The University of New Mexico
UNM Office of Equal Opportunity


Related Terms

ADA: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of disability and prohibits discrimination in the offering of programs and services on the basis of disability. Qualified individuals with disabilities are protected under the ADA. There are two key parts to that definition. First, the person must be an individual with a disability as defined under the ADA; second, that person must also be qualified. The ADA requires reasonable accommodation for employee's who can perform the essential functions of their jobs.


Affirmative Action: Affirmative Action is taking positive actions to hire and promote qualified persons in protected groups. The protected groups are federally defined as: women; minorities (African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans); individuals with disabilities; and disabled veterans and/or Vietnam-Era veterans. The University of New Mexico's goal is to achieve a female and minority representation within each job category at UNM that is equal to the female and minority percentage in that job category in the recruitment area workforce. The main approach used to support this goal is to strive to have a pool rich in diversity and a fair hiring process.


Agent: One who acts for, or in the place of, another, by authority from him or her; one entrusted with the business of another; a substitute; a deputy. UNM managers and supervisors are agents of The University of New Mexico.


Civil Rights: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits all forms of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in all aspects of employment. These categories have been expanded by later state and federal laws to also include Civil Right's protection on the basis of ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, spousal affiliation, physical or mental disability and age (40+).


Claim: To assert one's rights to an investigation in accordance with University Business Policy Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action #3100 and the Office of Equal Opportunity's Discrimination Claims Procedure. OEO has the jurisdiction to investigate claims of discrimination and sexual harassment brought by students, staff, and faculty against students, staff, faculty and third parties (i.e. someone who is neither an employee not student of the University.


Claimant: Students, staff, and/or faculty who make a claim with the University of New Mexico's Office of Equal Opportunity.


Constructive Knowledge: A legal term that means the employer under the circumstances should have known about a hostile working environment.


Discrimination: Any action that unlawfully or unjustly results in unequal treatment of persons or groups based on race, color, gender, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, disability or other factors protected under federal, state or local laws, such as marital status, gender identity, sexual orientation, or veteran status.


Disparaging Term: A term used to degrade or connote negative statements pertaining to such characteristics as race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation. These terms include insults, printed material, signs, symbols, posters, or insignia. The use of these terms can create a hostile environment.


EEO: Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) ensures that employment advancement decisions are based upon valid job related requirements (i.e. education, experience, merit) without regard to:

  • Age (40 and over)
  • Ancestry/National Origin
  • Color/Race
  • Gender Identity
  • Medical Condition
  • Mental/Physical Disability
  • Religion
  • Sex/Sexual Harassment
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Spousal Affiliation
  • Veteran Status
  • Any Other Protected Class


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): A federal agency established in 1964 by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This agency is charged with eliminating discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age in employment.


EEOC Guidelines: In 1980 the EEOC issued guidelines, which declare sexual harassment a violation of Section 703 of Title VII, set criteria for determining when unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment, define criteria for employer liability, and recommend steps employers should take to prevent sexual harassment. These guidelines have been updated periodically.


FLOD: The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) will issue a Final Letter of Determination (FLOD) within 3 weeks after receipt of the parties' (claimant(s)/respondent(s)) responses, if any, to the Preliminary Letter of Determination (PLOD). A copy of the FLOD will be kept in the file; an original will be sent to each of the parties. The FLOD may contain recommendations and will conclude (stated as PROBABLE CAUSE or NO PROBABLE CAUSE) whether or not discrimination, retaliation or sexual harassment has occurred.


Gender: The behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with a person's sex.


Harassment: The act of harassing, or state of being harassed; a feeling of intense annoyance, anxiety or worry caused by being tormented. Under University Policy and State and Federal Civil Right's laws harassment is considered with regard to Hostile Work Environment.


Hostile Work Environment: A form of sexual harassment that occurs when unwelcome sexual conduct is severe and pervasive and unreasonably interferes with an individual's job performance and creates, intimidating or offensive work environment. A hostile work environment may also be created on the basis of any other Civil Rights protected category.


Impact: A forceful consequence; influencing strongly; to have an effect upon. The impact of behavior of a sexual nature is more important than the person's intentions in determining sexual harassment.


Innuendo: An indirect or subtle, usually derogatory implication; an insinuation.


Intent: Attention, purpose; the act of turning the mind toward an object; hence, a design; intention; meaning; drift; aim. A person's intent is not relevant in determining whether behavior may be sexual harassment - it is the impact that matters.


Intake Process: The process by which the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) receives information from students, staff or faculty members who believe that they have experienced an action which violates their civil rights, or which they believe to be discriminatory based upon the above-referenced bases.


On Notice: Having received notification. Once you are "on notice" you cannot claim that you were not aware of the matter. For example, when you receive a Court Summons, you are "on notice" that you must appear as ordered, and you can't plead ignorance when a supervisor receives a complaint of harassment or discrimination, the University is "on notice".


Peer: A person who is of equal standing with another in a group.


Placement Goals: Under the University's Affirmative Action Plan, placement goals are set when the percentage of minorities or women in a job group is less than reasonably expected given their availability percentage in that job group. Placement goals equal the availability percentage and serve as objectives or targets that the University can meet through good-faith efforts and action-oriented programs such as targeted recruitment. However, placement goals are not quotas.


