Adjustments are temporary changes in the working or learning environment that enable an individual to be free from a hostile or unhealthy environment. Adjustments are used not only to level the playing field but also to encourage students and employees to thrive by respecting and supporting the differences in life experiences in our university community. Adjustments may be requested through the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity based on gender, pregnancy or occurrence of sexual harassment. Adjustments differ based on the status of the person who requests the adjustment.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibit discrimination against pregnant employees based on pregnancy status. Title IX prohibits discrimination against pregnant and parenting students. In order to provide an equitable environment for pregnant and parenting students and employees, adjustments may include a lighter workload, adjustments in work schedules and changes to classroom furniture.
People who have experienced sexual harassment (including sexual violence, relationship violence, or stalking) may also request adjustments in their work and school environment in order to avoid hostile work or education environments. The university must ensure that any reasonable changes to housing, work, class or sports schedule, or extracurricular activity are made to ensure that individuals can continue their education free from ongoing sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence. These arrangements can occur BEFORE a formal complaint, investigation, hearing, or final decision is made regarding a complaint. It also can CONTINUE after the process in order to retain the right to an education free of sex-based discrimination, harassment or violence.
In addition, gender nonconforming and transgender students, faculty, and staff may request adjustments in their school and/or work environment; for example, access to restrooms that correspond with a person’s full-time gender presentation or identity.
Many students and employees are unaware of the scope of adjustments that are available, spanning from aiding individuals in creating a healthy environment for work and education to decreasing the interference of negative events in an individual’s school and work activities. Adjustments are often small but the effect they have on those who utilize them is often immeasurable.
Please contact Carley Wyche with any questions or to begin the adjustment request process.
Carley Wyche, J.D., is an assistant equal opportunity officer in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity.