Hiring for Diversity Toolkit

 

WE CHANGE PEOPLE, THEY CHANGE THE WORLD!

OIE is pleased to partner with you to reach our shared mission of Inclusion and Diversity in our classrooms and our workplaces. On this page we have provided you with tools you will find useful in reaching our shared goal! Each of the tools and resources provided cover different aspects of Diversity and Inclusion from Building an Inclusive Team to Hiring Veterans as part of our large and diversified workforce!

We believe that education is the key to achieve our goals and as such OIE offers educational opportunities through the TX Class system. OIE teaches courses that discuss such topics as: PN611 The Inclusive Workplace, PN606 Recruiting for a Diversified Workforce taught in partnership with Strategic Workforce Solutions (SWS), PN51 Learning About UT Austin policies also taught in conjunction with Human Resources which covers multiple policy topics and PN 980 The Respectful Workplace: Rights, Responsibilities and Best Practices (SEED Certification program for students).

Please take a moment to check out these Educational opportunities to see how they can help in achieving the University's overall mission of creating a dedicated culture of excellence as a research institution of the first degree! If you would like to enroll in our next available classes please go to the Education section of our website and click on the course numbers for dates and times of each class and the availability. These classes tend to fill up quickly; so please check back often if they are full for the next available opportunity. You may also go to the TX Class system to view all course listings on a vast range of subject matter that are available to the campus community workforce.

The next valuable resource is the solid instruction, guidance and support before, during and after the recruiting and hiring process. Please click on this link to our partner Human Resources  to view multiple tools you will use to start the process. These helpful instructions and logistical guideposts will break down step by step how to access job descriptions, recruiting resources, how to form a diverse search and interview committee and much more. We hope you find this information useful and please do not hesitate to contact your SWS Partner to help you navigate the process. You will also see several options once you go to this section that will further discuss the job code system as well as compensation that will provide uniform information in each of these areas.

In addition to the internal tools OIE is pleased to provide additional information to complete your toolkit. Please select each of the topics listed below to read more . We hope you find these varied tools helpful and thank you for being our partner in building the inclusive workplace! Hook 'Em!

 

Building Your Inclusive Team

Inclusive teams are characterized by open communication, transparent decision making and those who embrace creativity. Building an inclusive team is important to creating the productive work climate that is supportive of its members and mission and is based in trust and mutual respect. The Commission of 125 has charged each and every member of the University to be partners in building a culture of dedicated excellence.

The University of Texas at Austin is a truly diverse community with people from all over the world that have come to the University to learn and work and become members of our community. With that being said, as you can imagine our campus community is comprised of truly diverse members who represent multiple and different identities. Whether our differences and similarities are based on generational, cultural, religious, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class or even personality, we all recognize that diversity is simply the reality of the world in which we live today. Based on this reality, Inclusion is the practiced art that will celebrate our diversity. Please read on for some ideas for creating and promoting an atmosphere of inclusion in your work units, departments and the campus community at large.

BASIC DOs:

  • Develop a brief vision statement related to the teamwork and inclusion mission for your department if one does not already exist. This is a wonderful exercise to focus the team members on the shared goals of your mission.
  • Example: The University of Texas at Austin celebrates diversity in the community that we are a part of. It is the mission of the University to foster and support an environment of mutual respect, professionalism and inclusion for each and every member of our community whether they be students, faculty, staff, visitors, contractors or volunteers. Our commitment is to provide a workplace and educational setting where each person is respected and supported and able to thrive without fear of harassment or discrimination. Civility is our Golden Rule!
  • Link inclusion to specific behavioral expectations that are likely to generate trust, openness and inclusion.
  • Example: Best practices as related to behaviors that demonstrate and promote inclusion are to communicate information consistently and clearly to all levels of constituents. Practice active listening to ensure the message is understood before responding. You may even want to restate what you have heard to make sure everyone is on the same page. Then formulate your response/message/feedback in a manner that is respectful of the individual or group regardless of their identities. This is a best practice in our daily lives as well.
  • Communicate regularly to your staff why building and maintaining an inclusive culture is important to the overall mission and success of the University and your department or work unit. When diverse groups practice solid communication skills, the result is enhanced productivity, improved team interactions which in turn leads to improved problem solving skills and overall excellence!
  • Example: Discuss with your team in your staff meetings and workshops that inclusion is a shared value in your department. Introduce team building exercises in communication styles and utilize role playing to illustrate how different ways of delivering a message can improve or hinder work processes based on how the message is delivered and in turn received. This will encourage team members to practice self awareness and reflect on how their actions and words affect those around them. This is a valuable tool for every member of our organization and should be modeled from the top of the organization to the newest member of our community.

