The University of New Mexico
UNM Office of Equal Opportunity

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Affirmative Action/Faculty Hiring

  • What does underutilization of a job title mean?

    In accordance with Executive Order 11246, the University has established placement goals to identify job groups that do not reflect 80% of qualified females and/or minorities available in the recruitment area. Placement goals have been established in the following campus locations: Main Campus (includes Health Sciences Center and Extended University), Gallup, Los Alamos, Taos, and Valencia.

  • How can I find out if a certain job title has a Placement Goal/is "Underutilized"?

    To check whether or not a job title falls within a job group that has a placement goal(s) for females and/or minorities, go to the Office of Equal Opportunity website: If you are unable to access the information here, please call oeo at 505-277-5251.

  • What are my responsibilities with respect to Affirmative Action when filling a faculty vacancy or new position?

    In order to meet the University's commitment to maintain and/or improve workforce diversity, Hiring Officials must show good faith efforts to target recruitment of qualified women and minorities to ensure their representation in the applicant pool regardless of whether the position has a placement goal or not due to underutilization, and to treat all applicants fairly.

  • What is Affirmative Action?

    Affirmative Action is a program created by the Federal government in 1964. It's designed to remedy past discrimination in employment and eliminate current and future race and gender discrimination. Affirmative Action at the University of New Mexico promotes race and gender diversity in employment by recruiting women and minorities into the applicant pools.

  • Doesn't Affirmative Action mean special preference is given to minority groups or that there are "quotas"?

    No. Affirmative Action at The University of New Mexico does not give people an advantage in getting hired or promoted. There are no "hiring quotas" and no special treatment should ever be given for any reason unrelated to job qualifications. Only the best person for the job should be hired or promoted. These decisions should never be based on someone's minority status, and all candidates must meet the minimum qualifications for the position.


  • What is the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, and who is protected?

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was created to ensure that people with disabilities are protected from discrimination and have an equal opportunity to utilize services and resources in our society. University policy and the ADA prohibit discrimination against disabled: Staff (regardless of full-time employment status or probationary period), Faculty, Students, Athletes, Visitors, University Student Residents, and Participants in University activities. Also, in support of the ADA, the University provides for equal access to University programs and activities, and for reasonable accommodation in both academic programs and in the workplace.

  • What is a reasonable accommodation and how do I request one?

    A reasonable accommodation is any requested modification or adjustment to job duties or schedule, or to the work environment, that enables a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions. Reasonable accommodation also includes adjustments to ensure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities. To request an accommodation, complete the Request for Disability Accommodation Form, available online by clicking on the link given, and submit it to your supervisor or the Office of Equal Opportunity. If you are a student and would like to request an academic accommodation, please contact Accessibility Services at 277-3507


  • What is discrimination?

    Discrimination is partiality or bias in the treatment of a person or group that is unfair or illegal. Not all discrimination is illegal. One can be subject to unfair treatment that is not illegal under University policy or state or federal law, for example, being treated unfairly because someone doesn't like you or because of your political affiliations.

    Discrimination is treating someone differently based on a protected class: a protected class is a group of people protected against discrimination by University policy or by state and federal law. At the University of New Mexico the following are considered protected classes: Race/Color/National Origin/Ancestry, Age, Religion, Physical or Mental Disability, Medical Condition, Veteran's Status, Spousal Affiliation, Gender Identity, Sex/Sexual Harassment, Sexual Orientation, or any other protected class status.

  • Discrimination may take the form of differential treatment or hostile environment:

    • Differential treatment means treating someone differently than similarly situated individuals because of that person's protected class status.
    • The creation of a hostile environment happens when an individual is subject to severe and/or frequent conduct based on protected class status that creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive work, educational or living environment that unreasonably interferes with that individual's employment or educational performance. Not every instance of treating someone differently constitutes discrimination. For example, treating two employees differently because of differences in performance is not discrimination.
  • Can my complaint be anonymous?

    Under University policy, an individual against whom protected class discrimination or sexual harassment allegations are made has the right to know what the specific allegations are and who made the allegations so that they can respond to those allegations, as they may be subject to disciplinary action if the OEO finds that they violated University policy after conducting an investigation. On the other hand, there may be cases wherein the OEO may be able to intervene in a situation that does not involve a formal complaint of discrimination or sexual harassment and be able to resolve an issue and keep the identities of the parties anonymous.

  • Are all ages protected?

    No. University policy and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibit discrimination against individuals who are 40 and over in both the academic and employment settings.

  • What is a Hostile Work Environment?

    A hostile work, living, or any other type of environment is one in which an employee, student, patient, or any other participant in a University activity is subject to unwelcome and unwanted disparaging or derogatory conduct that is based on one (or more) of the protected classes. The conduct has to be sufficiently pervasive or severe so as to create an offensive, intimidating, threatening, or hostile environment.

  • How is pregnancy protected under University policy and state and federal law?

    Pregnancy (also protected under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits discrimination in all employment related practices and decisions (including benefits and fringe benefits) based on pregnancy, childbirth, or any related medical condition. Therefore, women affected by pregnancy or related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations.

  • Do I have to follow a particular chain of command to complain about illegal discrimination or sexual harassment?

    No. If you have concerns or complaints of illegal discrimination or sexual harassment, you may go to any supervisor with that concern or you may go directly to the OEO or Human Resources.

