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Office of Human Resources

Equal Opportunity & Compliance


EOC Glossary

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Accessibility
  The extent to which a facility is readily approachable and useable by individuals with disabilities, particularly such areas as the doors, elevators, and restrooms.
 
Adverse Impact
  A substantially different rate of selection in hiring, promotion, transfer, training or other employment related decisions for any race, sex, or ethnic group. A finding of adverse impact by itself does not establish a violation device in question based on job relatedness or business necessity. See definition of disparate impact.
 
Affirmative Action
  Affirmative action is defined as results-oriented procedures designed to enhance the utilization of minorities and women in the workforce. - SOURCE: Higher Education Guidelines
 
Affirmative Action Program (AAP)
  A written program, meeting the requirements of 41 CFR Part 60-2, 60-250.5 or 60-741.5, in which a contractor (employer with a fiduciary relationship with the Federal government) annually details the steps it will take and has already taken, to ensure equal employment opportunity.
 
American Indian or Alaskan Native (Federal Race/Ethnicity Code)
  All persons having origins in any of the original peoples of North, Central, and South America.
 
Anecdotal Evidence
  Oral or written narrative evidence. A short account of some happening, usually personal. (For example, interview or written statements given to an investigator that record personal experiences of employees can be anecdotal evidence of discrimination.)
 
Asian (Federal Race/Ethnicity Code)
  All persons having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.
 
Availability
  The availability of minorities or women for a job group means the percentage that minorities or women are among persons in the relevant labor area and/or internal feeder pools having the requisite qualifications to perform the positions included in the job group. The term is broad enough to include any factor that is in fact relevant to determining the availability of individuals for the jobs in the job group. Availability figures are used in determining whether to find underutilization, and, where a goal is established, in determining the level of the goal.
 
Black or African American (Federal Race/Ethnicity Code)
  All persons having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
 
Bona-Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ)
  A defense allowing an employer to limit a particular job to members of one sex, religion, or national origin group. The courts have held that the statutory BFOQ provision in Title VII is a very narrow exception to the general prohibition against discrimination on the basis of those characteristics. In enforcing the Executive Order, OFCCP follows Title VII principles regarding the BFOQ exception. An employer claiming that sex is a BFOQ for a job must show that all or substantially all members of the excluded sex are incapable of performing the duties of the job and that failure to allow the exclusion would undermine the "essence" (i.e., the central purpose or mission) of the employer's business. Race cannot ever be a BFOQ for any job.
 
Business Necessity
  A defense available when the employer has a criterion for selection that is facially neutral but which excludes members of one sex, race, national origin or religious group at a substantially higher rate than members of other groups (thus creating adverse impact) do. The employer must prove that its requirement having the adverse impact is job-related and consistent with business necessity.
 
Color
  In reference to the color of an individuals skin tone.
 
Comparative Evidence
  Nonstatistical evidence that compares the contractor's treatment of individuals in one group (e.g., race) with its treatment of similarly situated individuals of other groups.
 
Compliance
  Meeting the requirements and obligations imposed by Executive Order 11246, as amended, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 38 U.S.C. ยง4212, and their implementing regulations.
 
Creed
  A set of fundamental beliefs.
 
Disparate Impact
  A theory or category of employment discrimination. Disparate impact discrimination may be found when a contractor's use of a facially neutral selection standard (e.g., a test, an interview, a degree requirement) disqualifies members of a particular race or gender group at a significantly higher rate than others and is not justified by business necessity or job relatedness. An intent to discriminate is not necessary to this type of employment discrimination. The disparate impact theory may be used to analyze both objective and subjective selection standards. Same concept as adverse impact. See definition of adverse impact.
 
Disparate Treatment
  A theory or category of employment discrimination. Disparate treatment discrimination may be found when a contractor treats an individual or group differently because of its race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap or veteran status. An intent to discriminate is a necessary element in this type of employment discrimination, and may be shown by direct evidence or inferentially by statistical, anecdotal and/or comparative evidence.
 
Equal Employment Opportunity
  Where all personnel activities are conducted so as to assure equal access in all phases of the employment process. Employment decisions are based solely on the individual merit and fitness of applicants and employees related to specific jobs, without regard to race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran's or marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other protected group status.
 
Good Faith Efforts
  This term refers to a contractor's efforts to make all aspects of its affirmative action plan work. Designing and implementing an effective affirmative action plan requires sustained attention. The contractor must analyze its employment and recruitment practices as they affect equal opportunity, identify problem areas, design and implement measures to address the problems, and monitor the effectiveness of its program, making adjustments as circumstances warrant. In evaluating the contractor's good faith efforts, the EOS must make a careful assessment of the quality and thoroughness of the contractor's work to implement its program and assure equal opportunity. The basic components of good faith efforts are (1) outreach and recruitment measures to broaden candidate pools from which selection decisions are made to include minorities and women and (2) systematic efforts to assure that selections thereafter are made without regard to race, sex, or other prohibited factors.
 
