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The University of Wyoming has prepared this summary in order to address affirmative action efforts under the requirements of Executive Order 11246, as amended, and implementing regulations, 41 C.F.R. Part 60-1. Terminology from Executive Order 11246 and its implementing regulations has been utilized as a guide.
As the University of Wyoming is the only four-year research institution in the state our commitment to ensuring equal access is critical to the development of a diverse and well informed community.
APPLICABLE LAWS/COMPLIANCE COMMITMENT
The University complies with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations related to equal employment opportunity. Prominent among these is the following:
THE EQUAL PAY ACT OF 1963 prohibits discrimination based on sex in the payment of wages.
THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964, TITLE VII AS AMENDED prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
EXECUTIVE ORDER No.11246 requires federal contractors to undertake "affirmative action" to employ and promote minorities. The order was issued by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 to prohibit race discrimination employers. The Order was amended in 1967 to encompass women as well as minorities. REVISED ORDER No. 4 of the order explains the written affirmative action requirements as well as the federal government procedures for monitoring and auditing compliance. The University of Wyoming adheres to the "General Guidelines" for implementing the Order as set forth in OFCCP's regulation at 41 CFR 60-1 and CFR 60-2.
THE AGE DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT ACT OF 1967 AND SUBSEQUENT AMENDMENTS IN 1978 bars employers from relying on age-based distinctions in the establishment or administration of employee benefit programs, unless the distinctions could be justified on the basis of cost. In a Supreme Court decision in Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio v Betts, [492 US 158 (1989) these regulations were invalidated. Congress responded by passing the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act of 1990 (OWBPA) which specifically prohibits age discrimination in employee benefit programs. Under this ACT, an employer must provide equal benefits to older workers unless the employer can demonstrate that the cost of providing benefits is greater for older workers.
TITLE IX OF THE EDUCATION AMENDMENTS OF 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex including sexual harassment.
THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973 governs the rights of disabled individuals. Section 503 of the Act requires employers to undertake affirmative action to ensure that employment opportunities are provided to persons with disabilities. Section 504 prohibits discrimination in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
EMPLOYMENT AND REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ACT prohibits discrimination against persons based on their service in any uniformed service and applies to public and private employers [38 USC §§ 4301, 4303(4)(a)(iii)] The Act also mandates that employers grant leave and reemployment rights to employees who leave work to serve in the uniformed services. The term "service in the uniformed services" is defined as the performance of duty on a voluntary or involuntary basis in a uniformed service under competent authority and includes the following:
Active duty for training
Inactive duty training
Full-time National Guard duty
Any absence due to a fitness for duty examination
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990 prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of disability and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified employees or applicants unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer. The law prohibits discrimination based on disability in:
Employment - Title I
Public Service - Title II
Public Accommodations - Title III
Telecommunications - Title IV
Miscellaneous Provision Title V
CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1991 (CRA) reverses eight Supreme Court rulings that narrowed the scope and effectiveness of federal employment discrimination laws. This law strengthens the protection of discrimination laws and expands their remedies to provide adequate protection to job discrimination victims. The purpose of the CRA is to provide remedies for intentional discrimination and unlawful harassment in the workplace and codifies the concepts of "business necessity" and "job related."
The University has developed a formal process through the Office of Human Resources (www.uwyo.edu/hr) and the Division of Student Affairs (www.uwyo.edu/StudentAff) to handle issues arising from the titles listed above.
FEDERAL LAWS PROHIBITING SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972
Covers both students and employees. Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination. If an allegation of sexual harassment is substantiated federal funding may be cut-off from the educational institution. Both the university and officials are liable for monetary damages and attorney's fees. This act provides for the prompt and mandatory review of allegations of sexual harassment. Affected parties are entitled to file a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Education.
Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964
Covers all employees (including student employees). If an allegation of sexual harassment is substantiated the complainant may be awarded punitive damages, back pay, lost benefits, etc. Affected parties are entitled to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Covers students and employees. This is a civil right statute that imposes public institutional and individual liability. A complainant may be awarded compensatory and punitive damages.
