Basic Office FAQ

Who can utilize the OEO?

The OEO is responsible for the implementation of the University's Non-Discrimination / Affirmative Action Policies, Sexual Harassment Policy and Sexual Assault Policy. The OEO follows the procedures under the Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Process to ensure that employees and students are not discriminated against in employment, educational programs and activities on the basis of race, color, sex (including gender identity), national origin, sexual orientation, familia status, marital status, height, weight, disability or veteran status.

To that end, the OEO may be utilized by staff, faculty and students alike.

Who can file a complaint?

Any member of the campus community can file a complaint with the OEO.  This includes staff, faculty and students.

Does the OEO advocate for one side or another?

No. The OEO implements its policies in a neutral fashion.

Who works at the OEO?

The OEO is led by a Director, followed by two Equal Opportunity Specialists who complete investigations and perform statistical, and data analysis  the office also includes a Lead Secretary who serves as the office's complaint intake manager.

I was told to complete a Faculty Hiring Plan but do not know where to start.  Help!

The best place to start is our Guide for Successful Searches.  There you will find a great deal of information and step-by-step instructions on how to complete Faculty Hiring Plans. 

Discrimination FAQs

What is discrimination?

The word discrimination is often used to mean illegal discriminatory acts. Discrimination simply means noticing the differences between things or people that are otherwise alike, and making decisions based on those differences. Discrimination in employment is differential treatment of a person by category, class or group rather than objective treatment on the basis of merit.  Under equal employment opportunity law, it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis that is protected including, race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, or on the basis of disability. Discrimination can be intentional or unintentional.

What is a protected class?

A protected class is identified by the characteristic that the people within the class share, such as race or religion.  A protected class is a group that is protected from employment discrimination by law.  These groups include women and men based on sex; any group that shares a common race, religion, color or national origin; persons over 40; and people with disabilities. 

What is a similarly situated individual?

A similarly situated individual is a person who shares many of the same characteristics as the person being analyzed.  For example, two secretaries in the same department who are both in the same job classification may be similarly situated.  In an OEO investigation, we may ask about individuals you feel are similarly situated to you and how those individuals are treated the same or differently than you.  Whether a person is a similarly situated individual will depend on the circumstances of each individual case.

Complaint Process FAQs

How do I submit a complaint?

If you feel there has been a violation of any of the policies under the OEO’s jurisdiction, you may contact the office by phone, e-mail or in person to initiate an intake.  At that time, you will be instructed on what information is necessary to continue.

What should I bring with me to my intake?

It is helpful if individuals meeting with the OEO for an intake have prepared a written statement of the allegations explaining under which protected classification you believe you are being discriminated against (i.e. race, age, sex), along with any supporting documentation to corroborate the allegations that are being made.   

I have just completed an intake, what will happen next?

Following the intake process, the OEO will conduct an initial assessment of the complaint to determine whether or not the allegations fall within the scope and jurisdiction of the non-discrimination and harassment policies.  If the OEO determines that the allegations fall within the scope of the non-discrimination and harassment policies, the OEO will so advise the Complainant and the Respondent.  If the OEO determines that the allegations do not fall within the scope of the non-discrimination and harassment policies, the OEO will refer the complainant to the proper forum to address his or her concerns.

How long does the complaint process take?

If the OEO determines that the allegations fall within the non-discrimination or harassment policies, the OEO will conduct an inquiry.  If the OEO concludes in the initial inquiry that the allegations, if sustained, would be reasonably likely to result in the need for prompt remedial action, a formal complaint will be initiated.   The OEO then has 90 calendar days from the date the formal complaint is filed to conduct a formal investigation and file a Notice of Disposition.  (This time period may be extended at the discretion of the Director.)  The Notice of Disposition will include a summary of the complaint, a statement of findings, conclusion, and recommendation, if any.

Can I bring someone with me to meet with the OEO?

Yes.  Individuals choosing to meet with the OEO regarding complaints of harassment and/or discrimination are welcome to have a person of support present.  However, due to the confidentiality of OEO process, the OEO encourages any discussion concerning allegations of harassment and/or discrimination is limited to those who are parties or representatives in the matter.

Disability FAQs

What is Wayne State’s policy on protections for persons with disabilities?

Wayne State University supports the rights of all persons, including those with disabilities.  If you have a question about equal opportunity for persons with disabilities, including requests for reasonable accommodation, please contact the OEO. 

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities.  It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation and government services.

What is the purpose of the ADA?

If you are a qualified person with a disability, the ADA protects you from discrimination and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees. 

What does “qualified” mean?

A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question.

Who is a “person with a disability”?

A person with a disability under the ADA is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment.

What is a “major life activity” under the ADA?

Examples of major life activities listed in the ADA regulations include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, sitting, standing, lifting, and mental and emotional processes such as thinking, concentrating, and interacting with others.

A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, included but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive functions.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment in the workplace that permits a qualified  person with a disability apply for a job, perform the essential functions of a job, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment.  An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an “undue hardship” on the operation of the employer’s business.

What resources are available?

Those seeking more information on disabilities, accommodation and/or the ADA are welcome to contact the OEO by phone or e-mail.  Further technical information can be found by visiting the Department of Justice’s ADA Home Page at http://www.ada.gov/.   

Where can I request an accommodation or get more information?

If you are a student in need of more information on disabilities or academic accommodations at Wayne State University, contact the Student Disability Services Office (SDS) at (313) 577-1851 or http://studentdisability.wayne.edu/

If you are an employee in need of more information on disabilities or a reasonable accommodation, contact the OEO at (313) 577-2280.

Sexual Assault/Harassment FAQs

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault includes any intentional, unconsented, unwelcome physical contact or threat thereof of an intimate body part of another person, the sexual organs of another person or any part of another’s body with the intent of accomplishing a sexual act.  Forcing or attempting to force another person to engage in sexual activity of any kind without his or her consent is considered sexual assault.  It also includes unwanted, inappropriate disrobing of another person or purposeful exposure of one’s genitals to another without consent. 

Sexual assault is governed by Wayne State University Policy 01-5. 

How do I report sexual assault?

If you are the victim of a sexual assault, contact the Wayne State University Police Department (WSUPD) immediately at (313) 577-2222 and seek treatment and/or counseling through your doctor.

What are the forms of sexual harassment?

  1. Quid Pro Quo – Quid pro quo behavior involves an express or implied demand for sexual favors in exchange for some benefit or to avoid some detriment either in the workplace or in the classroom.
  2. Hostile Work Environment – A hostile work environment is one in which unwelcome conduct or communication of a sexual nature creates an intimidating, offensive or disruptive work or academic environment for some members of the campus community.

How do I report sexual harassment?

Wayne State University encourages everyone to take action against harassment on campus. If a person considers the behavior of others to be unwelcome, he or she should immediately report the behavior to their immediate supervisor or someone in authority (such as a Dean or a Vice President), and contact the Office of Equal Opportunity to file a complaint.               

Can I be terminated for filing a complaint of sexual harassment?

No. Retaliation against an employee or student after he or she has complained about harassment or cooperating in an investigation of harassment is unlawful and can lead to serious consequences.  An act of retaliation against a Complainant or witness in an investigation is a violation of the University’s Sexual Harassment Statute, the Non-Discrimination/Affirmative Action Policy and the Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Process.   Any such retaliation constitutes a separate basis for a complaint, even if the initial complaint was found to be unsubstantiated or dismissed.