Equal Opportunity

Protected Categories

A protected category/class is a group of people who qualify for certain special protection under a law or policy. For example, the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is one
anti-discrimination law that protects certain groups of people (i.e. under this Act people
are protected from discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex and national origin).
Under this Act, and other federal anti-discrimination laws (like the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act), a person may not be
discriminated against based on certain characteristics. Everyone has protection of these
state and federal anti-discrimination laws.

University of South Florida has put into its own policy which is the Diversity and Equal
Opportunity: Discrimination and Harassment Policy #0-007 the protected categories
found in Florida and federal civil rights laws. You may find this policy in the Office of
Compliance and Ethics-Equal Opportunity Section webpages as well as the Office of General
Counsel’s webpages.

Age

Age Discrimination

Age discrimination involves treating an applicant, employee or student less favorably
because of their age.

Age Discrimination & Work or Academic Situations

USF’s Diversity and Equal Opportunity Policy #0-007 prohibits age discrimination in
any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions,
layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of employment except where
allowed or required by law. USF Policy #0-007 also prohibits age discrimination in the
academic aspects at USF except where allowed or required by law.

Age Discrimination & Harassment

USF Policy #0-007 prohibits harassing a person because of their age.

Harassment can include, for example, offensive or derogatory remarks about a
person's age. Harassment violates USF Policy #0-007. Harassment is defined as
behavior that is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work or
academic environment, or when it results in an adverse employment or academic
decision (such as the target of the harassment being fired, demoted, or given a failing
grade in a class).

The harasser can be the target’s academic advisor, class professor, supervisor, a
supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the
employer, such as a client or customer.

Color

Color Discrimination

Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color
complexion as in the hue of the skin.

Color discrimination also can involve treating someone unfavorably because the person
is married to (or associated with) a person of a certain color.

Discrimination can also occur between two people of the same color, as in, when the
target of the discrimination and the person who is discriminating are of the same or
color.

Color Discrimination & Work and Academic Situations

USF’s Diversity and Equal Opportunity Policy #0-007 prohibits discrimination when it
comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments,
promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of
employment. USF Policy #0-007 also prohibits color discrimination in the academic
aspects at USF.

Color Discrimination & Harassment

USF policy #0-007 prohibits harassing a person because of that person's color.

Harassment can include, for example, slurs, offensive or derogatory remarks about a
person's skin color. Harassment violates USF Policy #0-007. Harassment is defined
as behavior that is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work or
academic environment, or when it results in an adverse employment or academic
decision (such as the target of the harassment being fired, demoted, or given a failing
grade in a class).

The harasser can be the target’s academic advisor, class professor, supervisor, a
supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the
employer, such as a client or customer. 

Disability

Disability Discrimination

Disability discrimination involves treating an applicant, employee or student less
favorably because that person is a qualified individual with a disability. It is a
violation of USF’s Disability and Accommodations (Public/Employees/Students)
Policy #0-108 to discriminate or harass an individual because that individual is a
qualified individual with a disability.

It is the policy of the University to comply fully with the requirements of the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended by the Americans with
Disability Act Amendments Act of 2008 and all other federal and state laws and
regulations prohibiting discrimination and assuring accessibility on the basis of
disability.

No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be
excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of services, programs, or
activities of the USF System or be subjected to discrimination or lack of access by
the USF System, as provided by law.

Disability discrimination also occurs when an individual treats an applicant,
employee or student less favorably because they have a history of a disability
(such as cancer that is controlled or in remission) or because she is believed to
have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory (lasting or expected to
last six months or less) and minor (even if she does not have such an impairment).
USF Policy #0-108 also protects USF student, staff and faculty from discrimination
based on their relationship with a person with a disability (even if they do not
themselves have a disability). For example, it is violates USF Policy #0-108 to
discriminate against an employee because their spouse has a disability.

Disability Discrimination & Work and Academic Situations

USF Policy #0-108 forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of
employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff,
training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment except
where allowed or required by law. USF Policy #0-108 also prohibits disability
discrimination in the academic aspects at USF except where allowed or required by
law.

Disability Discrimination & Harassment

It is a violation of USF Policy #0-108 to harass an applicant or employee because
they have a disability, had a disability in the past, or is believed to have a physical
or mental impairment that is not transitory (lasting or expected to last six months or
less) and minor (even if he does not have such an impairment).

Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person's disability.
Harassment violates USF Policy #0-108. Harassment is defined as behavior that is
so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work or academic
environment, or when it results in an adverse employment or academic decision
(such as the target of the harassment being fired, demoted, or given a failing grade
in a class).

The harasser can be the target’s academic advisor, class professor, supervisor, a
supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the
employer, such as a client or customer.