GUIDELINES TO PREVENT SEXUAL HARASSMENT
The University of Wyoming will neither tolerate nor condone any act of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which violates state and federal laws. All students, faculty, and staff have a responsibility to assist in the enforcement of this policy, be aware of its contents, and to abide by its terms. . In addition, all supervisory personnel and faculty are required to attend a mandatory training session regarding the specifics of this policy. Training will be available during new employee orientation and on an as needed basis.
Sexual harassing behavior consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical conduct, or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:
Submission to that conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of obtaining or retaining employment, of obtaining an education or of obtaining educational benefits or opportunities; or
Such conduct is pervasive, has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an individuals, employment, education, educational benefits or opportunities or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment or education environment. Sexual harassment as defined herein is generally limited to conduct or communication by someone in authority but also includes any sexual harassment as defined when perpetrated on any student or employee by any other student or employee.
Sexual harassing conduct includes but is not limited to:
Sexual name calling, jokes, spreading sexual rumors, leers or overly personal conversations of a sexual nature;
Subtle pressure for sexual activity;
Inappropriate patting, pinching or fondling, pulling at clothes, or intentional brushing against an individual's body;
Demanding sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt promises of preferential treatment with regard to an individual's employment or educational status; Any sexually motivated unwelcome touching, cornering, or blocking an individual's movement;
Conditioning a student's grade or academic progress on submission to sexual activity;
Hanging or displaying sexually explicit pictures, posters, drawings or any other inappropriate items in the workplace;
A pattern of conduct intended to cause discomfort or humiliation, or both, that includes one or more of the following;
Unnecessary touching or hugging,
Remarks of a sexual nature about a person's clothing or body, or
Remarks about sexual activity or
Speculations about previous sexual experiences.
The University recognizes that not every advance or consent of a sexual nature constitutes harassment. Whether a particular action or incident is a personal social relationship without a discriminatory effect requires a determination based on all the facts and surrounding circumstances.
Common sense dictates whether supervisors/ managers or faculty should enter into intimate relationships with subordinates and students or whether such individuals should supervise those with whom they are intimately involved. Further, the University urges supervisors and faculty to consider whether their actions will be seen as unethical by other employees and students who may consider themselves to be disadvantaged by the personal relationship. Such relationships are potentially exploitive and should be avoided.
Any person who believes he or she has been the victim of sexual harassment by any employee, student, or visitor of the University, or any third person with knowledge or belief of such conduct should report the alleged acts immediately to the appropriate University official. Any official receiving such a complaint is strongly advised to notify the Office of Diversity/EEO.
Employees and students are encouraged to make clear through affirmative conduct and/or verbal statements to an alleged harasser that such conduct is unwelcome and uninvited and should cease immediately. However, the employee or student's inability to curtail the conduct or verbal statements does not, in itself, negate the validity of the offensiveness of the conduct alleged.
Under this policy, retaliation is defined as taking adverse action against students or employees for the exercise of rights under this policy; or for having brought forward a charge of sexual harassment, or any form of discrimination, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation or hearing or other proceeding. The exercise of such legally protected rights shall not reflect upon an individual's status or affect future employment, grades, or assignments.
PERSONS AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE COMPLAINTS
This policy provides that a complaint may be brought to any appropriate member of the University community including:
the Associate Vice President of Diversity/Equal Employment Opportunity
the Director of Human Resources
the Manager of Employee Relations
any academic of administrative officer of the University
any college dean, director, supervisor, department head
All complaints of sexual harassment shall be considered confidential and only those persons necessary for the investigation and resolution of the complaint will be given any information. The University will respect the confidentiality of the complainant and the individual against whom the complaint is filed as much as is possible consistent with the University's legal obligations to protect the rights and security of its employees and students.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR IMPLEMENTATION
In addition to the President there are several key administrators chiefly responsible for ensuring the effective administration of the university's equal employment opportunity program. It is the university's position that the practice of equal employment opportunity is not under the sole guardianship of one individual. Rather, any university officer having responsibility to make employment decisions is expected to do so within the guidelines described in this document.
