Discrimination Complaint Procedures

I. POLICY​

The University of Iowa Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity investigates complaints of discrimination pursuant to the University's Policy on Human Rights, which provides, in part:

The University of Iowa brings together in common pursuit of its educational goals persons of many nations, races, and creeds. The University is guided by the precepts that in no aspect of its programs shall there be differences in the treatment of persons because of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual, and that equal opportunity and access to facilities shall be available to all. Among the classifications that deprive the person of consideration as an individual are those based on associational preference.

II. PROCEDURES

  1. Parties

Any student, staff member, or faculty member may file a complaint of discrimination with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity against any other member of the university community who is believed to have violated the policy. Where appropriate, such complaints may be filed against units, departments, or other organizational components of the University.

  1. Complaint options

Persons who believe they have been subjected to discrimination in violation of the policy may file either informal or formal complaints with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

  1. Informal complaints

An informal complaint is a request that the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity seek to reach an informal resolution of the complainant's concerns. The procedures for such complaints are designed to be very flexible so as to enable the Office to be able to address an individual's situation in the most effective and expeditious manner possible. Resolutions of informal complaints are accomplished with the assistance of other offices or administrators on campus in the area relevant to the complaint.

In the case of an informal complaint, the accused party normally will not be informed of the complainant's action or identity without the consent of the complainant unless circumstances require. No disciplinary action can be taken against the accused party on the basis of a complaint of which the accused party has not been informed.        

  1. Formal complaints

A formal complaint of discrimination involves an impartial investigation of the complainant's allegations by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. The investigation begins when the Office provides written notice to the respondent of the filing of the complaint, the identity of the complainant, and the general allegations of the complaint. The respondent is then interviewed regarding the specifics of the allegations and given an opportunity to respond fully to the allegations. The Office may also interview other persons believed to have factual knowledge relevant to the allegations. The purpose of the investigation is to establish whether a reasonable basis exists to believe that the Policy on Human Rights has been violated as alleged.

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will issue written findings outlining the basis for its conclusions. The written finding normally will be issued within 60 days of when the complaint was filed. When it is not reasonably possible to issue the finding within that time, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will notify the alleged victim and the respondent that the finding will be delayed and indicate the reasons for the delay. This report is provided to the administrative official responsible for the area in which the respondent is involved and the chief administrative officer in the unit (i.e., the Provost in a complaint filed against a faculty member; the Vice President for the unit in the case of a staff member; or the Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students in the case of a student). Both the complainant and the respondent also receive copies of the finding.

If the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity concludes that a complaint of discrimination is founded, the administrative official to whom the finding has been forwarded is responsible for determining whether a sanction is appropriate. Appropriate sanctions may range from verbal reprimand up to and including separation of the respondent from the University, in accordance with established University procedures.

  1. Appeal Procedures

If the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity concludes that the complaint is unfounded, the complainant may appeal the finding on the grounds that the decision was arbitrary and capricious or that the investigating office did not follow procedures resulting in prejudice to the complainant.  Appeals must be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will then assign the appeal for response according to the following guidelines:

  1. the Executive Vice President and Provost if the respondent is a faculty member or fellow;
  2. the Vice President for Human Resources if the respondent is a staff member (organized or non-organized professional and scientific, organized or non-organized merit staff), graduate assistant, or post-doctoral appointee;
  3. the Vice President for Student Life if the respondent is a student, including medical residents.

If the respondent is not a member of the university community, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will examine the facts and circumstances of the underlying complaint and assign the appeal for response accordingly.

Appeals pursuant to this section must be made electronically or in writing and submitted together with all supporting documentation to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity within ten (10) university business days of the receipt of the finding.  Generally within two university business days, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will assign the appeal for review and transmit the notice of appeal and the case record to the appeal officer.  The appeal officer, or the appeal officer’s designee, will issue a written decision on the appeal to the complainant and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity within twenty (20) university business days of the receipt of the appeal.  All deadlines contained herein may be modified where the complexity of the case or the severity of the allegations warrant variation from the normal appeal process timelines.