BASIC DON'Ts:

  • Don't focus on the same sources for feedback and or advice in every situation.
  • Example: Make sure your feedback sources are as varied as your stakeholders and constituents. If you find yourself with a limited group of advisors who never push back or point out challenges, your advisor group is not sufficiently inclusive. Seek out the perspectives of colleagues who have different backgrounds and view points and perhaps expectations. Projects of all types can and will benefit from having such diverse feedback. Remember the old saying, "If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got." This old saying is a simple reminder that if you do not think diverse thoughts, you will never change your viewpoint and may miss the opportunity for greatness!
  • Don't use all of your staff meeting time for just business items, make an effort to change the format to include speakers on varied topics that help to move your mission forward and welcome the chance for an exchange of diverse ideas and viewpoints. This is a great way to invite participation, explore ideas and create new opportunities for excellence within your departments or work units! Team-building speakers are great as well as they promote a shared experience which can lead to better interpersonal relationships resulting in a more collaborative and inclusive team.
  • Example: There are many tools for increasing participation at meetings: a quick roundtable is a great opportunity to invite attendees to share an opinion. You can also use the meeting as a focus group type of format to explore feedback on different topics. This can be especially useful when there are proposed changes in the department or university that effect all members of the team. The feedback can then be moved up the chain of command and shared with leadership. This type of exchange can help create buy-in for the solution proposed. This is truly a diverse way of approaching any situation and is inclusive in the process.
  • Don't allow exclusionary or intolerant behaviors to go unaddressed. Respond to behaviors that mock, shame, insult, incite or injure your team members or any member of our community in an inappropriate manner. This goes back to the golden rule and that we must all maintain civility in the course of our day and should always act in a responsible, respectful and professional manner.
  • Example: When bad behavior is not addressed, you have allowed conduct that is counterproductive to your mission. When behavior is ignored in hopes that it will take care of itself and go away seldom works. By not addressing the issues immediately your team environment will be harmed and potentially render your group ineffective. Communication is your best best. Be quick, be clear and concise and state that this type of behavior is inappropriate and will not be tolerated. If you need help in formulating how to have a difficult conversation, reach out to the experts! We are here to partner with you and help seek a positive resolution. We must be able to hold one another accountable for creating a more inclusive workplace and by recognizing bad behavior and addressing the impact of the behavior on the team, you are setting a tone of civility and inclusion. You will truly be the architect and builder of the inclusive workplace! Just remember, good team members reflect well on managers, and bad team members reflect poorly on managers. Be aware of your team and what kind of milieu you have as your team environment.
  • How can I mentor a supervisor who reports to me on becoming more inclusive in their leadership style?
  • The best way to mentor supervisors is by modeling the behaviors that you would like for them to adopt. When we demonstrate how to handle challenging situations in an inclusive manner, we are showing our staff some of the tools we would like them to use in their toolbox. This is very much part of a developmental process in strengthening your management team. This practice of elevating expectations and setting the tone for a unit can be the best remedy for every member of your team and your shared goals. In addition to this mentor practice, you can recommend a book or website to your supervisory staff and then use this as part of your team meetings to discuss what they have learned and how to apply the knowledge in the workplace. You may even have each member take a piece of the information and present it to the group to facilitate the discussion. This is a growth opportunity and will open up the group to meaningful dialogue! In diverse groups of people, this is an incredible exchange and can help form better understanding of diverse viewpoints and build stronger teams and bonds.

