HR0220 – Equal Employment Opportunity Affirmative Action and Diversity

Effective: June 13, 2008
Revision No: 9

To establish and define the university policy concerning fair employment practices and to ensure equal employment opportunity to all university employees and applicants for employment.

    1. It is the policy of the University of Tennessee not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or being a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam Era. This policy extends to recruitment, employment, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, termination, compensation, training, benefits, and all other terms and conditions of employment.
    2. Employment opportunities will not be distinguished on the basis of sex unless sex is a bona fide occupational qualification. Employment opportunities will not be distinguished on the basis of age except where age is reasonably taken into account as a factor necessary to the normal operation or the achievement of any statutory objective of a program or activity administered by the university.
    3. The university will take affirmative action to recruit, employ, and advance in employment minorities, women, disabled veterans, and veterans of the Vietnam Era. Reasonable accommodations will be made for otherwise qualified disabled veterans and persons with disabilities in accordance with Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
    4. The university prohibits any retaliatory action against an employee for opposing a practice that he or she believes to be discriminatory, including the filing of an internal complaint or grievance or charge with a state or federal civil rights enforcement agency.
    5. Each unit will promulgate an Affirmative Action plan for the implementation of the above commitment. Also, each unit will provide a complaint procedure for equal employment opportunity and discrimination complaints. Affirmative Action plans will be publicized and made available to employees.
    6. The University of Tennessee is committed to the principle that decisions concerning employment, admission, and performance should be based on an individual's qualifications and performance and not on characteristics unrelated to job or academic requirements. Therefore, the university and its employees shall not discriminate against or harass any employee or student on the basis of sexual orientation such as heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bi-sexuality; marital status; parental status; or similar characteristics regardless of whether those characteristics enjoy a protected status under state or federal law. An employee who has a complaint about discrimination or harassment prohibited by this policy should follow the internal complaint procedure required in item 5 above of this policy.Section 6 shall not be construed to: (1) confer eligibility for employment benefits for which an employee is not otherwise eligible under state law, policy, or practice; (2) infringe upon the free exchange of ideas essential to the academic environment; (3) limit the freedom of religious association; (4) establish a duty to engage in affirmative action measures for characteristics not subject to affirmative action under state or federal law; (5) require the compliance of external entities or individuals or compliance of university programs governed by external government agencies in which non-discrimination does not include certain personal characteristics (e.g., ROTC); or (6) create any cause of action not currently provided by state or federal law.

Knoxville/Institute of Agriculture:
Health Science Center:
Space Institute:
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