Disability Discrimination & Reasonable Accommodation

USF Policy #0-108 requires that the University provide a reasonable
accommodation to an employee, job applicant, or student who is a qualified
individual with a disability unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or
expense to the University ("undue hardship").

A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work or academic environment
(i.e. in the way things are usually done) to help a person with a disability apply for a
job, perform the duties of a job, enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment or
perform as a student.

Reasonable accommodations might include, for example, making the workplace
accessible for wheelchair users or providing a reader or interpreter for someone
who is blind or hearing impaired.

Disability Discrimination & Reasonable Accommodation & Undue Hardship

An employer does not have to provide an accommodation if doing so would cause
undue hardship to the University.

Undue hardship means that the accommodation would be too difficult or too
expensive to provide, in light of the University's size, financial resources, and the
needs of the University. The University does not have to provide the exact
accommodation the employee, applicant or student requests. If more than one
accommodation works, the University may choose which one to provide.

Gender Identity and Expression

Gender Identity and Expression Discrimination

Gender Identity and Expression discrimination involves treating an applicant,
employee or student less favorably because of that person’s gender identity or how
that person has chosen to express their gender identity.

Gender Definition

“Gender” refers to the attitudes, feelings, roles and behaviors that a given culture or
society associates with a person’s biological sex.

Gender Identity Definition

One's innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how
individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One's gender identity
can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.

Gender Expression Definition

External appearance of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior,
clothing, haircut and/or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined
behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or
feminine.

Gender Identity and Expression & Work or Academic Situations

USF’s Diversity and Equal Opportunity Policy #0-007 prohibits gender identity and
expression discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay,
job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or
condition of employment. USF Policy #0-007 also prohibits gender identity and
expression discrimination in the academic aspects at USF.

Gender Identity and Expression Discrimination & Harassment

USF Policy #0-007 prohibits harassing a person because of their gender identity and
expression.

Harassment can include, for example, offensive or derogatory remarks about a
person's gender identity and expression. Harassment violates USF Policy #0-007.
Harassment is defined as behavior that is so frequent or severe that it creates a
hostile or offensive work or academic environment, or when it results in an adverse
employment or academic decision (such as the target of the harassment being fired,
demoted, or given a failing grade in a class).

The harasser can be the target’s academic advisor, class professor, supervisor, a
supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the
employer, such as a client or customer.

Genetic Information

Genetic Information

Genetic Information discrimination involves treating an applicant, employee or student
less favorably because of that person’s genetic information. Genetic Information
includes information about an individual’s genetic tests and the genetic tests of an
individual’s family members, as well as information about the manifestation of a
disease or disorder in an individual’s family members (i.e. family medical history).
Family medical history is included in the definition of genetic information because it is
often used to determine whether someone has an increased risk of getting a disease,
disorder, or condition in the future. Genetic information also includes an individual's
request for, or receipt of, genetic services, or the participation in clinical research that
includes genetic services by the individual or a family member of the individual, and
the genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or by a pregnant woman
who is a family member of the individual and the genetic information of any embryo
legally held by the individual or family member using an assisted reproductive
technology.

Genetic Information Discrimination & Work or Academic Situations

USF’s Diversity and Equal Opportunity Policy #0-007 prohibits genetic information
discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job
assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of
employment. USF Policy #0-007 also prohibits genetic information discrimination in
the academic aspects at USF.

Genetic Information Discrimination & Harassment

USF Policy #0-007 prohibits harassing a person because of their genetic information.
Harassment can include, for example, making offensive or derogatory remarks about
an applicant, student or employee’s genetic information, or about the genetic
information of a relative of the applicant, student or employee. Harassment violates
USF Policy #0-007. Harassment is defined as behavior that is so frequent or severe
that it creates a hostile or offensive work or academic environment, or when it results
in an adverse employment or academic decision (such as the target of the
harassment being fired, demoted, or given a failing grade in a class).

The harasser can be the target’s academic advisor, class professor, supervisor, a
supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the
employer, such as a client or customer.

 

 

Marital Status

Marital Status Discrimination 

Marital Status discrimination involves treating an applicant, employee or student less
favorably because of that person is single, married, separated, divorced or widowed.

Marital Status Discrimination & Work or Academic Situations

USF’s Diversity and Equal Opportunity Policy #0-007 prohibits marital status
discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job
assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of
employment. USF Policy #0-007 also prohibits marital status discrimination in the
academic aspects at USF.

Marital Status Discrimination & Harassment

USF Policy #0-007 prohibits harassing a person because of their marital status.

Harassment can include, for example, offensive or derogatory remarks about a
person's marital status. Harassment violates USF Policy #0-007. Harassment is
defined as behavior that is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive
work or academic environment, or when it results in an adverse employment or
academic decision (such as the target of the harassment being fired, demoted, or
given a failing grade in a class).

