HRM-010: Preventing and Addressing Retaliation

Date: 05/27/2008 Status: Final
Last Revised: 09/03/2019
Applies To: Academic Division, the Medical Center, and the College at Wise. Specifically, persons who, in good faith, complain of discrimination and/or harassment as defined in the Preventing and Addressing Discrimination and Harassment Policy, or who assist with or participate in the process outlined in EOCR's Preventing and Addressing Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaint Procedures.
Table of Contents:

Policy Statement

Reason for Policy:

The University is committed to providing a workplace and educational environment, programs and activities free of retaliation against persons who, in good faith (holding a genuine belief in the truth of one’s allegations), complain of discrimination and/or harassment as defined in policy, HRM-009, Preventing and Addressing Discrimination and Harassment, or who assist with or participate in the process outlined in EOCR's Preventing and Addressing Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaint Procedures. This Policy does not allow curtailment or censorship of constitutionally protected expression.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Complaint:

    Allegation(s) of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation, filed in good faith and in accordance with EOCR's Preventing and Addressing Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaint Procedures.

  • Discrimination:

    Inequitable treatment by the University of a person based on one or more of that person's protected characteristics or statuses, excepting any treatment permitted or required by law.

    • Protected Characteristics/Statuses:

      Age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.

  • Harassment:

    Unwelcome conduct directed against a person based on one or more of that person’s protected characteristics or statuses, which conduct is so severe or pervasive that it interferes with an individual’s employment, academic performance or participation in University programs or activities, and creates a working, learning, program or activity environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive.

  • Retaliation:

    Reprisal, interference, restraint, penalty, discrimination, intimidation or harassment, determined in accordance with applicable legal standards.

  • Supervisor:

    Any person who has authority to undertake or recommend tangible employment decisions affecting an employee or academic decisions affecting a student; or to direct an employee’s work activities or a student’s academic activities. Examples include faculty members to whom work-study students report and team lead workers who, from time to time, monitor other employees’ performance or direct their work.

Policy Statement:

The University prohibits retaliation directed against a person for making a good faith complaint under the policy HRM-009: Preventing and Addressing Discrimination and Harassment or this Policy or assisting or participating in the complaint process. Retaliation may exist even when the underlying complaint is without merit.

This policy is intended to be consistent with applicable federal and state laws and state and University policies. The Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights (EOCR) is responsible for enforcing this policy on behalf of the University and has complaint procedures available to do so.

All members of management, supervisors, faculty and University, classified and Medical Center staff are responsible for successfully completing the University’s non-discrimination, anti-harassment, and anti-retaliation training at least every two years.

In addition, supervisors are responsible for:

  • knowing and understanding this Policy;
  • explaining this policy to persons under their supervision;
  • taking appropriate action to prevent retaliation;
  • being receptive to concerns and complaints of retaliation;
  • taking appropriate action (in consultation with EOCR) when they become aware of potential violations of this policy; and
  • following up with persons who make complaints of retaliation to assure them that their complaints were investigated and to determine whether any remedial actions were successful.

Supervisors who do not fully perform their responsibilities under this Policy will be rated unfavorably on their performance evaluations and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.


A complaint may be filed with EOCR by any present or former employee of the University, student, applicant for admission or employment or participant in a University program or activity, who believes (s)he has been retaliated against in violation of this Policy. Any such complaint must be filed within 300 calendar days of the incident.

This Policy as well as the EOCR Preventing and Addressing Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaint Procedures and Complaint Form are accessible online and in printed materials. In addition, this policy is presented in online and live training offered by EOCR.

Related Information:

HRM-009: Preventing and Addressing Discrimination & Harassment

EOCR policies are published throughout the University in printed materials such as EOCR brochures and University catalogs and recruiting materials (student and personnel).
Translation of this policy in Chinese, Spanish, or Korean, refer to the EOCR website page on Language Diversity.

Policy Background:

This policy is based on federal and state laws, including Executive Order 11246, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, the State Grievance Procedure Act, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, as well as state policy, including the Governor’s Executive Order One, the Commonwealth’s Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) Policy 1.60 - Standards of Conduct, DHRM Policy 2.05 - Equal Employment Opportunity, and DHRM Policy 2.30 - Workplace Harassment.

This policy establishes a new, stand-alone policy based upon a provision currently embodied in the Policy on Discriminatory Harassment (revised as of 2003). It is intended to comply with a change in the law pertaining to the definition of retaliation, as decided in Burlington Northern v. White, 126 S. Ct. 2405 (2006). In Burlington Northern, the U.S. Supreme Court extended the scope of the anti-retaliation provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include materially adverse employer action with consequent harm occurring at or outside the workplace.

Major Category: Human Resource Management
Next Scheduled Review: 09/03/2017
Approved by, Date: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, 05/27/2008
Revision History: Updated 9/3/19; Added contact offices 1/17/19; Updated definition 9/3/15; Updated 10/22/14, 8/29/11, 1/6/11.