Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation


As defined by the CSU Nondiscrimination Policy, discrimination means adverse action1 taken against a Complainant because of a protected status2.  


As defined by the CSU Nondiscrimination Policy, harassment means unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct engaged in because of a complainant’s protected status2 that is sufficiently severe or pervasive so that its effect, whether or not intended, could be considered by a reasonable person in the shoes of the complainant, and is in fact considered by the complainant, as limiting their ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by the university.

If a complainant is harassed because of their protected status, that means the complainant's status is a substantial motivating reason (but not necessarily the only reason) for the conduct.

Harassment includes, but is not limited to, verbal harassment (e.g., epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs), physical harassment (e.g., assault, impeding or blocking movement, or any physical interference with normal work or movement), and visual forms of harassment (e.g., derogatory posters, cartoons, drawings, symbols, or gestures.)


As defined by the CSU Nondiscrimination Policy, retaliation means that a substantial motivating reason for an adverse action1 taken against a person was because the person has or is believed to have:

  1. Exercised rights under this Nondiscrimination Policy;
  2. Reported or opposed conduct which was reasonably and in good faith believed to be in violation of this Nondiscrimination Policy;
  3. Assisted or participated in a policy-related investigation/proceeding regardless of whether the complaint was substantiated; or,
  4. Assisted someone in reporting or opposing a violation of this Nondiscrimination Policy, or assisted someone in reporting or opposing retaliation under this Nondiscrimination Policy.

Retaliation may occur whether or not there is a power or authority differential between the individuals involved.

1Adverse Action: is an action engaged in by the Respondent that has a substantial and material adverse effect on the complainant’s ability to participate in a university program, activity, or employment. Minor or trivial actions or conduct not reasonably likely to do more than anger or upset a complainant does not constitute an adverse action. An adverse action is any conduct or employment action that is reasonably likely to impair an employee's job performance or prospects for advancement of promotion.

2Protected Status: includes age, disability (physical or mental), gender (or sex), genetic information, gender identity (including transgender), gender expression, marital status, medical condition, nationality, race or ethnicity (including color, caste, or ancestry), religion or religious creed, sexual orientation, and veteran or military status.