Equal Opportunity Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the questions to reveal the answers.

Equal opportunity refers to employment or educational practices that ensure there is nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, national ancestry, sex, pregnancy, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, military service or veteran status, mental or physical disability, or genetic information.

Affirmative action is one aspect of efforts to ensure equal opportunity. The purpose of affirmative action programs is to promote fairness and address the effects of past discrimination by encouraging, among other things, targeted outreach efforts to attract underutilized minorities and women.

Diversity refers to human qualities that differ among groups or individuals. Dimensions of diversity include but are not limited to: age, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual orientation, educational background, geographic location, income, marital status, military experience, parental status, religious beliefs, and job classification.

Complainant is the individual, group of people or a unit who raises a concern of wrongdoing, or files a complaint with the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Respondent is the individual, group of people, or a unit against whom a concern is raised or a complaint is filed with the Office of Equal Opportunity.

The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) is the primary office at the University of North Texas responsible for enforcing the University's equal opportunity policies and for investigating complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation. OEO is responsible for advancing and monitoring the university’s affirmative action plan and as part of our efforts to attract underutilized minorities, OEO reviews all faculty employment searches. OEO provides guidance to university managers and supervisors on matters related to protected status.

OEO offers online and in-person training on all university policies related to equal opportunity and discrimination. Currently, OEO offers modules online as well as in-person. The subject matter of the training is detailed below:

  • Preventing Discrimination and Harassment (on-line)
  • Preventing Sexual Misconduct (online/in-person)
  • Faculty Search Committee Training (in-person)
  • Staff Search Committee Training (on demand, in-person)
  • EEO Principles for Supervisors / Managers (in-person)

Other types of training are generally by request, and in consultation with supervisors or managers of units wishing to receive training. If you would like to request training for your unit, please provide detailed information on the EO training request form here.

If you feel that you have been discriminated against or harassed based on membership in a protected class (race, gender, etc.), or retaliated against based on a protected activity (filing a complaint, participating in a complaint investigation, etc.), you may have a legitimate complaint. Therefore, you should provide OEO with a completed Inquiry Form to initiate OEO review of your concerns.

OEO investigates complaints of violations of these policies:

Employment of Individuals with Disabilities/ Workplace Accommodations (05.011)
http://policy.unt.edu/sites/default/files/05.011_EmploymentOfPeopleWithDisabilities_2012_0.pdf
The purpose of these policies is to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to the university’s employment opportunities.

Disability Accommodation for Students and Academic Units Policy (16.001)
https://policy.unt.edu/sites/default/files/16.001_DisabilityAccommodationStudents_2011.pdf

Campus Access for Service and Comfort Animals for People with Disabilities (16.002)
https://policy.unt.edu/sites/default/files/16.002_ServiceComfortAnimals_2014.pdf

Non-Discrimination, Affirmative Action, and Retaliation (16.004)
https://policy.unt.edu/sites/default/files/16.004_NondiscriminationEqualOpportunityAffActionNonretaliation_2013_0.pdf
The purpose of this policy is to ensure a working environment that is free of discrimination on the basis of protected status and retaliation, and to ensure equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.

Sexual Harassment (16.005)
https://policy.unt.edu/sites/default/files/16.005_SexualHarassment_2003.pdf
The purpose of this policy is to ensure an environment free of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that impacts the ability of others to benefit from the university’s employment or educational opportunities.

OEO investigates formal complaints of discrimination on the basis of disability status. However, there are two other offices at the University of North Texas that handle the process for obtaining a reasonable accommodation due to the presence of a disability.

  • University employees may initiate a request for a reasonable accommodation due to a disability by contacting the Human Resources Department or completing the reasonable accommodation request form https://hr.untsystem.edu/employees/forms.
  • Students may register for a reasonable accommodation by contacting the Office of Disability Accommodation https://disability.unt.edu/.