  • Can a supervisor or anyone else retaliate against me for having complained to the OEO?

    The University has an anti-retaliation policy under which all individuals who initiate or participate in an OEO/AA proceeding are protected, including witnesses who cooperate with an OEO proceeding, individuals who make a request for disability accommodation, or individuals who assert the civil rights of another. If you feel as though action has been taken against you for having initiated or participated in an OEO proceeding, you may file a complaint with the OEO.

Sexual Harassment

    What is Sexual Harassment?

    Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

    • It is made either explicitly implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, education, living environment or participation in a University activity;

    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for or a factor in decisions affecting that individual's employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University activity; or

    • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's employment or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work, education, or living environment, or participation in a University activity.
  • Can administrators, supervisors, or faculty members keep my complaint of sexual harassment to themselves?

    Administrators, supervisors, and faculty members are obligated under University policy to inform OEO of any sexual harassment complaint that is made to them since OEO evaluates those concerns to determine what course of action is appropriate given the allegations that are made.

  • What is the responsibility of third parties who witness an unreported case of sexual harassment?

    Supervisors who witness sexual harassment must report the harassment to OEO. Non-supervisory employees who witness sexual harassment are strongly encouraged to do the same.

  • Should supervisors investigate sexual harassment incidents that they learn about informally, e.g., through workplace rumors?

    Supervisors should contact OEO for advice on how to handle all allegations of sexual harassment regardless of how the supervisor learns of the alleged harassment.

  • What action should be taken if a person does not wish to pursue a sexual harassment complaint? If the complaint is not investigated, can the supervisor or the department be held liable at a later date?

    Once the University is made aware of possible unlawful sexual harassment, it has a legal obligation to investigate the matter regardless of whether the person wishes the University to pursue the complaint. Lack of cooperation by the person alleging the sexual harassment, however, may impact the University's ability to undertake a meaningful investigation. If the University fails to investigate allegations of sexual harassment, it may be held liable at a later date depending on the circumstances of the specific case.

  • Does a person have to verbally object to a behavior for it to be defined as sexual harassment?

    No. Ideally, clearly articulating one's displeasure with another's behavior would communicate very directly the objectionable nature of the interaction and potentially end the behavior before a formal complaint would be needed. However, victims of sexual harassment do not have to confront their harassers for the behavior to be sexual harassment. Individuals who believe they are being harassed need only report the alleged harassment immediately so the University can take prompt action.

    • For all incidents of sexual harassment EXCEPT those in which both parties are students, contact OEO for information on resolution of sexual harassment concerns, including complaint options and procedures. The procedures for filing complaints are also addressed in the OEO's Discrimination Claims Procedures available from OEO or OEO's website at The Office of Equal Opportunity is located at 609 Buena Vista NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Telephone: (505) 277-5251, TTY: (505) 277-1745.

    • If BOTH the alleged harasser and victim of sexual harassment are students, contact the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students is located at the Student Services Center, Room 280, 1 University of New Mexico. Telephone: (505) 277-3361.

  • At what point does sexual harassment become a criminal matter? When should someone contact University Police?

    Some sexually harassing behaviors can be violations of criminal law. Those behaviors may include criminal sexual conduct, assault, attempted assault, and behaviors that meet the legal definitions of criminal stalking or harassment.

    If you have any questions about whether an individual's behavior may be criminal, you should call University Police at (505) 277-2241. If you have urgent concerns, call 911. An officer can help clarify those issues for you. If you are impacted by sexual assault or relationship violence, you may also contact the Counseling, Assistance, and Referral Services (CARS) at (505) 272-6868.

  • Is it considered sexual harassment to bring sexually explicit material into the workplace? What about on the Internet or in jokes sent through e-mail/voicemail?

    Distributing sexually explicit material in the workplace, including material on the Internet or jokes sent via e-mail/voicemail, may constitute sexual harassment. Moreover, even if it does not rise to the level of sexual harassment, sexually explicit material in the workplace may be unprofessional or disruptive and could warrant discipline.

  • Where can I turn if I feel like my supervisor is treating me unfairly, but it doesn't fall into the protected categories?

    You may want to contact your Human Resources Consultant or higher management in your chain or command to find out what your options and rights are for resolving issues you feel are not illegal discrimination or sexual harassment. If you don't know who your HR consultant is, call 505-277-MYHR.

  • What protection does the University offer against retaliation by accused parties?

    Retaliation against persons who complain about sexual harassment or who participate in the University's investigation and handling of sexual harassment reports or complaints is strictly prohibited and violates University policy as well as state and federal civil rights laws. Persons who engage in retaliation are subject to discipline. The University's aim is to provide protection for all persons who participate in the enforcement of the policy prohibiting sexual harassment.

  • What protection does the University offer against being falsely accused of sexual harassment?

    Because of the nature of sexual harassment, allegations often cannot be substantiated by direct evidence other than the complaining party's own statement. Lack of corroborating evidence should not discourage individuals from seeking relief under this policy. No action will be taken against an individual who makes a good faith allegation of sexual harassment, even if after the investigation the allegation is not substantiated. However, allegations or statements made in the course of an investigation or enforcement procedure found to be intentionally dishonest or made with willful disregard for the truth may subject the individual to disciplinary action.

    Any party accused of sexual harassment ( or discrimination) has due process rights to be notified of allegations against him/her and have an opportunity to respond to them.

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