Scenario Example: Since you became the department director several months ago, Joan and Sam have been your direct reports. You have had the opportunity to watch how each manager interacts with their team members. You note that Joan's style is very inclusive. She is upbeat in her demeanor and her meetings reflect her approach. She invites participation and seeks feedback on a routine basis. Joan rarely seems to be out of touch with how her team is performing in their work or their personal interactions with each other. Then you note that Sam's leadership style is much more formal and uses the top-down approach. Upon your taking the Director position, you discussed with each manager your philosophy on management styles and the importance of modeling an inclusive work environment with all team members as well as constituents and clients. After reviewing the Diversity Toolkit, you decide to revisit the different management styles with Joan and Sam to use the opportunity to have an open discussion of each of their leadership styles. You ask them to think about the term "inclusion". You then ask them how does self-assessment of their roles relate to leadership and inclusion? This question intrigues them both. You ask them to develop and present to you some recommendations on how to develop tools of self awareness and how behaviors and management style affect teams.  

This type of exercise can be used on multiple levels, not just for supervisors. The important focus here is on being self aware and to consider the impact different types of leadership and interactions impact teams of individuals. By having the managers in this scenario research and bring recommendations forward makes them really think about the issues and propose next steps to either support their ongoing inclusive management styles or take steps to gain a better self understanding and recognition that leadership style differences can be pivotal in the overall success of a team. This can dictate whether team members are made to feel included or if the style excludes members of an organization from feeling valued. With diverse organizations, these type of self evaluations can make or break a group of people. Think about this scenario as it applies to your team and leadership style. Is there room for improvement?

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Cultural Competency

When practicing Cultural Competency you will work to promote the understanding and acceptance of the beliefs, values and ethics of others. By doing so you are demonstrating the necessary skills to work with and to serve diverse groups and individuals. This practice involves an awareness and respect for the diverse beliefs, values and ethics of other cultures that make up our community. A true belief and understanding of this practice is critical to developing and honing cultural competency in our work and educational environments as well as our larger communities in which we all live in together.

BASIC DOs:

  • First, it is so important to recognize that the practice of cultural competence is a process that will need to be developed for both the individual and team environment.
  • Be committed to building the necessary awareness, skills and resources that will lead to the inclusive team environment we all strive for. By focusing on this practice, you are providing the guidance and awareness that over a period of time will then become ingrained as standard behavior.
  • Please remember that changes in attitudes and beliefs take time and to be positive in your message and persistent in your applications and we will all reap the rewards of a truly respectful and inclusive community. This said, individuals as well as organizations will be at various levels of awareness at differing times. You could call this the cultural competence continuum which will be an ever evolving and fluid process.

BASIC DON'Ts:

  • Do not assume that only employees can benefit from cultural competency skills and awareness. All employees and students at The University of Texas at Austin will benefit from a better understanding of the diverse population that makes up our community.
  • Do not try to treat everyone the same. Celebrate the differences in preferences of treatment based on cultural differences and work to garner a better understanding, which will be such a wonderful and inclusive practice.
  • Do not forget that there are many elements of diversity such as sexual orientation, sexual identity, region or country of origin and generational differences. Work on effective communication skills that will support the understanding of the differences that make us all unique and wonderful individuals and groups which add the to abundance of diversity in our community, which is truly a global one.

How Do You Measure a Culturally Competent Organization?

  • A good place to start is ensure that we have defined and shared a set of values and principles as well as demonstrated behaviors, attitudes and structures that enable employees and university leaders to work effectively to cross our cultural differences to obtain our shared vision and mission of dedicated excellence as set forth by the Commission of 125.
  • Demonstrate this dedication by placing value on each and every member of our community through deed and action. The University of Texas at Austin's leadership has dedicated time, money and major efforts through the development of multiple programs which are supported by dedicated members to fulfill this mission to the fullest extent.
  • The University's policies, administrative practices and resources continue to involve key stakeholders within our community to move this mission ever forward.

What are key components of individual cultural competency?

  • Self-awareness is at the top of this list. To be cognizant of different cultural identities, bias and style preferences.
  • To be able to recognize how our perceptions can impact each other in our jobs, communication styles and interactions with one another.
  • To be committed to learn more about diverse populations to garner a better understanding of how to celebrate those differences which will enhance our shared experiences with one another.
  • This can be obtained by education offered through the TX Class system and outreach opportunities on campus. As a world-class institution of higher learning we have access to some truly amazing speakers from many different cultures that will offer diverse views on many subjects.

