Skip to main content.

Discrimination & Harassment Definitions

BIAS ACT is conduct that adversely and unfairly targets an individual or group based on the social identity categories of national origin, ethnicity, race, age, religion, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, color, religion, marital status, or combination of these characteristics or any other group protected by law.

(UNLAWFUL) DISCRIMINATION is behavior that is directed at a specific person or persons that subjects them to treatment that adversely affects their employment, application for employment, education, admissions, University benefits programs, or activities, because of their religion or sincerely-held religious beliefs, color, race, marital status, veteran or military status, age, sex, pregnancy or related conditions, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or genetic information.

HARASSMENT is conduct by a person or persons against another person or persons based upon their legally protected class that adversely has the effect of:

  • Unreasonably interfering with a person’s employment, educational benefits, academic grades or opportunities, or participation in University programs or activities; or
  • Unreasonably interfering with a person’s work or academic performance; or
  • Unreasonably creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.

HATE CRIME is, pursuant to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 22C, §32, “any criminal act coupled with overt actions motivated by bigotry and bias including, but not limited to, a threatened, attempted or completed overt act motivated at least in part by racial, religious, ethnic, handicap, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation prejudice, or which otherwise deprives another person of his constitutional rights by threats, intimidation or coercion, or which seek to interfere with or disrupt a person’s exercise of constitutional rights through harassment or intimidation”. 

PROTECTED CLASSES are groups of individuals afforded legal and University policy protection from unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex (including sexual harassment, pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition), race, color, age, religion, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. 

RETALIATION is interference through intimidation, threats, coercion, or unlawful discrimination with an individual’s right or privilege secured under the law to report or make a complaint, testify, assist, or participate or refuse to participate in any manner in an investigation, grievance proceedings or hearing, or to intervene to prevent a violation of applicable University policy.

Back to top of screen