University Ombuds (04.004)
http://policy.unt.edu/sites/default/files/04.004_UniversityOmbuds_2010.pdf
The Office of the Ombuds is a confidential service open to all faculty and staff of the University of North Texas community. The office actively supports a fair, respectful, and safe workplace by providing university employees with a confidential, informal, neutral, and impartial means of preventing or resolving workplace problems, concerns, or disputes. The University Ombuds is not a part of the OEO complaint process, and contacting that office does not put OEO on notice of an issue. The University Ombuds does not make binding decisions, mandate policies, or formally investigate or adjudicate issues for the University.

OEO serves the University of North Texas in Denton. Members of other UNT system components may contact the Human Resources support center at 1-855-878-7650, or by email at, https://hr.untsystem.edu/employees/equal-opportunity.

If you are a student or employee of the UNT Denton campus who feels discriminated against or harassed, please contact OEO at 940-565-2759, by email at oeo@unt.edu, or fill out the OEO Inquiry Form and hand-deliver to Hurley 175 or email it to OEO at oeo@unt.edu.

If a report or complaint is filed with the Office of Equal Opportunity, then OEO will keep the matter private to the extent possible. In certain circumstances, even if the complainant requests that a report not be pursued, OEO will evaluate that request and may not be able to maintain confidentiality because the nature of the complaint is such that OEO must take investigative action.

The university has offered specific guidance regarding confidentiality in sexual assault investigations. Please consult the Sexual Assault Policy for further information. https://policy.unt.edu/sites/default/files/12.005_ProhibitionOfSexualAssaultAndRetaliation_2016.pdf

  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs or activities which receive federal financial assistance.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, age, veterans status, disability, marital status, citizenship, and political affiliation.
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older.
  • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA), which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments.
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government.
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal assistance.

As a supervisor, if you learn about an incident of discrimination or harassment from a member of the university community, including visitors, you are required to immediately report the information to the Office of Equal Opportunity and your direct supervisor. The Office of Equal Opportunity can then determine the most appropriate response depending on the nature of the information you have reported.

If you witness discriminatory or harassing behavior, or you become aware of such behavior, you are strongly encouraged to report the behavior to the Office of Equal Opportunity. The University of North Texas is committed to the elimination and prevention of discrimination and harassment on our campus, and therefore, seeks the assistance of all employees and students to report incidents of harassment and discrimination.

Staff, faculty, administrators, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, research assistants, and other designated university representatives are required to report to the Office of Equal Opportunity incidents of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation that are brought to their attention by others or that are reported to them or witnessed by them.

To initiate a complaint, please complete the OEO Inquiry Form and return the form to OEO. An investigator from our office will contact you and set up a time to meet with you to discuss the nature of your complaint and any concerns you may have that could require an interim measure. If OEO determines that you have a viable discrimination or harassment complaint, the investigator will proceed with interviewing witnesses and Respondents in your case. The final determination n your complaint will be shared with you in an investigative report. For more information regarding OEO’s investigative process please go to https://edo.unt.edu/oeo-investigative-procedure.

During the investigative process OEO may ask to interview the complainant, respondent, and/or witnesses identified in the complaint. In order for OEO to conduct a fair and through investigation it is imperative that the parties involved provide their account of the incident in their own words. The university does not permit legal counsel in OEO’s investigative process, specifically during interviews. As such, participants represented by legal counsel will have to make a decision as to whether they are willing to proceed with OEO’s investigative process.

When OEO has concluded its investigation, the Complainant and Respondent will receive written notification, and a copy of the investigative report. In addition, copies of the investigative report will be provided to the Respondent’s supervisor and to the supervisor of the academic or administrative unit which employs the Respondent. These individuals are directly responsible for implementing measures to correct and prevent discriminatory or retaliatory conditions.

The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the University’s efforts to comply with the federal law: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including, but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, and different treatment on the basis of sex/gender. If you have any questions regarding Title IX or would like to file a complaint involving sexual misconduct please contact UNT’s Title IX Coordinator at 940-565-2759, by email at oeo@unt.edu, or by submitting an OEO Inquiry Form