Filing an Internal Discrimination Complaint*
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Employees who believe they have been discriminated against and wish to file a complaint within the University can either file a petition with the Office for Conflict Resolution (OCR) or file a complaint with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA). A petition alleging discrimination in the employment relationship, including sexual harassment, may be submitted to the Office for Conflict Resolution or submitted to the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA), but not both. The comparisons below will help employees decide where to file an internal complaint.
|Scope extends to all employment-related matters that allegedly violate a University policy/practice.||Scope is limited to alleged discrimination, harassment, and retaliation for a complaint due to protected class status (race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression).|
|Accepts complaints from non-bargaining unit faculty, staff, and student employees. Services are not available to bargaining unit employees.||Accepts complaints from both non-bargaining unit and bargaining unit faculty, staff, and student employees. (In addition, accepts complaints from students about discrimination in academic matters.)|
|OCR uses a hearing process. The petitioner and the respondent themselves collect and present their information to a peer panel. The petitioner must prove to the panel that discrimination occurred. If the panel finds that discrimination occurred, it recommends actions to remedy the discrimination. The panel does not decide whether the employee who engaged in discrimination will be disciplined.||The EOAA process is investigative. EOAA staff conducts an investigation and determines whether discrimination or harassment has occurred in violation of University policy. If EOAA finds discrimination or harassment has occurred, it makes recommendations to the unit, which may include discipline of the employee who engaged in discrimination and a remedy for the employee who suffered discrimination.|
|A peer panel relies on the information presented to them in a panel hearing, which normally takes one day.||EOAA staff relies on information from interviews and documents when making its determination and recommendation.|
|A peer panel makes the initial determination of whether a University policy/practice was violated.||EOAA staff makes the determination of whether the University’s EOAA policy was violated.|
|The panel determination goes to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs who may accept or reject it and decides what action to take.||The EOAA determination and recommendations go to the unit head who decides what action to take.|
|The petition process often takes from 4-8 months.||The EOAA process takes from 2 to 9 months.|
|If the petitioner disagrees with the decision of the panel or the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, the petitioner can proceed to binding arbitration, or seek judicial review in the Minnesota Court of Appeals.||An employee complaining of discrimination has no internal appeal from an EOAA determination. An employee may have opportunities to pursue a complaint with outside agencies or the court.|
*Employees may file complaints with city, state, or federal agencies or the courts.