Where does the concept of "Cultural Competency" come from?

Historically, professional organizations in fields such as health care and psychology have led the way as institutions and different professions have examined the need to be more effective and inclusive in working with diverse populations. In the last ten years, these ideals and tools of cultural competency from global corporate leaders have become more mainstreamed into other professions and educational, social and governmental institutions who have and are currently experiencing shifting demographics, generational differences and an emerging gay and lesbian workforce. Organizations are identifying tools and best practices for supporting students, employees and customers to bridge all cultural gaps.

What are the fundamental components of individual cultural competency?

  • Self-awareness: cultural lenses, bias, style preferences.
  • Recognition of the impact that each of our cultural lenses has on our job role, communications style and perceptions.
  • Commitment to learn more about target populations of interest.
  • Development of skills for cross-cultural communications, evaluation and feedback on skills integrated into professional development.

What are the fundamental components of organizational cultural competency?

  • Clearly-articulated vision by senior leaders regarding the importance of diversity and inclusion to the business of the organization.
  • Climate survey: assess the degree to which individuals and members of groups perceive they are valued, rewarded and have opportunities for growth.
  • Ongoing education, mentoring and evaluation throughout the organization for employees and managers to understand the expectations and skills necessary for developing a culturally competent organization.
  • Expectations and success linked to performance management and evaluation systems in order to promote accountability.

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Enhancing Respect & Professionalism

Putting focus on enhancing respect in our work environment is one of the very best ways of supporting employees to make them feel valued. Respect can be demonstrated through verbal and non verbal communication, our behavior, the choices we make and how we delegate responsibilities. The Office of Institutional Equity offers courses on how to build an Inclusive Workplace. Here are some additional guidelines and practices that you can implement in your work units or departments that will increase the sense of respect among employees.

BASIC DOs:

  • Make your expectations clear to employees regarding verbal and non-verbal communications. What is considered acceptable and not acceptable behaviors.
  • Schedule at least one staff meeting per semester to review levels of respect and professionalism experienced in the work place and solicit feedback from all employees.
  • Provide consistent feedback, especially to employees who need mentoring and support on their behavior.
  • Reward respectful and professionalism as exhibited in colleagues behavior when you see it. Positive reinforcement is always a best practice!
  • Manage conflicts and disagreements in a respectful and professional manner always.
  • When you help all team members to manage their expectations across the board-you help to set the tone for the respectful and professional work place each member desires to be a part of.
  • Should you need help in how to have a hard conversation in a respectful way; please do not hesitate to contact OIE or your SWS partner. We are here to help!

BASIC DON'Ts:

  • Do not assume that all employees have the same definition of respect and professionalism as each other or as you do. This is why communication is critical to your group.
  • Do not avoid conversations about disrespectful behavior in the hopes that the behavior will stop on its own without intervention. This rarely if ever works!
  • Do not rely on someone else to provide vision and tools for respect in your department or work unit. This is part of a good managers responsibility and commitment to an inclusive workplace. All team members set the tone for a group.

What are some specific behaviors that can convey respect and thereby professionalism?

Although each situation is unique and not everyone may agree; we have found some behaviors that reliably convey respect in our work environments:

  • Communication is the key to success first and foremost. Establish communication practices that are open and clear. This leaves no room for misinterpretation.
  • Your decision making should always be transparent and inclusive whenever possible.
  • Share information in a timely and consistent manner to all constituents.
  • Remember, you can respectfully disagree without losing one's temper or otherwise convey disrespect.
  • Greeting employees and acknowledging colleagues verbally and non-verbally.
  • Be respectful of people's time by arriving at meetings on time and ending meetings on time. Be engaged when you are in the meeting.
  • Maintaining appropriate personal space and boundaries is critical to setting the tone for a respectful and professional environment.
  • Delegate assignments and schedules fairly which will support value and equity among all team members.
  • Be open to feedback without anger. Constructive feedback again delivered in a professional and respectful manner is a growth opportunity.
  • Provide critical feedback in a manner that is caring and respectful regardless of how hard the message may be.
  • Take responsibility for the impact of one's actions. This is the foundation for being a self aware member of the team. This goes for leadership as well as the newest member of the team and all those in between.
  • Practice accountability with yourself and with your team members always.