PLOD: The results of investigations will be prepared at the conclusion of the investigation by the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) and issued to both parties in the form of the Preliminary Letter of Determination (PLOD). The parties will each be given an opportunity to respond to these preliminary findings before the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) makes its final determination. Parties will have two (2) weeks from their receipt of the PLOD to submit a response, if any, to OEO.


Protected Class: A group named in a law as protected from discrimination. Under UNM policy, based on state and federal civil rights laws, protected classes are:

  • Age (40 and over)
  • Ancestry/National Origin
  • Color/Race
  • Gender Identity
  • Medical Condition
  • Mental/Physical Disability
  • Religion
  • Sex/Sexual Harassment
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Spousal Affiliation
  • Veteran Status
  • Any Other Protected Class


Quid Pro Quo: A Latin phrase that means "something for something" or "this for that." It is one form of sexual harassment, in which an employee must submit to some form of unwelcome sexual conduct in exchange for an employment benefit, such as a promotion, or the job itself.


Reasonable Accommodation: Any change in the work environment or in the way a job is normally performed that enables a qualified person with a disability to perform the essential functions of that job. Assessing and determining appropriate and effective reasonable accommodations must be done on a case-by-case basis. Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to, the following actions: 1) Making facilities used by employees accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. 2) Modifying a job so that a person with a disability can perform the essential functions of the job. This may involve eliminating nonessential elements of the job, switching assignments with another employee, or changing procedures. 3) Using part-time or modified work schedules. 4) Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices. 5) Providing qualified readers or interpreters as appropriate. 6) Reassigning or referring an employee with a disability to a vacant position if all attempts at other reasonable accommodation have not worked. (Note: The University does not have to create a position for an employee with a disability or promote or move an employee into a position for which he or she is not qualified). 7) Providing attendant services both in the office and while traveling on essential University business. (Note: The University does not have to provide personal equipment or services). The process for determining a reasonable accommodation must be an interactive dialogue between the disabled employee and the employer.


Reasonable Person: The standard used by courts to assess whether particular conduct is illegal by determining whether a reasonable person would find it severely or pervasively offensive under similar circumstances.


Respondent: Students, staff, faculty, and/or third parties (i.e. someone who is neither an employee nor student of the University) against whom a claim or charge is brought with the University of New Mexico's Office of Equal Opportunity, the EEOC, the State's Human Rights Office or Office of Civil Rights/Denver Office.


Retaliation: Any adverse action taken against an employee who has raised civil rights concerns, participated in a civil rights investigation, or reported suspected misconduct when business related reasons do not exist for the action or the action is outside of regular practice. Some examples of retaliation are listed below:

  • Giving unwarranted negative performance evaluations to the reporting employee.
  • Moving the reporting employee frequently and to undesirable locations, without legitimate business justification.
  • Transferring the reporting employee, without legitimate business justification.
  • Reprimanding the reporting employee, without legitimate business justification.
  • Taking adverse salary actions against the reporting employee, without legitimate business justification.
  • Suspending, demoting, or dismissing the reporting employee, without legitimate business justification.
  • Creating a hostile work environment for the reporting employee.
  • Raising civil rights concerns, participating in a civil rights investigation, or reporting suspected misconduct does not exempt an employee from legitimate personnel action taken during the normal course of business.


Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: 1) Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic advancement; 2) Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions or academic decisions affecting such individual; or 3) Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment [A supervisor must take corrective action when he or she knows, or reasonably should have known, that a subordinate employee is being subjected to sexual harassment].

Examples of sexual harassment include but are not limited to:

  • Suggestive or obscene letters, notes, invitations,
  • Derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or jokes,
  • Impeding or blocking movements, touching or any physical interference with normal work,
  • Sexually oriented gestures, displaying sexually suggestive or derogatory objects, pictures, cartoons or posters (the situation will be evaluated for appropriateness such as art displayed in museums versus centerfold in office setting),
  • Threats or insinuations that lack of sexual favors will result in reprisals, withholding support for appointments, promotions or transfers, change of assignments or poor performance reviews.


Third Party Harassment: 1) When a party or parties who are not the direct targets of sexual harassment directly but indirectly suffer the consequences of sexual harassment. For example, a person who is not involved in a conversation hears coworkers talking and joking about sexual subjects in the workplace.


Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972: Federal legislation that prohibits discrimination and sexual harassment of students in educational programs and activities.


Underutilization: In accordance with Executive Order 11246, the University, as a federal contractor, 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 five campus locations: Main Campus (includes Health Sciences Center and Extended University), Gallup, Los Alamos, Taos and Valencia for the 2006 AAP cycle.


VEOIS: A Voluntary Equal Opportunity Information Survey (VEOIS) is sent to all applicants for faculty and Tier II positions at The University of New Mexico. The VEOIS requests information regarding an applicant's gender, minority/non-minority status, the position applied for, source of information regarding the vacancy, and voluntary authorization to release the information to the hiring department. The survey information form is kept separate and confidential from the hiring department unless the applicant authorizes release of this information. The information is used for statistical purposes only.

Home :: Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) :: MSC05 3150 :: 609 Buena Vista NE :: Albuquerque, NM 87131 :: (505) 277-5251 :: Fax (505) 277-1356 :: E-Mail

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