This page contains a list of various Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to affirmative action, civil rights and Title IX issues and how they pertian to the University of New Mexico.  If you have a question that you would like more clarification on or if you have a question that you do not see on this page, please feel free to contact the Office of Equal Opportunity either via phone: (505) 277-5251 or via email: oeounm@unm.edu.

Affirmative Action FAQs

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 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.

Where can I locate faculty recruitment and hiring instructions to assist with properly filling faculty vacancies in my department?
Faculty Hiring Guidelines can be found on this website. You should also be familiar with UBP #3100-Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action policy.

What is an "Alternative Appointment Request"
From time to time, the University may hire through a non-competitive process. For more information on how this process is applied to faculty positions, refer to the Faculty Hiring Guidelines on the OEO website. For staff positions, refer to UBP #3210 - Recruitment and Hiring policy

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 percent 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.

Discrimination FAQs

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 FAQs

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.

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.

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?
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. 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.