In cases where the appeal is denied, such action constitutes final university action on the matter, subject to appeal to the Board of Regents.  In cases where the appeal is successful, in whole or in part, the appeal officer will advise the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity regarding appropriate measures to address the issues of concern raised in the appeal.

For complaints that conclude in a finding that there is a reasonable basis to believe that a policy violation has occurred and sanctions have been imposed, respondents may appeal such findings through the disciplinary grievance procedures applicable to them. The respondent may challenge any sanctions imposed as a result of a finding through available grievance procedures.

  1. Confidentiality

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity treats as confidential information received in connection with the filing, investigation, and resolution of complaints. It is anticipated and expected that the parties to a complaint will observe the same standard of strict confidentiality. This practice is in the best interests of all parties to the complaint. Failure to respect confidentiality may be regarded as retaliation.

In keeping with this practice, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will obtain the complainant's written authorization to collect and discuss information relating to the complaint with other appropriate individuals, either witnesses or administrators who need to be informed of the allegations of the complaint in order to cooperate with the investigation or to implement any resolution of the complaint.

  1. Inquiries

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will provide general information about the complaint procedures upon request. However, if an individual wishes to discuss a specific incident confidentially without filing a complaint, he or she should contact the Office of the Ombudsperson, C108 Seashore Hall, 319-335-3608.

III. COMPLAINTS WITH EXTERNAL AGENCIES

In addition to filing a complaint with the University of Iowa, individuals who believe they may have been the subject of discrimination prohibited by state and/or federal law(s) may contact one or more of the following agencies for advice, assistance, and explanation of filing deadlines.

Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC)
400 E. 14th Street, Grimes Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Tel. (515) 281-4121, 1-800-457-4416
Fax (515) 242-5840
Website: https://icrc.iowa.gov/
The ICRC enforces Chapter 216 of the Code of Iowa, as amended, (The Iowa Civil Rights Act), which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, age (18 and older), creed, national origin, color, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability or religion.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
500 West Madison St., Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60662
Tel. 1-800-669-4000 or 312-869-8001 (TDD)
The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), genetics, national origin or retaliation; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects persons age 40 or older; and disability, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance:

Title VI
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, related statutes and regulations provide that no person shall on the ground of race, color, national origin, gender, or disabilities be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal funds.

Title IX
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits or, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Section 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in employment and education and require affirmative action in employment for persons with disabilities.

If you believe you have been discriminated against in a program of any institution which receives Federal assistance, you may contact the Federal agency providing such assistance.

Federal Contracts or Subcontracts
Applicants to and employees of organizations with a Federal government contract or subcontract are protected under Federal law from discrimination on the following bases.

Race, Color, Religion, Sex, National Origin
Executive Order 11246, as amended, prohibits job discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, and requires affirmative action to ensure equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment.

Individuals with Disabilities
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, protects qualified individuals from discrimination on the basis of disability in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment. Disability discrimination includes not making reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, barring undue hardship. Section 503 also requires that Federal contractors take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities at all levels of employment, including the executive level.

Disabled, Recently Separated, Other Protected, and Armed Forces Service Medal Veterans
The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, 38 U.S.C. 4212, prohibits job discrimination and requires affirmative action to employ and advance in employment disabled veterans, recently separated veterans (within three years of discharge or release from active duty), other protected veterans (veterans who served during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized), and Armed Forces service medal veterans (veterans who, while on active duty, participated in a U.S. military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded).

Retaliation
Retaliation is prohibited against a person who files a complaint of discrimination, participates in an OFCCP proceeding, or otherwise opposes discrimination under these Federal laws.

Any person who believes a contractor has violated its nondiscrimination or affirmative action obligations under the authorities listed above may contact:

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
Tel. 1-800-397-6251 (toll-free) or (202) 693-1337 (TTY)
The OFCCP may also be contacted by e-mail at OFCCP-Public@dol.gov, or by calling an OFCCP regional or district office, listed in most telephone directories under U.S. Government, Department of Labor.

Violations of these university policies are investigated by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. Copies of these policies including complaint procedures are available upon request from: Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity
202 Jessup Hall Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1316 (319) 335-0705 (voice) (319) 335-0697 (TDD) E-mail: diversity@uiowa.edu