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    May 2015

    A Look at UE’s 2014 Discrimination Statistics

    two coworkers looking at a report

    UE reviewed our 2014 discrimination statistics after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a summary of employment discrimination charges it received last year. An exact comparison of every type of discrimination at the EEOC and UE is difficult because we do not use the same definitions for all categories and UE’s discrimination statistics also include state law claims. Nonetheless, the top five types of discrimination for both UE and the EEOC—shown in the table below in descending order of occurrence—are similar.

    EEOC, Fiscal Year 2014 UE, Calendar Year 2014
    1. Retaliation Race
    2. Race Retaliation
    3. Sex Disability
    4. Disability Sex
    5. Age Age

    Educational institution are not significantly different from other employers. Retaliation, notably, is a longstanding and serious problem for both. Almost 43 percent of EEOC charges filed in 2014 contained a retaliation allegation, while for UE retaliation was in second place—by a slim margin—behind race discrimination. After race and retaliation, the next three discrimination types (disability, gender, and age) at UE had only a few claims separating them. This indicates that schools should take a comprehensive, broad approach to preventing discrimination on all prohibited bases.

    Who brought claims?

    The five categories of employees who brought the most discrimination claims against UE member institutions in 2014 were:

    1. Professional staff (e.g., employees in human resources, student affairs, IT, admissions, finance, etc.)
    2. Adjunct or part-time faculty
    3. Facilities management staff
    4. Tenured or tenure-track faculty
    5. Support staff

    What employment actions were challenged?

    Termination from employment was the action challenged most frequently in UE’s 2014 discrimination claims. In fact, it was cited almost four times as often as the second-place claim, harassment based on a hostile work environment. Disputes over wages or salary were a distant third place, followed closely by challenges to promotions and demotions. Supervisor behavior played a prominent role in many claims, though the specific conduct challenged varied. For example, some employees said supervisors engaged in discrimination—e.g., by terminating or disciplining an employee based on a protected category—while some alleged the supervisors failed to prevent retaliation against employees who had complained about harassment.

    UE Recommendations

    • In your written policies:
      • Define and prohibit discrimination—specifying the categories protected under federal law, your state and/or local laws, and any additional categories your institution protects. Provide examples of forbidden discrimination.
      • Prohibit retaliation against any employee for reporting or cooperating in an investigation of discrimination.
      • Explain the procedure employees should use to report any discrimination. Specify whether separate procedures apply for certain categories of employees, such as faculty.
    • Educate all employees on your policies and procedures, especially on how to report problems.
    • Do not limit your training on harassment prevention to sexual harassment. UE sees many claims of harassment on bases such as race, disability, and age.
    • Emphasize training supervisors, especially those new to the role. Schools should train them to:
      • Follow good supervisory practices, such as conducting timely and accurate performance reviews to avoid creating an impression of discrimination; documenting and discussing performance problems as they arise; and not treating similarly situated employees differently.
      • Recognize and respond promptly and appropriately to complaints of harassment by employees.
      • Determine when a situation calls for human resources involvement and support.


    EEOC Releases Fiscal Year 2014 Enforcement and Litigation Data
    Legal Literacy for Supervisors
    Workplace Harassment Prevention: Training Recommendations Based on Claims Trends
    Workplace Harassment Prevention Learning Program for Higher Education
    Workplace Harassment Prevention Learning Program for K-12 Schools


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