The harasser can be the target’s academic advisor, class professor, supervisor, a
supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the
employer, such as a client or customer.

Nation Origin

National Origin Discrimination

National origin discrimination involves treating people (applicants, students or
employees) unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world,
because of ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic
background (even if they are not). USF’s Diversity and Equal Opportunity Policy #0-007
prohibits discrimination based on national origin.

National origin discrimination also can involve treating people unfavorably because they
are married to (or associated with) a person of a certain national origin.

Discrimination can occur when the target and the person who inflicted the discrimination
are of the same national origin.

National Origin Discrimination & Work and Academic Situations

USF Policy #0-007 prohibits national origin discrimination in any aspect of
employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training,
benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. USF Policy #0-007 also
prohibits national origin discrimination in the academic aspects at USF.

National Origin & Harassment

USF Policy #0-007 prohibits harassing a person because of their national origin.

Harassment can include, for example, offensive or derogatory remarks about a
person's national origin, accent or ethnicity.

Harassment can include, for example, offensive or derogatory remarks about a
person's age. Harassment violates USF Policy #0-007. Harassment is defined as
behavior that is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work or
academic environment, or when it results in an adverse employment or academic
decision (such as the target of the harassment being fired, demoted, or given a failing
grade in a class).

The harasser can be the target’s academic advisor, class professor, supervisor, a
supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the
employer, such as a client or customer.

National Origin & Employment Policies or Practices

The University can only require an employee to speak fluent English if fluency in English
is necessary to perform the job effectively. An "English-only rule", which requires
employees to speak only English on the job, is only allowed if it is needed to ensure the
safe or efficient operation of University work or academic business and is put in place for nondiscriminatory reasons. 

Race/Ethnicity

Race/Ethnicity Discrimination

Race and/or Ethnicity discrimination involves treating an applicant, employee or student
unfavorably because that person is of a particular race/ethnicity or because the
individual displays personal characteristics associated with a particular race or ethnicity
(such as hair texture, skin Ethnicity, or certain facial features).

Race or Ethnicity discrimination also can involve treating someone unfavorably because
the person is married to (or associated with) a person of a certain race or ethnicity.

Discrimination can also occur between two people of the same race or ethnicity, as in,
when the target of the discrimination and the person who is discriminating is of the
same race or ethnicity.

Race Discrimination & Work and Academic Situations

USF’s Diversity and Equal Opportunity Policy #0-007 prohibits discrimination when it
comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments,
promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of
employment. USF Policy #0-007 also prohibits race or ethnicity discrimination in the
academic aspects at USF.

Race Discrimination & Harassment

USF policy #0-007 prohibits harassing a person because of that person's race or
ethnicity.

Harassment can include, for example, racial slurs, offensive or derogatory remarks
about a person's race or ethnicity, or the display of racially-offensive symbols.
Harassment violates USF Policy #0-007. Harassment is defined as behavior that is so
frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work or academic
environment, or when it results in an adverse employment or academic decision
(such as the target of the harassment being fired, demoted, or given a failing grade in
a class).

The harasser can be the target’s academic advisor, class professor, supervisor, a
supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the
employer, such as a client or customer.

Religion

Religion Discrimination

Race and/or Ethnicity discrimination involves treating an applicant, employee or student
unfavorably because that person is of a particular race/ethnicity or because the
individual displays personal characteristics associated with a particular race or ethnicity
(such as hair texture, skin Ethnicity, or certain facial features).

Race or Ethnicity discrimination also can involve treating someone unfavorably because
the person is married to (or associated with) a person of a certain race or ethnicity.

Discrimination can also occur between two people of the same race or ethnicity, as in,
when the target of the discrimination and the person who is discriminating is of the
same race or ethnicity.

Race Discrimination & Work and Academic Situations

USF’s Diversity and Equal Opportunity Policy #0-007 prohibits discrimination when it
comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments,
promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of
employment. USF Policy #0-007 also prohibits race or ethnicity discrimination in the
academic aspects at USF.

Race Discrimination & Harassment

USF policy #0-007 prohibits harassing a person because of that person's race or
ethnicity.

Harassment can include, for example, racial slurs, offensive or derogatory remarks
about a person's race or ethnicity, or the display of racially-offensive symbols.
Harassment violates USF Policy #0-007. Harassment is defined as behavior that is so
frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work or academic
environment, or when it results in an adverse employment or academic decision
(such as the target of the harassment being fired, demoted, or given a failing grade in
a class).

The harasser can be the target’s academic advisor, class professor, supervisor, a
supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the
employer, such as a client or customer.

