Discrimination is defined as an illegal or prohibited adverse employment or educational action, or harassment based on race, color, national origin (including caste or perceived caste), religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, gender transition status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information (including family medical history), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services, including protected veterans.

Harassment is defined as conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably denies, adversely limits, or interferes with a person’s participation in or benefit from the education, employment or other programs or activities of the University, and creates an environment that a reasonable person would find to be intimidating or offensive when based on the categories listed in the discrimination definition.

Adverse Action is defined as conduct that would discourage a reasonable person from reporting discrimination or harassment or participating in a process provided for in this policy.

Coffee Plant with one red coffee bloom and the rest are green.

For sex-based conduct (e.g., acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, sex- or gender-stereotyping, or sexual orientation) that occurred on or after 8/14/2020 , please go to our Sexual Harassment webpage for more information.. 

For additional information on Discrimination regarding your options and support resources, please see the Report Hate and Bias website.

What Are Legally Protected Characteristics or Categories?

The following characteristics and categories are protected by law, i.e. discrimination on the basis of these characteristics is illegal: 

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin (including caste or perceived caste)
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Gender
  • Gender expression
  • Gender identity
  • Gender transition status
  • Pregnancy
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics)
  • Genetic information (including family medical history)
  • Ancestry
  • Marital status
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Citizenship
  • Service in the uniformed services, including protected veterans.

What Does Discrimination Look Like?

The following examples of discrimination would likely violate policy on discrimination:

  • Giving students unequal access to University programs based on their race (or other protected category).
  • Excluding a student from joining a University organization based on the student’s sexual orientation or national origin (or other protected category).
  • Denying an employment application because of that person’s age or religion (or other protected category).
  • Subjecting employees to inferior terms and conditions of employment because of a perceived caste placement.
  • Charging women more money than men to join the recreation center.
  • Failing to make reasonable accommodations for a student or employee with a disability.
Inquiries may also be directed to:
The Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights of the Department of Education
San Francisco Office
U.S. Department of Education
50 Beale Street, Suite 7200
San Francisco, CA 94105-1813