Statement on Acts of Intolerance
Verbal or written personal attacks on any individual or group of individuals based on age, ancestry, color, dis(ability), national origin, race, faith-based affiliation, birth sex, sexual identity, gender identity, or veteran’s status are unacceptable. It is the expectation that all employees treat each other and all members of the Penn State University community with respect, dignity, and civility. Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to, such actions as:
- Emails sent with any degradation of an individual or group of individuals based on race, culture, faith, sexual identity, gender identity, or other demographic identities.
- Racial or sexual jokes told while performing work for the University.
- Any communication, whether verbal or written, meant to deny any University benefit to an individual or group of individuals based on race, culture, faith, sexual identity, gender identity, or other demographic identities.
- Emails that include personal attacks against the character of an individual or group of individuals.
- Verbal communication that discriminates or includes derogatory language against or group of individuals based on race, culture, faith, sexual identity, gender identity, or other demographic identities.
- Jokes or verbal comments which degrade an individual because of his/her/their sexual identity or gender identity.
- Personal verbal attacks against a person that include any derogatory comment in relation to culture, faith, or other demographic identities, when that individual is not present.
- Obvious physical gestures of disapproval behind the back of or in the presence of any individual because of race, culture, faith, sexual identity, gender identity, or other demographic identities.
- Insulting verbal comments or play-acting in relationship to physical characteristics of any individual or group of individuals.
- Any kind of verbal or written communication that includes racial slurs, unkind language, or other insulting nicknames or names.
It is not acceptable to deny any individual any opportunity or benefit authorized by the University or Finance & Business based on age, ancestry, dis(ability) or handicap, national origin, race, faith-based affiliation, birth sex, sexual identity, gender identity, or veteran’s status. Examples of unacceptable acts include, but are not limited to the following:
- Denial of a job promotion.
- Denial of travel opportunity.
- Exclusion from participation in a project.
- Exclusion from all-inclusive events such as a holiday lunch, office celebration or other events.
- Denial of work opportunities.
- Denial of individual benefits or awards.
It is unacceptable to treat work colleagues in a disrespectful manner as a means towards creating harsh and unwelcoming working environment. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Leaving intimidating or derogatory newspaper articles in an anonymous fashion to tease or harass an individual or group of individuals.
- Continual teasing of an individual or group of individuals in a mean-spirited manner.
- Isolating an employee from group work activities.
- Sending or leaving anonymous notes that harass individuals.
- Making verbal comments of a sexual manner or any unwanted physical advances.
- Physical contact in a hostile or threatening manner.
- Ganging up against an individual or group of individuals because of personality conflicts or past issues.
University employees are prohibited by University policy and by state and federal law from engaging in behaviors which create an offensive, hostile or intimidating working environment. These behaviors interfere with and undermine the respect and trust that must exist between co-workers in order to maintain a positive and productive work environment. As a University employee, each person is responsible for establishing and maintaining a professional relationship with others in full compliance with University policies and applicable laws.
The Process to Report Acts of Intolerance
The following is the process to report any situations, similar to the above, or other forms of harassment, intolerance, or intimidation.
- Report the incident or environment to your immediate supervisor. If, for any reason, you are fearful or uncomfortable with reporting any incident or discussing climate issues with your supervisor, contact the Office of Diversity & Inclusion or a Sexual Harassment Contact.
- Supervisors should contact the Director in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion or a Sexual Harassment Contact individual for assistance in addressing situations reported by employees:
Sexual Harassment Contacts
Visit the following webpage for a complete list of contacts: affirmativeaction.psu.edu/
Following contact with one of the above individuals the process shall be as follows:
- Confidential discussion with employee/employees and Director, Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
- Discussion of possible action plan, recommendations, and alternatives with employee/employees.
- Director in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion discusses situation, plans, and recommendations with appropriate leaders.
- Final action plan may be reviewed with a representative from the Office of Human Resources and/or the Senior Vice President for Finance & Business.
- Implement recommended actions and review action plans with employee/employees.
- Notify employee/employees when corrective action has occurred.
- Schedule follow-up review to verify that the situation is corrected or improved and to assure that there has been no reprisal to any employees in relation to reporting acts of harassment or intolerance.
NOTE: Any action taken will be in compliance with University policies and applicable collective bargaining agreements.
Employees are encouraged to contact the Affirmative Action Office located in 328 Boucke Building, 814-863-0471 or the Office of Ethics & Compliance in 212 Rider Building, 814-867-5088 to discuss situations of intolerance or harassment.