The Associate Vice President of Diversity/EEO who reports directly to the Vice President and General Counsel, has the specific overall responsibility for day to day oversight of the administration of the program. She carries out her duties in cooperation with appropriate institutional officers across divisional and departmental lines. Her duties in this regard include but are not limited to, monitoring the faculty and administrative employment process, hearing, investigating and offering resolution suggestions on civil rights related complaints under University Regulation 5 (Exhibit 1), coordinating/facilitating information between the university and Federal and regulatory agencies and delivering training specific to civil rights issues. Because the execution of this sort of program is more effective when collaboration is standard university operating procedure, the Associate Vice President of Diversity/EEO regularly discusses diversity and equal employment opportunity issues with the following university officers:
The Vice President of Academic Affairs and Associate Vice President are responsible for coordinating and sanctioning the faculty hiring process necessitating considerable interaction with the Diversity/EEO Office on such issues as: institutional philosophy; exceptions to advertising; and the overall monitoring/approval of search processes.
Academic Deans and Administrative Department Heads, as a matter of university practice, schedule information sessions with the Diversity/EEO Office prior to initiating a search process.
The Senior Associate General Counsel (2) provides legal counsel to the Diversity/EEO. Most often this advice is in the form of ensuring that complaints are appropriately processed and that suggested resolutions to complaints are within university regulations and applicable Federal and state employment laws.
The Vice President for Administration is invaluable to the success of the affirmative action program because of his area's (particularly the Office of Human Resources) expertise with employee and applicant data management.
Within the Office of Human Resources, the Manager of Employment is the individual essential to the overall effectiveness of the staff hiring function including how it relates to affirmative action and equal employment opportunity. She provides counsel to those responsible for hiring staff to ensure that all protected group applicants are fairly considered for employment. Her staff maintains applicant pool data and periodic reports are routinely submitted to the Diversity/EEO Office.
The Employee Relations Manager is responsible for coordinating the resolution of employee complaints unrelated to discrimination in order to insure that employee issues are given a fair review. This effective coordination assures employees that everyone is treated fairly without regard to their specific issue, personal convictions or happenstance of birth.
DISSEMINATION OF POLICY
The university's policy is primarily communicated through University Regulation 5 (Appendix A) and is available for review on the university's web page.
A copy of the EEO policy is included in the staff handbook provided to new employees at the time of hire.
Reference to the EEO policy is incorporated in all recruitment brochures, bulletins, advertisements and announcements of position vacancies.
Required government posters are conspicuously displayed on appropriate campus bulletin boards in several campus buildings, for example, Old Main (Senior Administration), Wyoming Hall (Human Resources, Outreach School, Employee Training facilities, ROTC) and Wyoming Union (Student cafeteria, bookstore, copy center, ticket office, etc.).
The Associate Vice President for Diversity/EEO routinely meets with faculty search committee, staff and administrators (who are associated with employment decisions) to inform and discuss the university's policy.
The Associate Vice President for Diversity/EEO is a member of the president's executive council.
All staff employment openings (with the exception of those that are filled internally) are advertised and posted with the State Employment Job Service Center.
Faculty and Administrative openings are required to be advertised online at HigherEducation Jobs.com and on the University's web site. More often, however, these positions are also advertised in professional journals, on-line sites, in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Black Issues in Higher Education, etc.
The University of Wyoming is in a precarious position with respect to correcting the minor underutilization problems with respect to women and minorities identified as a result of the utilization and availability analysis process.
