Subject: Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action
It is the intent of the Tennessee Board of Regents that the Board of Regents and all of the institutions within the Tennessee Board of Regents System will promote and insure equal opportunity for all persons without regard to race, color, religion, sex, ethnic or national origin, disability status, age or status as a covered veteran and shall fully comply with Executive Order 11246, as amended; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974, as amended; the Equal Pay Act of 1963, as amended; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended the Age Discrimination Act of 1975; the Pregnancy Discrimination Act; applicable state statutes and all regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.
It is the intent of the Board that each campus of the Board shall be free of harassment on the basis of sex, and race, and shall fully comply with the provisions of Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, the federal and state constitutions, and all other applicable federal and state statutes.
II. Statement of Policy
The Board of Regents hereby reaffirms the policy of the Tennessee Board of Regents System, and all institutions and technology centers included therein, that the System will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, sex, disability, age or status as a covered veteran.
Similarly, the System shall not, on the basis of a protected status, subject any student to discrimination under any educational program. No student shall be discriminatorily excluded from participation in nor denied the benefits of any educational program on the basis of a protected status.
The System will take affirmative action to ensure that all individuals are treated during the employment process without regard to their race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, sex, disability, age, or status as a covered veteran. Such action shall include, but not be limited to, actions to:
(1) Recruit, hire, train, and promote persons in all job titles, without regard to any of the foregoing prohibited factors;
(2) Base decisions on employment so as to further the principle of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity;
(3) Insure that promotion decisions are in accord with principles of equal employment opportunity by imposing only valid requirements for promotional opportunities; and
(4) Insure that all personnel actions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, layoffs, return from layoff, and institution or school sponsored training, education, tuition assistance, and social and recreation programs, will be administered without regard to any of the foregoing prohibited factors.
It is and has been the policy of the Tennessee Board of Regents to maintain each campus as a place of work and study for faculty, staff, and students, free of sexual and racial harassment. Harassment is a form of discrimination and harassment in the workplace or the educational environment is unacceptable conduct and will not be tolerated.
III. Administrative Responsibility
A. Duties of the Chancellor and/or System Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Program Officer.
The Chancellor shall designate the person on the staff of the Board who shall serve as the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Officer (hereinafter EEO/AA) for the System and also designate an EEO/AA Officer for the Central Office. The Chancellor shall direct the President and/or Director of each institution to appoint an EEO/AA Officer for the institution. The Chancellor shall furthermore ensure participation in Board approved access and diversity initiatives.
The Chancellor shall insure that the following actions occur:
1. Equal Employment and Affirmative Action
(a) Equal employment opportunity and affirmative action program plans are to be prepared by each campus EEO/AA Officer at the individual institutions and schools in the System and these plans must be effectively administered by the campus EEO/AA Officer within the requirements of this policy and applicable laws and regulations. The EEO/AA Officer for the Central Office shall prepare the Central Office affirmative action plan.
(b) The system EEO/AA Officer will review and evaluate the success of the equal employment opportunity and affirmative action programs in the Central Office and on each campus and make recommendations to the Chancellor concerning desirable changes.
(c) The institutional EEO/AA Officer and the TBR Central Office EEO/AA Officer will receive, review, and investigate institution and Central Office equal employment opportunity complaints and appeals and make recommendations regarding their disposition to the President in the case of an institutional complaint and to the Chancellor regarding a Central Office complaint.
Depending on the locus of the complaint, the Chancellor and Presidents/Directors are responsible for the final resolution of a harassment complaint. The Chancellor shall insure the following actions occur:
(a) Investigation of Harassment Complaints
The Chancellor shall designate the Tennessee Board of Regents' General Counsel to supervise the investigation and give legal advice to the institution or Central Office EEO/AA Officer who will receive, review, and investigate all charges of harassment arising from their institution or office. The institution or Central Office EEO/AA Officer will investigate all complaints of unlawful harassment as directed by Guideline P-080 and will communicate all facts to the General Counsel for legal advice. It is the intent of this policy that the review and investigation process conducted by the campus or Central Office Affirmative Action Office will be under the direct supervision and control of the General Counsel and is intended to be a confidential communication which will result in Counsel giving legal advice.
(b) Resolution of Harassment Complaints
The Chancellor and the Board have designated the institution or Central Office EEO/AA Officer as the coordinator and investigator of all harassment complaints. The process outlined in Guideline P-080 will be followed. The President/Director/Chancellor will assure that the EEO/AA Officer investigates the complaint. The final report on the harassment complaint will go from the EEO/AA Officer to the President/Director/Chancellor for action and the final resolution will be made by that individual.