How can I provide feedback about disrespectful behavior?

Here are some best practices for coaching an employee with problematic behavior:

  • Choose an appropriate time and place to offer feedback. Do not let too much time pass before you address the problem.
  • Stay calm and remove your personal emotions from the situation. This is a business and respect and professionalism should be exhibited as due course.
  • Seek out a private space in which to have the conversation. This will help to also establish a respectful tone.
  • If this is a first occasion for the behavior, ask the person if they are aware how their behavior has impacted the situation or the other people involved.
  • Actively listen to their self-evaluation of the situation. This will give you the opportunity to provide the necessary feedback that will encourage them to reflect more on their behavior and how to make better choices for future interactions.
  • If this is a pattern or persistent concern, work with the employee to examine the long-term impact of this behavior and the effects it has on the team, their job tasks and on their relationships with colleagues, clients and customers.
  • Ask the employee what their alternatives are when this type of situations occurs again.
  • Develop a plan for changing the behavior which will set the level of expectations moving forward and thereby accountability for their future actions as well.
  • Follow up with the colleague! Schedule a meeting three to four weeks out at the time of the first meeting and communicate that you will meet soon to discuss how things are progressing.
  • If  the behavior and the level of persistency merits, you may need to institute the disciplinary action process or performance improvement plan. Please discuss with OIE or your SWS partner for support and guidance.

Scenario Example:

Joan is facilitating the monthly staff meeting. The third item on the agenda describes a new initiative that UT Austin is embarking upon. This project will require considerable increase to the departments workload. At one point, Henry, a seasoned supervisor, interrupts Joan to suggest that the administration is wrong about their current plan of action and he is fed up with having to switch gears every time there is a new mandate!

Joan remains calm and listens to Henry's comments and thanks him for sharing his concerns. She decides that this is a good time to open up the meeting to gather feedback from the entire team as she is aware that others may be feeling the same way as Henry and this is a opportunity to be the change agent and provide support to the entire team at a stressful time. At this point Joan says to the group "Let's take a few minutes to evaluate the new project and the impact it will have on our team".

Later, after the meeting Joan stops by Henry's office and gives him some feedback on his approach during the earlier meeting.

JOAN: Henry, I value you as a seasoned supervisor on this team and I know how much you care about The University and the welfare of our department staff. I also appreciate that you are open and honest about your perceptions regarding the decisions that are made here. I would however like to offer you some feedback regarding the tone you used in the meeting.

HENRY: What do you mean?

JOAN: I felt disrespected by your interruption in the meeting. Not because you were disagreeing with the initiative, but because of how you spoke to me regarding the initiative and because you set a negative tone in the meeting. I don't know if you felt it, but after your input, the team members were on edge as they were reacting to your frustration. It was evident in people's body language and even a few eye rolls that I noticed. Sometimes, when you have criticism to offer, your message gets lost because of how you express yourself.

HENRY: Well, how should I have presented myself?

JOAN: Perhaps next time you have critical feedback, try to present it in a less cynical tone. For example, I would have been delighted if you had come to me before the meeting and asked to facilitate a discussion with the staff about the new project. I think it is so very important to show the staff we care about their feelings and value their input. With this being said, we need to be constructive about how we garner their feedback and support. As a supervisor, you should always be aware of how your views can set the tone for how our team members will deal with change. You also are setting an example of how to provide necessary input to any project. We need to ensure this is done in a respectful and professional manner regardless of the frustration you may be feeling yourself.

Best Practices Rights & Responsibilities:

  • By not over-reacting to Henry in the meeting, Joan is able to turn his outburst into an opportunity for the team to facilitate a group discussion. This is the practiced art of a good manager.
  • Joan has chosen to provide Henry feedback in private after the meeting. This helps Henry to feel safe to ask her for advice. Had Joan had this exchange in front of everyone in the meeting, a mentoring moment would have been lost and could have turned into a persistent behavioral issues instead. Based on the sincere feedback from Joan to Henry, she has also set a level of expectation in appropriate ways to provide feedback in a group setting. The mentoring also provides direct accountability for Henry's poor choice in communication style and how to approach it next time around.

