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Get Help with Discrimination or Harassment

What is the Anti-Discrimination Policy (ADP)?

The policy linked below outlines the types of prohibited discrimination and harassment at MSU.  Acts are prohibited which discriminate against or harass any University community member on the basis of age, color, gender, gender identity, disability status, height, marital status, national origin, political persuasion, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or weight.

Who is covered by the ADP?

The ADP applies to “all University community members, including faculty, staff, students, registered student organizations, student governing bodies, and the University’s administrative units, and to the University’s contractors in the execution of their University contracts or engagements.” The ADP states that “[e]xcepting the President and the General Counsel, any University community member may be named in a complaint.”

What does the ADP prohibit?

Discrimination and/or harassment based on a protected category.

What is discrimination?

There are two basic theories of discrimination – disparate treatment and disparate impact. Disparate treatment requires intent to discriminate based on the protected category. There are two ways to show disparate treatment – direct and indirect (or circumstantial) evidence. Disparate impact, discussed below, does not require a showing of intent; rather, a claim is based on a facially neutral policy or practice that has a disproportionate affect on a protected category.

Disparate Treatment Discrimination

Direct Evidence of Disparate Treatment

If a complainant is able to present evidence that discrimination was at least a motivating factor for the adverse decision, that evidence is direct evidence.

Example of direct evidence of discrimination: A manager of a unit states in an email to an assistant that she purposely ignored an applicant’s resume because the applicant was an international student and the manager told the assistant she does not like to work with anyone who may have language issues. The email is direct evidence of discrimination.

Circumstantial Evidence of Disparate Treatment

The complainant must show:

I. He/she is a member of a protected category;

II. He/she is subject to adverse action; and

III. Other similarly situated individuals outside of the protected category are treated more favorably.

Disparate Impact Discrimination

    1. The complainant must show that a policy that appeared to be neutral actually had a substantial adverse impact on a protected group.
    2. The respondent must show that the negative impact was related to the job or required as a business necessity.
    3. The complainant must show that there were less restrictive alternatives.

Example of disparate impact discrimination: The Mechanics Department begins to require that all entry level mechanics have a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. A general laborer who is denied a transfer to a mechanic position claims that the neutral policy had a substantial adverse impact on Hispanic applicants – those applicants were failing that entry requirement at twice the rate of White applicants. The department is not able to show why the Bachelor’s degree is necessary to do the job and is not a

What is harassment?

Harassment of any kind occurs when a University community member is subject to unwelcome conduct based on a protected category that:

  1. Is objectively and subjectively severe, persistent or pervasive; and
  2. Creates an unreasonable interference with the individual’s work or educational experience.

What types of activities does the ADP cover?

  1. All educational, employment, cultural, and social activities occurring on the University campus;
  2. University-sponsored programs occurring off-campus, including but not limited to cooperative extension, intercollegiate athletics, lifelong education, and any regularly scheduled classes;
  3. University housing;
  4. Programs and activities sponsored by student governing bodies, including their constituent groups, and registered student organizations; and
  5. Any other activities that constitute unlawful acts of discrimination and harassment.

What categories are protected under the ADP?

  • Age
  • Color
  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Disability status
  • Height
  • Marital status
  • National origin
  • Political persuasion
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Veteran status
  • Weight

What if I want to file a complaint of discrimination or harassment with OIE?

Please note that claims of discrimination or harassment under the Anti-Discrimination Policy must be filed within 180 days of the alleged incident(s).

Contact OIE

4 Olds Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: (517) 353-3922
Fax: (517) 884-8513
Email: oie@msu.edu 

File a report now:
Public Incident Reporting Form
Note: this report goes directly to OIE and the MSU Police.