Definitions


  • Affirmative action – A system of specific steps that seek to ensure that certain groups of people who have been historically discriminated against are provided equal opportunity to participate in employment and accompanying benefits, without lessening educational or employment requirements, in compliance with federal law and regulation as applied to federal contractors.  A central premise underlying affirmative action is that, over time, absent discrimination, a contractor’s workforce will generally reflect the gender, racial, and ethnic profile of the labor pools from which the contractor recruits and selects.
  • Discrimination - Different or unequal treatment of an individual (or group), based on one or more of the protected classes (see definition below) of the individual (or group), except as where permitted or required by law, that negatively affects their education, employment, or other participation in educational programs or activities.
  • Equal opportunity - Employment or educational practices that seek to ensure non-discrimination on the basis of protected classes (see definition below).
  • Harassment - A form of discrimination; unwelcome oral, written, graphic, or physical conduct, based on one or more of the protected classes (see definition below) of an individual (or group), that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive so as to unreasonably interfere with their education, employment, or other participation in educational programs or activities or that creates a working, learning, or educational program or activity environment that a reasonable person would find hostile, intimidating, or abusive.  Harassment may include, but is not limited to, threats, physical contact or violence, offensive jokes, insults or put-downs, slurs or name calling, vandalism/graffiti, or offensive objects or pictures.  Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless very serious) typically do not rise to the level of harassment.
  • Protected activity – Activity which may include, but is not limited to, filing a discrimination and/or harassment complaint, reporting discrimination and/or harassment, or participating in a discrimination and/or harassment investigation.
  • Protected classes – For NDSU’s purposes, protected classes are those related to: age, color, gender expression/identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, public assistance status, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, spousal relationship to current employee, status as a U.S. veteran, or participation in lawful activity off NDSU’s premises during nonworking hours which is not in direct conflict with the essential business-related interests of NDSU (See NDSU Section 100, Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy, for more information).
  • Retaliation – Intimidation, harassment, reprisal, or other adverse/unfavorable action taken against an individual (or group) in response to their protected activity, which could include, but is not limited to, filing a discrimination and/or harassment complaint, reporting discrimination and/or harassment, or participating in a discrimination and/or harassment investigation.
  • Sexual Misconduct – A broad term encompassing all forms of gender-based harassment or discrimination and unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature. The term includes sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, nonconsensual sexual contact, nonconsensual sexual intercourse, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, public indecency, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and other misconduct based on sex. 

           Additional definitions may be found in Policy 162: Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Title IX 

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