Under University of Houston System’s System Administrative Memorandum Number 01.D.07, “Discrimination and Harassment,” UHS expresses its commitment to maintaining and strengthening an educational, working and living environment where students, faculty, staff and visitors are free from discrimination and harassment of any kind. Discrimination and harassment is antithetical to the standards and ideals of the University. The University will take appropriate action in an effort to eliminate discrimination and harassment from happening, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.
UHS describes discrimination as:
“Treating an individual or members of a Protected Class less favorably because of their membership in that class or having a policy or practice that has a disproportionately adverse impact on Protected Class members.”
UHS describes protected class as:
“A class of persons who are protected under applicable federal or state laws against discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, sex, genetic information, religion, age, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected status. Additionally, for purposes of this Policy, the term “Protected Class” includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.”
Further, under the policy, UHS defines harassment as subjecting an individual on the basis of her or his membership in a Protected Class to unlawful severe, pervasive or persistent treatment that constitutes:
- Humiliating, abusive or threatening conduct or behavior that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group;
- An intimidating, hostile or abusive learning, living or working environment or an environment that alters the conditions of learning, living or working; or
- An unreasonable interference with an individual’s academic or work performance.
Harassment that satisfies this legal standard includes, but is not limited to, epithets or slurs, negative stereotyping, threatening, intimidating or hostile acts, denigrating jokes and display or circulation (including through e-mail) of written or graphic material in the learning, living or working environment.
Under University of Houston System’s System Administrative Memorandum Number 02.D.08, UHS expresses its commitment to maintaining and strengthening an educational, working and living environment where students, faculty, staff and visitors are free from sex discrimination of any kind. Sexual Misconduct (as defined in this policy), a form of sex discrimination, is antithetical to the standards and ideals of the University. The University will take appropriate action in an effort to eliminate Sexual Misconduct from happening, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.
“Sexual Misconduct” is a broad term encompassing a range of non-consensual sexual activity or unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature. The term includes sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual intimidation, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating
violence and stalking as further described in Section 6. Sexual Misconduct can be committed by men or women, strangers or acquaintances, and can occur between people of the same or opposite sex. This Policy applies regardless of the complainant’s or the respondent’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. An attempt to engage in conduct that constitutes Sexual Misconduct under this Policy may be treated itself as an act of Sexual Misconduct.
The University has jurisdiction over, and will respond to, allegations of Sexual Misconduct occurring on the University’s premises, at University Affiliated Activities, and/or where both the alleged perpetrator and victim are a student, faculty, or staff. A Sexual Misconduct complaint rising to the level of a potential criminal violation may be considered separately under this Policy and in the criminal justice system. Proceedings under this Policy will not be dismissed or delayed because criminal prosecution is pending, charges have been dismissed, or the charges have been reduced. Proceedings may also continue if a party is no longer employed with or a student of the University.
Reasonable Workplace Accommodations for Employees With Disabilities
Under University of Houston System’s System Administrative Memorandum Number 02.E.09 “Reasonable Workplace Accommodations for Employees With Disabilities,” UHS expresses its adherence to the mandates of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”), the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADAAA”), and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, as applicable. Thus, it is the policy of the System that, “all qualified employees with disabilities are afforded equal employment opportunity in compliance with federal and state laws. The University, in keeping with its values and goals, provides reasonable workplace accommodations to employees with disabilities.”
Internal Grievances Received from Applicants and Employees
Positive employer/employee relations are aided by effective communications concerning employment expectations. Satisfactory resolution of grievances and equitable application of appropriate policies, regulations and rules are essential to employee morale and productivity. EOS is charged with assisting employees in resolving, where possible, any complaint of discrimination or noncompliance with federal and state regulations and UHS policy.
Under UHV Policy C-21, Employee Grievances, staff employees are provided a means whereby to file employment-related complaints:
“The University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) is committed to a work environment that requires supervisors and officials at all levels to treat employees fairly and consistently in all matters related to their employment and to make personnel decisions consistent with state and federal laws and university policies. The purpose of this policy is to provide the informal and formal processes for addressing non-faculty employee grievances. Employees have the right to express concerns/ grievances through informal and formal avenues without interference, coercion, intimidation, harassment or retaliation.”
Charges of Discrimination Received from External Agencies
Independent of UHS’ internal grievance process, employees may, at their discretion, seek assistance from state or federal agencies charged with handling complaints of discrimination. Upon receipt of this type of complaint, the Office of General Counsel coordinates the resolution or disposition of the complaint.
It is the policy of UHS that retaliation is strictly prohibited against a person who files a complaint of discrimination or harassment, opposes a charge, or testifies, or assists or participates in an investigative proceeding or hearing.
University of Houston System grievance policies and procedures can be found on the Office of Equal Opportunity Services website: http://www.uh.edu/equal-opportunity/.