Virginia Tech encourages community members to report their concerns of discrimination and harassment, and in doing so, members of the community must be free from fear of retaliation. University Policy 1025: Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Assault clearly establishes that retaliation will not be tolerated. Any Virginia Tech employee or student who, in good faith, reports incidents of this concern will be protected from retaliation.
University Policy 1025 defines retaliation as any adverse treatment that is reasonably likely to deter individuals from filing a complaint of discrimination or participating in a discrimination investigation.
Retaliation occurs when an individual takes adverse action against another individual because they engaged in, or may engage in, activity in supported by the university’s equal opportunity policy.
Individuals who are the subject of a discrimination or harassment investigation may feel a range of emotions. It is important to refrain from any behavior, no matter how slight, that may be viewed as, or is in fact, retaliatory.
- Reasonable opposition to a practice believed to be unlawful discrimination.
- Voicing good faith concerns, or threatening to voice concerns, to a professor, a supervisor, the Department of Human Resources, or the Office for Equity and Accessibility.
- Opposing an actual or perceived violation of Virginia Tech’s policy of nondiscrimination.
- Refusing to comply with a directive or order reasonably believed to be discriminatory.
- Filing a complaint with the Office for Equity and Accessibility.
- Participation in a discrimination investigation.
- Participating in an investigation with the Office for Equity and Accessibility or the university’s Title IX coordinator.
- Participating in an investigation with an external agency.
- Serving as a witness in an investigation or otherwise cooperating.
- Requesting a reasonable accommodation based on religion or disability status.
Retaliation can be verbal, written, graphic, electronic, or physical. The types of retaliation that are prohibited include, but are not limited to:
- Adverse actions with respect to terms of employment including work assignments, salary, vacation, and other terms of employment.
- Adverse action with respect to academic standing or progress including grades, eligibility to participate in academic programs or activities, and other academic matters.
- Unlawful discrimination.
- Termination of employment.
- Adverse actions against a relative of the reporter who is a Virginia Tech employee or student.
- Disparaging the person to others or in the media.
- Threats of any of the above.
False or bad faith statements made by either party during the investigation will be taken into appropriate account by the Office for Equity and Accessibility and may lead to adverse employment actions.
Opposition to perceived discrimination does not serve as license for an employee to neglect job duties. Similarly, there must be a causal connection between the protected activity and the materially adverse action. An adverse employment or academic action against an employee or student whose conduct or performance warrants such action for reasons unrelated to the reporting of a concern will not be deemed retaliatory.