Harassment
  Any conduct that has the intent or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual or group's educational, living or work environment. It includes conduct relating to race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran's or marital status or any other protected group.
 
Hispanic/Latino
  All persons having origins in any of the original peoples of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.
 
Hostile Work Environment
  As defined by the U.S. Supreme Court, Environment is hostile when it is "permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that is sufficiently pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim's employment." (510 U.S. 17,21)
 
Individual with a Disability
  Any person who:
  • has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities;
  • has a record of such an impairment; or
  • is regarded as having such an impairment.
This definition does not include an individual currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs, when the contractor acts on the basis of such use. This definition does not include an individual who is an alcoholic whose current abuse of alcohol prevents such individual from performing the duties of the job in question, or whose employment, by reason of such current alcohol abuse, would constitute a direct threat to property or safety of others.
 
Marital Status (Protected Group)
  Whether an individual is single or married.
 
Minorities
  Men and women of those minority groups for whom EEO-1 reporting is required; i.e., Asian, American Native or Alaskan Native, Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. As used in this Manual, the term may mean these groups in the aggregate or an individual group.
 
National Origin (Protected Group)
  An individual's ethnicity, ancestry, nationality.
 
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (Federal Race/Ethnicity Code)
  All persons having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
 
Noncompliance
  A contractor's failure to adhere to the conditions set out in the contract's equal opportunity and/or affirmative action clauses and/or the regulations implementing those clauses (41 CFR Chapter 60) and/or failure to correct violations.
 
Pattern or Practice Discrimination
  Employer actions constituting a pattern of conduct resulting in discriminatory treatment toward the members of a class. Pattern or practice discrimination generally is demonstrated in large measure through statistical evidence, and can be proven under either the disparate treatment or disparate impact model.
 
Physical & Mental Job Qualification Requirements
  Physical and mental standards that an employer requires a person performing or applying for a job to meet.
 
Prima Facie Case
  A legal term that refers to a case sufficient on its face to prevail in the absence of contradictory evidence.
 
Proof of Discrimination
  "Proofs" of discrimination are the factual formulations which show that discrimination under a particular theory exists. These formations describe the kinds of facts needed to show a nexus between a particular adverse action or result and a particular prohibited factor. Proof requires evidence; see "Anecdotal Evidence," "Comparative Evidence," and "Statistical Evidence."
 
Protected Group
  A group of persons, identifiable by name or characteristics, who are the victims of a pattern or practice of discrimination.
 
Qualified Individual with a Disability
  An individual with a disability (see above) who is capable of performing a particular job, with or without reasonable accommodation to his or her disability.
 
Quid Pro Quo (Sexual Harassment)
  "This for that," ie. Demanding sexual favors in exchange for promotions, a raise or good grades.
 
Race (Protected Group)
  American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian; Black or African American; Hispanic/Latino; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; or Two or More Races.
 
Reasonable Accommodation
 
  • Any modification or adjustment to a job application process that enables a qualified individual with handicaps to be considered for the position such qualified individual desires, and which will not impose an undue hardship on the contractor's business (see, "Undue Hardship" below); or
  • Any modification or adjustment to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enables a qualified individual with handicaps to perform the essential functions of the position, and which will not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the contractor's business; or
  • Any modification that enables a contractor's employee with handicaps to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by its other similarly situated employees without handicaps, and which will not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the contractor's business.
Reasonable accommodation may include but is not limited to: (1) Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with handicaps; (2) Job restructuring; part-time or modified work schedules; (3) Reassignment to a vacant position; (4) Acquisition or modifications of equipment or devices; (5) Appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials, or policies; (8) the provision of qualified readers or interpreters; and, (7) other similar accommodations for individuals with handicaps.

To determine the appropriate reasonable accommodation it may be necessary for the contractor to initiate an informal, interactive process with the qualified individual with a handicap in need of the accommodation. This process should identify the precise limitations resulting from the disability and potential reasonable accommodations that could overcome those limitations. Compare with "Religious Accommodation."
 
Religion (Protected Group)
  Religious beliefs and practices, not limited to mainstream religions, but also including moral or ethical beliefs which are sincerely held with the strength of religious views.
 
Religious Accommodation
  Requirement of a contractor to accommodate sincere religious observances and practices of an employee or prospective employee unless the contractor can demonstrate that it is unable to do so without undue hardship on the conduct of its business. Anything requiring more than a de minimis cost has been held by the Supreme Court to constitute "undue hardship" in this context.
 
Sex (Protected Group)
  Specifically male or female.
 