Religious Discrimination & Reasonable Accommodation


USF Policy #0-007 allows for the reasonable accommodation of an employee or
student's religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a
minimal burden on the work or academic operations of the University.


Religious Discrimination and Segregation

USF Policy #0-007 also prohibits workplace or academic segregation based on
religion (including religious garb and grooming practices), such as assigning an
employee to a non-customer contact position because of actual or feared customer
preference.

 

Sex (Gender)

Sex (Gender) Discrimination

Sex (Gender) discrimination involves treating an applicant, employee or student
unfavorably because of that person's sex (gender).


Both the target and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the target and
harasser can be the same sex (gender).


Sex (Gender) Discrimination & Work and Academic Situations


USF’s Diversity and Equal Opportunity Policy #0-007 prohibits sex (gender)
discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing,
pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term
or condition of employment. USF Policy #0-007 also prohibits sex (gender)
discrimination in the academic aspects at USF.


Sex (Gender) Discrimination & Harassment


USF Policy #0-007 prohibits harassing a person because of that person's sex
(gender). Harassment violates USF Policy #0-007. Harassment can include offensive
remarks about a person's sex (gender).


Harassment is defined as behavior that is so frequent or severe that it creates a
hostile or offensive work or academic environment, or when it results in an adverse
employment or academic decision (such as the target of the harassment being fired,
demoted, or given a failing grade in a class).

The harasser can be the target’s academic advisor, class professor, supervisor, a
supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the
employer, such as a client or customer.

Equal Compensation


Men and women in the same workplace should be given equal pay for equal work. The
jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. Job content (not job
titles) determines whether jobs are substantially equal. All forms of pay are covered by
this law, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus
plans, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, gasoline allowances, hotel
accommodations, reimbursement for travel expenses, and benefits.

Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination involves treating a female applicant, employee or student
unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to
pregnancy or childbirth.

USF Policy #0-007 prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment or academia, including assignment of internships or externships, class assignments, hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment or academia. 

Sexual Oritentation

Sexual Oritentation Discrimination 

Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic or sexual attraction (or a
combination of these) to persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or
gender, or to both sexes, or more than one gender. Sexual orientation is about who
you are attracted to and who you feel drawn to romantically, emotionally, and
sexually.

Sexual Orientation discrimination involves treating an applicant, employee or
student less favorably because of their sexual orientation.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination & Work or Academic Situations

USF’s Diversity and Equal Opportunity Policy #0-007 prohibits sexual orientation
discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job
assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition
of employment. USF Policy #0-007 also prohibits sexual orientation discrimination
in the academic aspects at USF.


Sexual Orientation & Harassment


USF Policy #0-007 prohibits harassing a person because of their sexual
orientation.

Harassment can include, for example, offensive or derogatory remarks about a
person's sexual orientation. Harassment violates USF Policy #0-007. Harassment
is defined as behavior that is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or
offensive work or academic environment, or when it results in an adverse
employment or academic decision (such as the target of the harassment being
fired, demoted, or given a failing grade in a class).

The harasser can be the target’s academic advisor, class professor, supervisor, a
supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the
employer, such as a client or customer.

Veterans Status

Veteran Status Discrimination

The USF System is also committed to the employment and advancement of qualified
veterans with disabilities and veterans protected under the Vietnam Era Veterans’
Readjustment Assistance Act, as amended (VEVRAA).

Veterans Status discrimination involves treating an applicant, employee or student
less favorably because that person is a current or former veteran.

Veterans Status Discrimination & Work and Academic Situations

USF’s Diversity and Equal Opportunity Policy #0-007 prohibits veterans status
discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay,
job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or
condition of employment. USF Policy #0-007 also prohibits veterans status
discrimination in the academic aspects at USF.

Veterans Status & Harassment

USF Policy #0-007 prohibits harassing a person because of their veterans status.
Harassment can include, for example, offensive or derogatory remarks about a
person being a veteran and/or their veteran’s status. Harassment is defined as
behavior that is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work or
academic environment, or when it results in an adverse employment or academic
decision (such as the target of the harassment being fired, demoted, or given a failing
grade in a class).

The harasser can be the target’s academic advisor, class professor, supervisor, a
supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the
employer, such as a client or customer.

USF Office of Veteran Success

The USF Office of Veteran Success provides specialized programs and services to over
2,000 veterans, eligible dependents, active duty service members, and members of the
Selected Reserve on the USF campus. The Office of Veteran Success is a one-stop
location for anything that a student veteran, may need. The Office’s main goal is to help
veterans in whatever capacity necessary so the veteran can succeed and reach their
educational and career goals.

The USF Office of Veteran Success website is: https://www.usf.edu/student-affairs/veterans/index.aspx