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Discrimination & Harassment Prevention

It is the policy and practice of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to prohibit harassment and discrimination to all regardless of their protected classifications, including age, disability, genetic information, national origin, race/color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran status, or any other classification protected by federal, state, or local law, in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services and the selection of vendors who provide services and products to the University.  It is of paramount importance that every member of the UMass Dartmouth community is treated with fairness and respect and all times.  UMass Dartmouth strives to provide equal employment and educational opportunities for all in an environment free from discrimination and harassment, including sexual misconduct.

To find out more information about the specific protected classifications, please click on the links below:

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older.

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth provides equal employment opportunities to qualified individuals with a disability.  The term "qualified individual with a disability" refers to a person with a disability who can perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.  A "reasonable accommodation" is defined as an accommodation that does not pose an undue hardship on the University. An "undue hardship" is a practice, procedure, or financial cost which unreasonably interferes with the business operations at UMass Dartmouth.

  1. The definition of "disability" shall be constructed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended ("Rehabilitation Act") and ADA and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. In accordance with the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA, a person with a disability is:
    1. An individual who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
    2. A record of such an impairment; or
    3. Regarded as having such impairment.
      1. "Substantially limits" one or more major life activities shall be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA, and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.
      2. "Major life activities" include, but are not limited to functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working. Major life activities also include the operation of major bodily functions, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive functions.
      3. "Record of such impairment" refers to having a history of, or having been misclassified as having a physical or mental impairment. A record of such impairment includes records which predate the relevant aw and includes disabilities with which the individual is no longer afflicted.
      4. "Regarded as having such an impairment" refers to an individual having such an impairment who establishes that he or she has been subjected to action prohibited under the Rehabilitation Act or the ADA because of actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity. 

The definition of "disability" must be construed in accordance with all of the following:

  1. An impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be considered a disability;
  2. An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active;
  3. The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as:
    • Medication, medical supplies, equipment, or appliances, low-vision devices (which no not include ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses), prosthetics including limbs and devices, hearing aids and cochlear implants or other implantable hearing devices, mobility devices, or oxygen therapy equipment and supplies. "Ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses" means devices that magnify, enhance, or otherwise augment a visual image.
    • Use of assistive technology;
    • Reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids or services; or
    • Learned behavioral or adaptive neurological medication.

Faculty or staff members seeking a reasonable accommodation based on a disability should complete the ADA Accommodation Request Form (PDF) and forward it to the Office of Human Resources.

Students seeking a reasonable accommodation based on disability should contact the Center for Access and Success.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (“GINA”) prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment.

“Genetic information” refers to hereditary information about DNA sequence, genetic sequence, genes, gene products or inherited characteristics contained in chromosomal DNA or RNA that are derived from an individual or family matter.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008

National origin refers to a shared common language, culture, ancestry and/or other similar social characteristics of a group of people. Discrimination based on national origin involves treating individuals unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world, because of their ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background (even if they were not) 

Race refers to a group of people identified as distinct from other groups because of shared physical characteristics, such as skin color, hair texture, or bone structure. 

EEOC Fact Sheet – Race Discrimination

Religion refers to a sincerely held belief, observance or practice of an individual or group of people to that which they regard as worthy of especial reverence.  Anti-discrimination laws protect not only individuals who belong to traditional organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical, and moral beliefs.

EEOC Fact Sheet – Religious Discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, requires that the University, once on notice, to reasonably accommodate an individual whose sincerely-held religious belief, practice, or observance conflicts with a work or learning requirement, unless providing the accommodation would create an undue hardship for the University. 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended prohibits treating someone differently or unfavorably because of the person’s sex. Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, gender expression, or because of sexual orientation in prohibited. 

Sexual harassment

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.  Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature; however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex.  Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Gender Identity & Expression

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 151B prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

Gender Identity is a person’s gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.  Gender identity is internal and a central part of a person’s sense of self.

Gender Expression is how an individual outwardly shows their gender identity, including, but not limited to, physical and social expressions such as a person’s clothing, hairstyle, and name and pronoun choice.

Massachusetts Law on Gender Identity and Expression


The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) is an amendment to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII.  Women affected by pregnancy or related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.  The PDA forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, benefits, such as leave or health insurance, and any other term and condition of employment. 

EEOC Fact Sheet – Pregnancy Discrimination

The Pregnancy Workers’ Fairness Act amended Massachusetts General Law Chapter 151B, §4 which is enforced by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”). The Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, such as lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child.  The Act further describes an employer’s obligation to employees who are pregnant or lactating and explains the protections afforded to these employees. In general, employers may not treat employees or job applicants less favorably than other employees based on pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions and have an obligation to accommodate pregnant workers. 

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination Guidance on the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act

Sexual Orientation

A person’s identity in relation to the gender or genders to which they are sexually attracted.

The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (“VEVRAA”) prohibits discrimination against those individuals identified in the Act as a “protected veteran”.  An individual is considered a “protected veteran” if s/he belongs to one of the categories of veterans as outlined below:

  • Disabled Veteran: A veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military and is entitled to disability compensation, or was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability;
  • Other Protected Veteran: A veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military during a war, or in a campaign or expedition;
  • Recently Separated Veteran: A veteran separated during the three-year period beginning on the date of the veteran’s discharge or release from active duty in the U.S. military;
  • Armed Forces Service Medal Veteran: A veteran who, while serving on active duty in the U.S. military, participated in a U.S. military operation that received an Armed Forces Service Medal, pursuant to Executive Order 12985 (61 FR 1209)
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