Sexual Harassment
  Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed at an employee or student by another when:
  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment, academic status, receipt of University services, participation in University activities and programs, or affects the measure of a student's academic performance; or,
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for a decision affecting employment, academic status, receipt of services, participation in University activities and programs, or the measure of a student's academic performance; or,
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with employment opportunities, work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.
 
Statistical Evidence
  Evidence that explains or analyzes the meaning of numerical differences in selection rates, wages, or other employment decisions between one group and others who were similarly situated. Statistical evidence also may be used to show which factors did or did not affect selection decisions, wages, or other employment decisions.
 
Systemic Discrimination
  Employment policies or practices that serve to differentiate or to perpetuate a differentiation in terms or conditions of employment of applicants or employees because of their status as members of a particular group. Such policies or practices may or may not be facially neutral, and intent to discriminate may or may not be involved. Systemic discrimination, sometimes called class discrimination or a pattern or practice of discrimination, concerns a recurring practice or continuing policy rather than an isolated act of discrimination.
 
Terms and Conditions of Employment
  This phrase includes all aspects of the employment relationship between an employee and his or her employer including, but not limited to, application process, hire, compensation fringe benefits, leave policies, job placement, physical environment, work related rules, work assignments, training and education, opportunity to serve on committees and decision making bodies, opportunities for promotion, and maintenance of a nondiscriminatory working environment.
 
Two or More Races (Federal Race/Ethnicity Code)
  All persons having origins in two or more of the other race categories.
 
Underutilization
  Having materially fewer minorities or women in a particular job group than reasonably would be expected based upon their availability.
 
Undue Hardship
  In general, with respect to the provision of a reasonable accommodation, significant difficulty or expense incurred by a contractor. Whether an accommodation is reasonable requires a case-by-case determination.
 
Veteran's Status (Protected Group)
  Vietnam era veterans, special disabled veterans, and veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized.
 
White/Caucasian (Federal Race/Ethnicity Code)
  All persons having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, or the Indian Subcontinent.
 
Gender Identity/Expression
  Gender Expression - External manifestation of one's gender identity, usually expressed through "masculine," "feminine," or gender-variant behavior, clothing, haircut, voice, or body characteristics. Typically, transgender people seek to make their gender expression match their gender identity, rather than match their birth-assigned sex.

Gender Identity - One's internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (or boy or girl). For transgender people, their birth-assigned sex and their own internal sense of gender identity do not match.
 
Sexual Orientation
  Sexual orientation - The scientifically accurate term for an individual's enduring physical, romantic, emotional and/or spiritual attraction to members of the same and/or opposite sex, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual orientations. (Closeted describes a person who is not open about his or her sexual orientation.)
 
Sex discrimination
  Sex discrimination - Discriminatory conduct or actions based on sex or pregnancy, as it relates to conditions of employment, benefits, pay, and opportunities for advancement.
 
Sex reassignment
  Sex reassignment - Refers to surgical alteration, which is a part of "transition."
 
Sexual Violence
  A range of criminal sexual or sexually motivated misconduct including rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence/intimate partner violence, and stalking.
 
Stalking
  Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following, harassing, or cyberstalking another person. Cyberstalk means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.
 
Sexual Misconduct
  Any sexual act that occurs without the consent of the victim, or that occurs when the victim is unable to give consent; or sexually obscene or indecent behavior, such as exposure of one's sexual organs (in non-consensual circumstances) or the display of sexual behavior that would reasonably be offensive to others. Sexual Misconduct includes a broad range of behaviors including, but not limited to: rape/sexual battery; sexual assault; sexual harassment; domestic violence; dating violence; sexually-motivated stalking; audio recording, video recording, or watching sexual activity without consent (even if the sexual activity itself was consensual); or sharing such recordings without consent.
 
Sexual Battery/Sexual Assault/Rape
  The oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object, without consent. Sexual battery does not include acts done for a bona fide medical purpose. Sexual Battery is rape.
 
Domestic Violence
  Assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another. Family/household members: are spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.
 
Dating Violence/Intimate Partner Violence
  Violence between individuals who have or recently had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
 
Consent to Sexual Activity
  Intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent to sexual activity. This does not include coerced submission. There is no duty to fight or offer physical resistance to establish lack of consent. Certain individuals are legally unable to give consent (regardless of what they say or how they behave). An individual is unable to give consent if he or she: is temporarily or permanently incapable of appraising or controlling the nature of his or her conduct due to a mental disease, mental defect, or the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other substances (such as prescribed medications or anesthetics); is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise physically unable to communicate unwillingness to act (e.g., ill or in shock); or is under the age of 18 (unless the individual is 16 years old or older and his or her sexual partner is under the age of 24). If "consent" is achieved through force, physical incapacitation, threat of force, or other threats, this is coercion, not valid consent. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Consent can be withdrawn at any time, as long as the withdrawal is clearly communicated through words or actions by the person withdrawing consent.