3. Annual Evaluations
The Chancellor will annually evaluate each president/director on their progress toward the affirmative action plan goals, their progress toward diversity, and their participation in Board approved access and diversity initiatives.
B. Duties of the President/Director
Each institution President and technology center Director shall be responsible for the development and implementation of the equal employment opportunity and affirmative action program on each campus as well as assuring that unlawful harassment is investigated and educational efforts regarding harassment take place. In carrying out this responsibility, the President or Director shall comply with the following:
1. Appoint an EEO/AA Officer who will be responsible for promoting and assuring compliance with this policy and with all applicable laws and regulations, receiving and investigating complaints pursuant to the process set forth in TBR Guideline P-080, reviewing the effectiveness of the program and recommending improvements to the President or Director.
2. Insure that affirmative action plans are developed annually and implemented as a means of aggressively pursuing the principles of equal employment opportunity.
3. Develop affirmative action goals and timetables directed toward correcting situations contributing to the under-utilization or inequitable treatment of minority or women employees in the institution or school.
4. Provide positive leadership in the implementation of the affirmative action program on the campus and insure that appropriate attention is devoted to the program in staff and faculty meetings.
5. Inform all management officials and supervisors that their performance evaluation will be partially determined by the effectiveness of their participation in the equal employment opportunity program and in Board approved access and diversity initiatives.
6. Designate a person on the campus to be responsible for gathering and reporting data related to the equal employment opportunity program.
7. Assure policies and procedures are instituted to deal with all forms of harassment, including a procedure for the EEO/AA Officer to receive and investigate complaints and recommend necessary action to the President or Director.
8. Designate the EEO/AA Officer as the staff person responsible for the development and implementation of educational efforts regarding all types of harassment.
C. Duties of the EEO/AA Officer
1. Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Program
The EEO/AA Officer will develop and maintain an EEO/AA program which shall include but not be limited to the following responsibilities:
(a) The institution/Central Office EEO/AA Officer will receive, review and investigate equal employment opportunity complaints and appeals and make recommendations to the President/Director of Chancellor regarding their disposition.
(b) Equal employment opportunity or affirmative action complaints made to external agencies, i.e. EEOC or THRC, will be investigated by the institution or Central Office EEO/AA Officer in conjunction with the Office of the General Counsel. All complaints will be forwarded to the Office of the General Counsel and any reports to the external agency will be prepared by the institution and submitted to the Office of the General Counsel for approval and forwarding to the agency. The attorney/client relationship will apply to the investigation and preparation of those reports.
(c) The EEO/AA Officer will develop and maintain an EEO/AA program which shall include:
(1) developing or reaffirming the institution's or school's equal employment opportunity policy in all personnel actions; (2) formal internal and external dissemination of the policy; (3) establishing responsibilities for implementation of the program; (4) identifying problem areas by organizational units and job classifications; (5) establishing goals and objectives by organizational units and job classifications, with timetables for completion; (6) developing and executing action-oriented programs designed to attain established goals and objectives; (7) assuring compliance of personnel policies with the sex discrimination guidelines; (8) active support of local and national community action and community services programs designed to improve the employment opportunities of minorities and women; (9) internal audit and reporting systems designed to insure compliance and to permit monitoring of the program; and (10) internal complaint procedures designed to expeditiously process and resolve complaints and grievances by employees or applicants for employment.
(d) Updating the EEO/AA plan annually, and reporting progress in meeting the established goals and objectives, with such report submitted at least annually to the Chancellor as directed by the System EEO/AA Officer. The EEO/AA Officer shall discuss the success of the EEO/AA program with the President and make recommendations regarding desirable changes.
2. Harassment Program
(a) Each institution and Central Office EEO/AA Officer will be responsible for implementing Guideline P-080 Discrimination and Harassment – Complaint and Investigation Procedure.
(b) The EEO/AA Officer will assure the development of an educational program alerting students and employees to the non-harassment policy and guideline.
(c) Under the direction and guidance of the TBR General Counsel, the institution or Central Office EEO/AA Officer will investigate all harassment complaints. The institution or Central Office EEO/AA Officer will receive, review, and investigate all complaints of harassment based on sex, race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, or other protected status.
(d) The EEO/AA Officer will insure that complaints involving discrimination or harassment between students are investigated and resolved by the Student Affairs Office, which resolves all student disciplinary problems.
Source: TBR Meetings, August 17, 1973; September 26, 1980; September 30, 1983; December 14, 1984; March 17, 1989; September 21, 1990; June 25, 1992; December 10, 1993; March 30, 2001; December 8, 2006; March 28, 2008; June 19, 2009