Prohibition Against Retaliation Policy
Date Enacted or Revised: January 18, 2011; Revised April 17, 2018; March 11, 2022
McNeese State University is committed to maintaining an educational and workplace environment, free of retaliation against persons who, in good faith, complain of discrimination and/or harassment, or who assist or participate in the complaint process. McNeese State University does not discriminate with regard to age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, genetic information, marital status, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation in admission to or employment or participation in its educational programs, services, and activities.
- Complaint: Allegations of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, filed in good faith and in accordance with established procedures.
- Discrimination: Inequitable treatment of an individual based on protected characteristics or status rather than individual merit.
- Harassment: Unwelcome conduct directed against a person based on one or more of a person’s protected characteristics or status which is so severe or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
- Protected Characteristic/Status: Ethnicity, race, color, gender, age, religion, national origin, citizenship, disability, sexual orientation, retirement, genetic information, sex, or veteran status.
- Retaliation: Any adverse action taken against an individual as the result of a complaint of discrimination or harassment or who may participate in an investigation or report of discrimination or harassment.
- Supervisor: Any person who has authority to undertake or recommend tangible employment decisions affecting an employee or academic decisions affecting a student or to direct an employee’s work activities or a student’s academic activities. Examples include faculty members to whom work-study students report and any person who, from time to time, monitor other employees’ performance or direct their work.
The University prohibits retaliation directed against a person for making a complaint or assisting or participating in the complaint process. Retaliation may exist even when the underlying complaint is without merit. In addition, supervisors are responsible for:
- knowing and understanding this policy;
- explaining this policy to persons under their supervision;
- taking appropriate action to prevent retaliation;
- being receptive to concerns and complaints of retaliation; and
- taking appropriate action (in consultation with director of inclusive excellence) when they become aware of potential violations of this policy.
Protected activity covers a wide spectrum of conduct. Generally, this involves taking some action that is permitted or protected by state and/or federal laws. Individuals may state their opposition to a specific practice or activity which they believe constitutes discrimination. Such opposition must be based on reasonable and good faith belief. A person claiming retaliation does not necessarily need to be the person engaged in the opposition. Individuals may participate in an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or litigation without fear of retaliation. Other examples of protected activity include:
- Initiating an internal complaint or report of discrimination or harassment;
- Filing a claim of discrimination;
- Requesting an accommodation for a disability;
- Filing a worker’s compensation claim following a work-related injury;
- Requesting leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act; and
- Filing a safety or environmental related complaint with state and/or federal oversight agencies.
Adverse actions may be general or specific actions. Examples of general adverse actions that may be considered retaliatory are denial of promotion, refusal to hire, denial of job benefits, demotion, suspension, and termination. Other actions may include threats, reprimands, negative evaluations, salary reductions, change in job assignments, harassment, or hostile behavior or attitudes toward the complainant. Other adverse action that may or may not be intentionally motivated, but which results in negative treatment of an individual, can also be considered retaliatory. Post-employment actions that may be considered retaliatory are actions designed to interfere with an individual’s prospects for employment, such as negative job references, and informing prospective employers of the individual’s protected activity. Negative job references do not constitute retaliation unless the reference was based on a retaliatory motive.
A defined process has been established, which includes the specific steps for addressing informal and formal complaints, in the University’s Equity and Inclusion Policy. Anyone who violates the Prohibition Against Retaliation Policy is subject to disciplinary action. Following an appropriate investigation and subject to the procedures which are part of the policies governing the relevant type of appointment at the University, the faculty, student, or staff member may be subject to sanctions, including reprimand, probation, suspension, demotion, reassignment, termination, and expulsion.
Any applicant, employee, or student who experiences any conduct that he or she believes may constitute harassment, discrimination, or retaliation has an obligation to report it. No individual is required to report or make a complaint of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation to the person who is engaging in the problematic conduct. Any individual who becomes aware of any conduct that he or she believes may constitute harassment, discrimination, or retaliation has a similar obligation to report that conduct regardless of whether he or she is personally involved in the conduct and regardless of whether the conduct involves other employees or students, vendors, or others in the work environment.
This policy is intended to be consistent with applicable federal and state laws and University policies. The Office of Inclusive Excellence is responsible for enforcing this policy on behalf of the University and has complaint procedures available.
- This policy establishes a new, stand-alone policy on preventing and addressing retaliation. It is intended to comply with all applicable federal and state laws and University of Louisiana System (ULS) policies pertaining to preventing and addressing retaliation.
- It shall be unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any individual in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his or her having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his or her having aided or encouraged any other individual in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by any federal and state laws and policies applicable to discrimination. Any act of retaliation against an individual who has filed a grievance or participated in the grievance process is prohibited and may result in disciplinary action.
- No person shall discriminate against any individual because such individual has opposed any act or practice made unlawful by federal and state laws and University or University of Louisiana System Board policies applicable to discrimination or because such individual made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing in accordance with Title VII and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Equal Pay Act of 1963; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 As Amended; Sections 501, 503, 504, and 505 of the Rehabilitation Action of 1973; Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008; the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act; the Civil Rights Act of 1991; Title IX Education Amendments of 1972 As Amended; Executive Order EWE 92-7; and KBB2004-54.
- No person shall discriminate against any individual because such individual has opposed any act or practice made unlawful by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended or because such individual made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this Act.
- Any act of retaliation against an individual who has requested an academic adjustment, accommodation, or reasonable accommodation or participated in the academic adjustment, accommodation, or reasonable accommodation process is prohibited and may result in disciplinary action.
- The remedies and procedures available under sections 107, 203, and 308 of the Americans with Disabilities Act shall be available to aggrieved persons for violations of subsections 503 (a) and 503 (b), with respect to Title I, Title II, and Title III, respectively.
- The official records of the University concerning grievances related to academic adjustment, accommodation, or reasonable accommodation requests and related medical information will be kept in the Office of Inclusive Excellence.
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
- Louisiana Executive Order EWE 92-7
- University of Louisiana System, Policy Number: M (12), Preventing and Addressing Retaliation
- Americans with Disabilities Act Statute
This policy is distributed via the Academic Advisory Council and the University Policies webpage.