Policies and FAQs
All UT Southwestern employees, faculty, students, trainees, and applicants should carefully review UT Southwestern’s Equal Opportunity policy, and the following related policies for more information. Please note, access to PolicyTech and its links are specific to campus IP addresses.
- ETH-151 Equal Opportunity
- ETH-151P-01 Equal Opportunity Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedure
- ETH–152 Reasonable Accommodations for Qualified Applicants and Employees with Disabilities
- ETH-154 Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct
- 2020-2021 General Catalog (Policies Against Discrimination for Students)
Equal Opportunity Complaint FAQs
This overview is a brief description of how to file a complaint of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation at UT Southwestern. For additional information concerning the University policies found in this area, please contact the Office of Institutional Equity & Access.
The Division of Equal Opportunity is an administrative office, not a judicial or legal office. One of its roles is to assist campus community members in understanding UT Southwestern’s policies and procedures in the area of discrimination and harassment and to assist in resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment. Division of Equal Opportunity staff members are impartial administrators who are neither advocates nor adversaries with respect to the parties and witnesses in a complaint-related matter. Instead, Division of Equal Opportunity staff members are advocates for the proper and fair administration of the complaint process.
UT Southwestern is committed to providing equal opportunities to all members of the campus community and to maintaining an environment that is free from unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation. In accordance with the Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations, UT System policy, and applicable federal and state law, no individual will be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in UT Southwestern services, programs, and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, genetic information, protected veteran status, citizenship status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression
Any person (e.g., faculty, staff, student, visitor) may report what they believe to be an act of discrimination or harassment to the Division of Equal Opportunity as soon as possible after the alleged incident(s).
Per University Policy, ETH-151P-01, a hostile environment exists when harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive to deny educational opportunities, interfere with an individual’s work, or limit an individual’s ability to participate in UT Southwestern programs or activities. A hostile environment can be created by anyone involved in a UT Southwestern program or activity (e.g., administrators, faculty members, employees, students, vendors, patients, and visitors). To conclude that conduct created or contributed to a hostile environment, the conduct must create an environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to a reasonable person. A single instance, if sufficiently severe, may be sufficient to create a hostile environment (e.g., sexual assault). Likewise, a series of incidents may be sufficient even if the harassment is not particularly severe.
A determination of a hostile environment can only be made by the Division of Equal Opportunity, following an appropriate investigation into the alleged misconduct.
As determined by the Office of Institutional Equity & Access, only certain concerns will be deemed eligible for an informal complaint process. When available, a complaining party may select whether to pursue an informal or formal complaint. If a complainant selects an informal complaint, he/she may later determine that a formal complaint is still desired because he/she did not receive the desired resolution to the concern (provided that the time to report the complaint is within the time limitations set out in the applicable policy).
Informal Complaint: The goal of the informal resolution process is to give notice of a perceived wrong and have OIEA informally address the situation. With informal complaints, OIEA does not make a determination as to whether a respondent violated University policy. Instead, OIEA staff will use conflict resolution techniques to attempt to resolve the concern(s) brought forward. Moreover, EO staff members will only speak to those people whose involvement is necessary to facilitate a resolution to a complaint. At times, this might include only the complainant(s) and respondent(s). The Office of Institutional Equity & Access attempts to reach a resolution to an informal complaint within thirty days of the filing of the complaint. This process is not a fact-finding endeavor. No investigation is conducted. There is no discipline as part of this process.
Formal Complaint: The goal of the formal resolution process is to reach an official determination as to whether a respondent(s) violated a University policy that falls under the purview of the Office of Institutional Equity & Access, including, but not limited to, ETH-151 Equal Opportunity and ETH-154 Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct. As part of the formal resolution process, OIEA will investigate formal complaints of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation and determine whether there is more evidence than not that a policy violation has occurred. The investigation may include oral interviews and/or written statements from the complainant, the respondent, and any witnesses who may be able to provide pertinent information about the facts of the case. In the course of a typical investigation, the respondent will be informed of the allegations and the facts surrounding the allegations and will be afforded an opportunity to respond to the allegations. In response to most reports of discrimination, the University will complete the investigation within 60 calendar days. However, there may be some reports that cannot be investigated within 60 calendar days.
Not concurrently. The informal resolution process and the formal resolution process are not mutually exclusive, but each complaint process should be used in good faith. Generally the filing of a formal complaint following the resolution of an informal complaint is appropriate after a reasonable amount of time has passed and the situation has not improved and/or circumstances have changed, including the occurrence of additional concerning conduct/behavior.
Individuals wishing to report a concern or file a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment are encouraged to do so as soon as possible following the incident(s). Generally, the employment or academic concern is handled if the complaint is made within 300 days of the occurrence (alleged wrongful act).
Any member of the UT Southwestern community may consult the Division of Equal Opportunity without obligation to file a complaint. EO staff will give UT Southwestern community members information designed to explain UT Southwestern’s policies and procedures so that they may make an informed choice as to whether they would like to file a complaint. In certain limited situations, however, the information learned by the Division of Equal Opportunity may be of sufficient concern that UT Southwestern must take appropriate action to resolve the concern even though an individual does not wish to file a complaint. An example would be if an individual could be harmed if they return to the environment described or the situation described poses a risk to others.
Complaints of discrimination and/or harassment are treated with the greatest degree of confidentiality possible, based on the factual allegations presented to our office. In all situations, confidentiality is maintained on a need-to-know basis; however, confidentiality can only be maintained insofar as it does not interfere with UT Southwestern’s obligation to investigate allegations of misconduct, follow applicable laws and regulations, and protect the safety and well-being of the greater campus community.
UT Southwestern prohibits retaliation against individuals who have opposed discriminatory/harassing conduct; participated in investigations; and/or requested accommodations. Retaliatory action is regarded as a basis for a separate complaint under UT Southwestern’s procedures. If you believe that you have been retaliated against for opposing discriminatory/harassing conduct, or for participating in a discrimination/harassment investigation, or for requesting reasonable accommodation or religious accommodation, you should contact the Division of Equal Opportunity.
To file an anonymous complaint, you may report the concern to the Compliance Hotline at 877-507-7319. The Compliance Hotline is a 24/7/365 confidential third-party reporting service. Calls can be made anonymously, or individuals may leave their name. Reports to the Hotline are forwarded to UT Southwestern to be promptly evaluated. Employees who choose to report anonymously via this method must retain a record of the report number demonstrating the employee made the report as required by state law. However, please be aware that electing to remain anonymous may greatly limit UT Southwestern’s ability to investigate an alleged incident, collect evidence and/or take effective action against individuals or organizations accused of violating this policy.
Yes, any member of UT Southwestern can file a complaint against any other member of the community.
It depends. The ability of the EO Team to investigate an incident that occurs away from any UT Southwestern facility, program, or activity may be limited by the degree of control, if any, that UT Southwestern has over the particular area/location where the incident occurred. However, if the incident involved a UT Southwestern employee who engaged in misconduct while conducting UT Southwestern business or job duties, UT Southwestern will take action to address the concern regardless of where it occurred. As each concern contains unique allegations, please call the Division of Equal Opportunity for a consultation about your particular concern.
In accordance with UTSW Policy, ETH-151P-01, the EO investigator will prepare a final report that summarizes the investigation conducted, the facts presented, and the investigator’s findings and recommendations and will submit the report to the Director of Equal Opportunity. The Director of Equal Opportunity will submit a written decision to the complainant and respondent within 14 days of receipt of the investigator’s final report.