University Policy 1025: Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Assault defines discrimination as conduct that conditions any element of a person's employment, enrollment as a student, receipt of student financial aid, or participation in university activities on that person's age, color, disability, gender (including pregnancy), gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, unless otherwise permitted or required by applicable law. Virginia Tech does not otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, disclose their compensation, or the compensation of other employees or applicants nor on any other basis protected by law. Discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities that receive federal funding as set forth in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, is included in this definition of prohibited discrimination.

Examples of possible discriminatory behavior include:

  • Deciding not to hire someone because they have or might have a disability
  • Engaging in employment practices that, even unintentionally, disadvantage a gender or ethnicity (i.e. having height restrictions or educational requirements that are not bona fide occupational requirements for a job)
  • Stating that the department needs to attract millennials to the applicant pool because the workforce is aging out.
  • Preventing someone from wearing religious or ethnic dress because it could potentially make other people feel uncomfortable

Types of discrimination

University policies and employment laws prohibit harassment or discrimination on the basis of age against individuals who are over forty years old.

For more information, visit the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and view information on the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prohibits discrimination or discriminatory harassment on the basis of a person’s color.

Virginia Tech is committed to a policy of non-discrimination in employment and education and complies with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities.

Learn more about disability accommodations at Virginia Tech and the Americans with Disabilities Act. For more information about disability discrimination, visit the United States Equal Opportunity Employment Commission website.

The prohibition against discrimination or harassment on the basis of gender includes sexual harassment, as well as treating people unequally on the basis of gender, except in rare situations where gender is a bona fide occupational qualification. This prohibition extends in the workplace to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

For more information on sex or gender discrimination involving employees visit the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website.

For more information about sex discrimination involving students, including sexual harassment, visit the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights website.

Virginia Tech's Title IX coordinator oversees issues of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual assault. Learn more.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of a person's genetic information. Under this law, employers are prohibited from basing employment decisions on factors such as the risk that a person may develop certain diseases that may run in his or her family. Employers also may not ask a person about his or her family medical history. Learn more.

Policy and law protect against discrimination against a person on the basis of his or her national origin, or that of his or her family. Issues of foreign accents or language fluency should be addressed only if necessary for effective performance of a position or an educational requirement. Learn more about discrimination on the basis of national origin.

The Commonwealth of Virginia prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of political affiliation; for example, to which political party an individual might belong.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prohibit discrimination and discriminatory harassment on the basis of a person’s race.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate on the basis of religion, nor does it promote particular religions or any religious views. Virginia Tech does attempt to accommodate sincerely held religious beliefs or practices, as long as it would not be an undue hardship to do so.

University Policy 1025: Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Assault and the law prohibit retaliation against anyone for complaining about harassment or discrimination or for participating in a proceeding addressing a charge of harassment or discrimination. Learn more.

Virginia Tech does not permit harassment or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment or in its academic programs.

The following resources are available to student, staff and faculty members of the Virginia Tech lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community: the LGBTQ Coordinator, the undergraduate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Alliance, the Queer Grads, Professionals, and Allies, and the faculty/staff LGBT Caucus.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against nor allow harassment of individuals on the basis of their veteran status. Information is available for veterans at Virginia Tech and veterans who are interested in applying for employment or admission as a student.

As a federal contractor and under the laws of Virginia, Virginia Tech has affirmative obligations under federal law regarding the hiring of certain veterans.

The following resources can provide more information: Federal Contracts-Equal Opportunity in Employment: Employment Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity for Covered VeteransUnited States Department of Labor on veterans, and Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act.

Resources for other concerns

There are times when an individual may feel harassed, discriminated against, subjected to a hostile environment, or treated unfairly or differently from other people, but there is no relationship between the said behavior and a protected characteristic such as age, color, disability, gender, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status. University Policy 1025: Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Assault does not cover such situations. Individuals can, however, contact the Dean of Students Office, the Office of the Provost, Employee Relations in the Department of Human Resources, or Conflict Resolution in the Office for Equity and Accessibility for assistance in any of these areas.

Contact

Harassment & Discrimination
Office for Equity and Accessibility

300 Turner Street NW (0318)
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Nikeshia Arthur
Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Manager
540-231-2567
nikeshia@vt.edu

Resources

A list of available options and resources concerning harassment and discrimination complaint resolution processes are available for all members of the Virginia Tech community.

Additional information

Have questions? Review the Harassment and Discrimination FAQs or contact the Office for Equity and Accessibility for assistance.