Summary: Enhancing Respect Means.......

  • Having a clear set of behavioral expectations that you can articulate to your staff.
  • Model these behaviors consistently.
  • Do not hesitate to provide feedback to team members as soon as you see a problem behavior present itself. 
  • Express appreciation to those who are modeling a respectful and professional environment.

Links and other resources:

Toward a More Civil Work Place

Respectful Workplace: Increasing Your Organization's Capacity for Respect

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender, Queer & Ally Inclusion at Work

The University of Texas at Austin welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally  (LGBTQA) students, staff and faculty. The purpose of educating ourselves about our LGBTQA community is to maintain a harassment and prejudice free workplace and learning environment. This is not only the inclusive thing to do-it is the right thing to do! We all are part of the community that is responsible for setting a supportive and safe climate for heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally members of our community.

BASIC DOs:

  • Be responsible for openly communicating that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally employees are welcome in your department and that you expect fair and respectful treatment of all students, employees and visitors in our community.

Scenario Example:

Carol is a recent hire in your department and will become the newest member of your management team. Carol dresses only in pant suits, wears no make-up and very little jewelry. Carol has never discussed being married or in a relationship. As a member of the management team she will be expected to plan and support the annual departmental office party. Carol brings up the need to change the invitation to include that all significant others will be welcomed to the event. Some of the team question the need to change, but as the inclusive manager, you support the change and are glad to encourage everyone to do the same as we all live in a diverse community and this is just one example of how we can make everyone feel welcome and included. This may seem a very simplistic act, but inclusion however large or small is important to practice in every way possible.

  • Be sure that your department offers LCBTQA inclusive services and programs. For instance, here at The University of Texas at Austin, we have a truly valuable and diverse resource in UT's Gender and Sexuality Center. Please click on the Resource link once in the website for some amazing information that is useful to our community members to support and include all of our members in the UT family.
  • Be mindful that our courses, programs, policies and research that takes place her on the UT campus is for everyone and we should never promote an environment where members of our community are excluded from or made to feel unwelcome.
  • Respond to inappropriate jokes or comments immediately. Silence sends a message of agreement. You can state your position while remaining respectful and professional by saying "This is a workplace where ALL people are welcomed. The joke you just told does not promote understanding of our position and it offends me"
  • If you were to let unacceptable behavior go by without any form of feedback, we are sending a message of agreement-whether we mean to or not. Be aware of how your behavior effects those around you. This also goes to our mission of civility in our community for all.

BASIC DON'Ts:

  • Do not ignore inappropriate language, this goes for many levels of communication including speech or discussions dealing with LGBTQA issues.
  • Do not make generalizations about any group or identity. Within the gay male community or the lesbian community, there are multiple differences in terms of politics, sexuality, appearance and relationship choices. As with any dimension of diversity, make sure to see the individual and not just their "group"
  • Do not reveal a person's sexual orientation unless they have made their orientation public.This is respectful behavior regardless of the group of individuals involved.
  • Do not discount individuals feelings based on their orientation. The feelings that people have are valid and based on the reality they have experienced in the past or are currently experiencing.

Scenario Example:

Chris has recently joined your department. Privately, she has told you that she is in a same sex relationship-but is not comfortable with her colleagues knowing this about her. When other co-workers mention Chris to you, it is important that you keep her confidence and not gossip about her sexual orientation. We would never want to gossip, especially when a person has taken you into their confidence. This is a great responsibility and should not be taken lightly or treated with indifference.

What is "coming out"?

"Coming Out" is a shortened version of the phrase "coming out of the closet" and it refers to the process of acknowledging one's sexuality. Most heterosexual people do not have to "come out" about their heterosexuality, as it is assumed and expected in many communities. Depending on a person's family, regional background, nationality, personality, religious beliefs, and circumstances, coming out can be a difficult and challenging process.

What should I do if someone "comes out" to me about their sexual orientation?