Wyoming, although the ninth largest state in the nation is the least populated; approaching only five hundred thousand (500,000) inhabitants. Every town in the state is virtually isolated from the other, making new employee recruitment (particularly at the staff and administrative entry levels) overwhelmingly challenging. The nearest town to Laramie, where the University is located, is Cheyenne which is 45 miles away. Cheyenne boasts a population of approximately 50,000 (the largest municipality) and can be favorably compared to Laramie's population of about 32,000 which includes the approximately 12,000 students enrolled at the University. Notwithstanding the minimal number of individuals living in the state, an even more critical problem is the paucity of individuals in the recruitment area who possess the appropriate requisite skills to gain employment at the University. This is not to say that the University does not include highly skilled and talented women and people of color in staff and administrative positions. On the contrary, most of the university's staff employees are long term due to the excellent opportunity for internal promotions.
The University has also developed an impressive workforce through internal training programs, both formal and informal. Additionally, the University does not require a college degree for many of its entry level staff positions rather it applies knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) as a way of combating the difficulty with hiring otherwise talented people in areas where a college degree is not necessarily an indicator of successful performance.
According to the 2000 Census, the local recruitment area for staff and entry level positions is realistically limited to Laramie and Albany County. By far the largest "minority" group members in this area are classified as Hispanic followed by Asian, Black and Native American. When considered separately or in the aggregate, minorities are slightly underutilized in only the technical/paraprofessional and clerical (Asian only) job groups.
Domestic partner accommodation
Target of opportunity
A more detailed discussion of this policy and process can be found on this website.
FILLING VACANCY USING THE KSA (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities) SYSTEM
Although not specifically related to minorities and women (yet impacting the university's ability to attract applicants from these groups) the KSA hiring approach recognizes the arbitrariness of minimum qualifications associated with entry and mid level positions that often create artificial barriers to employment opportunities. Additionally, the KSA approach encourages a more intelligent way of looking at applicant pools. Prior to adopting this innovative approach to hiring, the university's process had the effect of screening out potentially high quality employees. A more detailed description of this approach can be reviewed at the Human Resources website: (http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/hremployment/advchg.htm)
The hiring processes identified above reflect the university's overall policy with respect to providing equal access to its employment opportunities. More importantly, these processes are designed to insure active and direct involvement of university officials responsible for making appropriate advertising and hiring decisions. It is the university's conviction that moving toward and ultimately reaching affirmative action/diversity goals does not happen by accident. Rather, it is through the application of formally structured and closely monitored hiring procedures that will prove to be the most successful in both the short and long run.
OTHER ACTION ORIENTED PROGRAMS
In January, 1998, the University of Wyoming initiated a formal academic planning process. One of the elements of this process involves addressing the issues of diversity, internationalization and access. A full text relative to enhancing diversity can be found in the document, University of Wyoming Academic Plan II, 2004-2009, Executive Summary.
In 1999, University President created the President's Advisory Council on Minorities' and Women's Affairs (PACMWA). The Council focuses its activities on assessing the campus climate, supporting diversity initiatives and issuing an annual report relative to its activities. There are fourteen (14) voting members including students, faculty and administrators. The Council's annual operating budget of $75,000.00 is dispersed through three channels: (1) Call for Proposals; (2) Faculty Diversity Enhancement Fund; and the (3) Mini Grant Fund. A full description of the Council's activities and a copy of its most recent annual report can be reviewed at uwyo.edu/pacmwa.
In May, 2004 the Employment Practices Office issued the invitation for direct university-wide input into the University's affirmative action efforts. The response was entirely favorable. A good example is the response from the College of Arts and Sciences which has an extraordinary reputation for formulating innovative ideas relating to diversity initiatives. As of 2007, the College has tenured the first African American at the University in the Department of Communications.
The chairperson of the Department of Social Work proposes to offer stipends to University of Wyoming minority graduates to go elsewhere to earn their PhD with the understanding that they will return to the University as teachers.
The above examples are given to illustrate the interest and commitment to address problem areas that are shared across departmental lines. This is neither an exhaustive nor comprehensive listing of the efforts that are routinely made to diversify the campus. The University believes that its commitment to affirmative action goals and principles as well as its commitment to the development of diversity initiatives is embodied in its employment practices procedures and its antidiscrimination policies.
Statistical data is available for review in both the Office of Diversity and the Office of Human Resources.