Retaliation as defined by the University means any materially adverse action threatened or taken against a person because an individual has filed, supported or provided information in connection with a complaint of discrimination and/or sexual misconduct, including but not limited to direct and indirect intimidation, threats and harassment.

An “adverse action” is any conduct or action that would dissuade a reasonable person from reporting an allegation of discrimination and/or sexual misconduct, or participating in an investigation of discrimination and/or sexual misconduct. Retaliation protections extend to witnesses and those who report a concern as a third party.

A materially adverse action must be significant (not trivial). The following actions are examples:

  • Demoting an employee
  • Terminating an employee
  • Giving underserved lower grades
  • Terminating student status
  • Denying renewal of funding
  • Denying tenure
  • Denying promotion or reassigning an employee to a job with significantly negative changes in job duties

Inconveniences, minor annoyances, or even alteration of job responsibilities are not necessarily materially adverse actions. Each situation must be individually reviewed based on all of the circumstances.

The Office of Equity (OE) can investigate allegations of retaliation in the same way the OE investigates underlying concerns of sexual misconduct, discrimination, and harassment. A determination of whether an action is materially adverse is made on a case-by-case basis.

Learn more about the University's retaliation obligations for each respective policy within the University Policies and Procedures section of our website.