The most important thing you can do is listen to them and thank the person for trusting you with their personal information. If the person is upset, you can offer to help them find a counselor or resource in the community or here at UT Austin. We are indeed fortunate to having some great resources and partners on our campus that are here to help! Please contact OIE, Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or Counseling and Psychological Services are all good places to get support.

Scenario Example:

Clay and Janice are recruiting for a new administrative support person. They have interviewed three of the top candidates and are now making their determination about who should be offered the position.

Clay says to Janice that he really believes the internal candidate James deserves the job due to his experience and communication skills. Janice says that James has always made her uncomfortable because of his high pitched, loud laugh and earrings! Clay does not understand what Janice means by these comments on James's appearance and voice and asks her to explain. Janice say, "Oh, you know. James is just not a good fit. Plus, he has a lot of doctor's appointments to go to. I'm not sure he is healthy."

Clay is very upset by these comments and invites the department's HR person, Mack to join them in the next meeting. Mack explains to Janice that the reasons she provided to Clay for not hiring James could violate the equal opportunity policy. James's sexual orientation is not known to the group, and even if it were, it has no bearing on his qualifications for the job.

Best Practices Rights & Responsibilities:

  • When making hiring and promotion decisions, we must think carefully about the ways in which we are influenced by our perceptions about people's personal lives.
  • As with all employees, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally staff are encouraged to grow in their careers at The University of Texas at Austin.
  • For the playing field to be fair, we must make employment decisions based on a candidate's skill level experience and expertise.
  • If you are concerned that employment decisions are being made in your work environment that are unfairly biased based on sexual orientation, gender expression or race, it is critical to get support from the Office of Institutional Equity so we may help to remedy the situation.

Scenario Example: Frances Jamillo is a 57 year old Hispanic woman working in a department for the past 22 years. Frances is upset that a recently hired young man, Bruce, in the department is gay. He has a photo of himself and his life partner at their commitment ceremony on his desk. Frances is having trouble focusing on her work as she has strong religious beliefs about sexuality. Bruce is offended that Frances has a problem; the two of them have not been able to work productively together based on each of their feelings.

Best Practices Rights & Responsibilities:

  • The University of Texas at Austin's non-discrimination policy includes protection of gay and lesbian employees. Bruce has a right to come to work and feel safe.
  • Frances has a right to her strong religious beliefs, but must also respect that some of her colleagues, customers, students associates my not be heterosexual.
  • Neither employee should harass or threaten the other with their views.
  • The manager's responsibility in this situation is to communicate clear expectations for behavior and to ensure each employee is acting respectful towards the other person. This is an exercise in inclusion and a way to celebrate our diversity that will help us all to better embrace our team members differences and to be successful architects in this truly diverse world we live in today.
  • For more information on LGBTQA inclusion in the workplace: www.outandequal.org.

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Responding to Harassment Complaints

The University of Texas at Austin is committed to a respectful, harassment-free environment. As a manager, supervisor or administrator, a component of your responsibility includes appropriately responding to concerns or complaints of harassment. Possessing the requisite skills, competency and knowledge regarding this important responsibility will strengthen The University's efforts to sustain a community environment that is respectful, free from harassment and supports our compliance efforts.

The following information will provide you with a foundation of information and best practices fro responding to harassment concerns or complaints. We have place interactive incident report forms in each of the toolkits found on the homepage of our website for your ease of use and access.

For additional assistance, please contact:

The University of Texas at Austin
Office of Institutional Equity
101 E 27th Street, Suite 4.302
Stop A9400
Austin, Texas 78712-1541

512-471-1849 or equity@utexas.edu

What is harassment?

Harassment occurs when physical or verbal behavior is severe or persistent resulting in the interference with an individual's work or education, or adversely affects an individual's ability to work, or learn.

When evaluating the alleged behavior, the conduct is examined from the perspective of a reasonable person similarly situated to the individual who is complaining and in consideration of the surrounding circumstances.

Harassment can also occur when submission to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is somehow made a term or condition of an individual's employment or education. This type of harassment is commonly referred to as "sexual coercion" and can also happen when submission to or rejection of unwelcome sexual conduct is used as a basis for an employment or education decision.

In addition to our own University of Texas policies, there are federal laws that prohibit harassment. Both Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibit harassment and discrimination. Title IX specifically prohibits discrimination based upon sex. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are forms of sex discrimination. Another federal law, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 specifically prohibits discrimination based upon race, color or national origin. You can read more about Title IX and Title VII and Title VI in the Policy section of OIE's website.

What Do I Need to Know?

You have a responsibility to promptly respond to harassment issues. The most appropriate response will depend on the specifics of the concern and situation. As someone who is responsible for insuring compliance with both our harassment policy and applicable laws regarding harassment, you will want to reach out to OIE so our office may take proper steps regarding the incident report. Please be aware that we cannot guarantee confidentiality when investigating the situation depending on the exact circumstance of the harassment or prohibited discrimination.

The basic provision of The University of Texas at Austin's Harassment Policy:

  • All forms of harassment are prohibited.
  • Our harassment policy applies to every member of the UT Austin community-staff, students, faculty, visitors, vendors and contractors.
  • Retaliation is prohibited. Members of the UT Austin community have the right and are encouraged to come forward with harassment concerns or complaints.
  • Individuals can raise issues or concerns with their supervisors, or faculty and they in turn have the responsibility to report the incident to OIE. We will partner with other resources on campus based on the issue brought forth. OIE encourages all members of our community to contact our office to ensure issues are dealt with in the appropriate manner.
  • The full harassment policy can be viewed under the Policy section of our website.

There are resources available to help you. For assistance and support, please do not hesitate to contact OIE, your department Human Resource Staff, Dean of Students, Central Human Resource Services or your director, chair or dean. We are all here to help. OIE has an interactive incident report form which you can complete and submit online for ease of use and to document the issues or concerns. Once completed, the form is automatically directed to our Investigations area and they will contact you with 48 hours of submittal. If you do not hear from our department within 48 hours, please contact our main number at 512-471-1849.

BASIC DOs:

  • Familiarize yourself with The University of Texas at Austin's policy and their provisions. All of the OIE policies can be found under the Policy section of this website. Attend PN51 Learning UT Policies for complete instruction on University policy and procedures. This class is taught in partnership between OIE, Human Resources and our ADA Coordinator. Visit the Tx Class section under Education to enroll for the next available class.
  • Regularly communicate the harassment policy to your staff, including its basic provisions, prohibition of retaliation and available resources.
  • If you receive a harassment complaint or concern, you should follow up with due diligence. Please contact OIE at 512-471-1849 as a standard course of action.
  • When meeting with someone who has a concern, be attentive, non-judgmental when listening.
  • Communicate to the individual that while you will keep the situation as private as possible, you cannot guarantee confidentiality.
  • Remind the individual that The University is committed to a harassment free environment and our policy prohibits retaliation.
  • It is important to create a climate that encourages individuals to come forward if there is a concern or complaint about harassment. One way to do this is to avoid even the perception of retaliation. Retaliation is prohibited by all parties involved either directly or indirectly.
  • Document the nature of the concern for your report to OIE.
  • Please report all concerns in a timely manner. This will be critical to the investigation or resolution of the concern.

BASIC DON'Ts:

  • Please do not ignore the concern or complaint. This will only escalate the issue and may place others at risk. If a concern has been brought to your attention, you are required to contact OIE so we may take the proper course of action.
  • Do not pre-judge the credibility or either the person complaining or the person being complained about.
  • Do not guarantee confidentiality.
  • Do not guarantee a specific outcome.
  • Do not minimize the importance of the concern or complaint.
  • Do not discourage anyone from coming forward with a harassment concern or complaint or from seeking assistance from other internal or external resources. Please see the Resource page of our website for other integral and external resources available to you.
  • Do not allow others in the workplace to joke or gossip about the situation. This can be disruptive to the workplace and does not meet The University's standard of Respect and Professionalism in the work or learning environment.

Please remember you have a number of resources on campus who are here to partner with you to seek a resolution to the issue or concern raised. The following are here to help and to ensure you are directed to the correct area for resolution:

Office of Institutional Equity (OIE), Human Resources  (HR), Employee Assistance Program (EAP), your department's Human Resource Professional, your department's Chair, Dean or Director and The University of Texas Police Department.