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Frequently Asked Questions

Who Are We?

We are an independent, autonomous committee of 15 members representing various groups at the university. Upon recommendation of the Working Group, the senate approves a 3-year term of office. Our members participate voluntarily, however their activities are a part of their regular working hours.

Who can request our services?

Everyone employed at the university who feels he/she has been treated unfairly due to sex, ethnicity, religion, personal convictions, age, or due to his/her sexual orientation. We also encourage those who feel harassed (for example, those subject to blond or gay jokes, belittling comments on how women should only serve coffee, etc., mobbing) and, of course, men or women who feel they are being sexually harassed, to contact us.
Also, university employees who wish to prevent discrimination or avoid infringements on legal regulations in advance are encouraged to contact us.

What Can We Do?

We offer confidential and anonymous advising and counseling services. If a decision made at the university is deemed discriminatory or in violation of university’s plan for the advancement of women, the Working Group will contact and involve an Arbitration Committee. Enforcement of the said decision is null and void until the Arbitration Committee reviews the case and renders a decision.

What is Discrimination?

Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their actual or perceived association to a certain group or category, such as a person’s race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, personal convictions, religion, age and sexual orientation.

What is Direct Discrimination?

Direct discrimination is the intended or unintended disparate and unfavorable treatment of someone based on a personal characteristic protected by law. An example of direct discrimination would be a case in which a woman is not promoted because she is pregnant or a person fails to get a job based on the color of his/her skin and not based on merit.

What Does Indirect Discrimination Mean?

Indirect discrimination is where a person imposes, or proposes to impose, a requirement, condition or practice that has, or is likely to have, the effect of disadvantaging people with a protected attribute, and that is not reasonable. An example of indirect discrimination would be if someone working part-time would earn less that someone working full-time as in general, more women than men tend to work part-time and women would primarily be affected negatively.

What is Discrimination by Association?

Discrimination by association is when someone has been discriminated or retaliated against because an association or relationship with another individual. For example, cases in which an employee is not promoted because his/her partner is of a different race.

What is Harassment? Is Harassment a Form of Discrimination?

The law clearly states that harassment is a form of discrimination. The law defines harassment as offensive behavior that creates a negative working environment or negatively affects someone’s career. Unwelcome actions cause the employee to feel he or she is working in a hostile environment and the employee considers the behavior objectionable, inappropriate and offensive. This includes reinforcing negative stereotypes and expressions such as “blonde jokes”, “women are technically inept” and ethnically related, derogatory name-calling, such as referring to someone of African descent as “Neger”. This also includes non-verbal expressions and behavior such as e-mails, photos, etc. of the act(s) in question.

What is Mobbing? Is Mobbing a Form of Discrimination?

Mobbing, also referred to as workplace bullying, is “conflict-laden communication with colleagues between a supervisor and employee in a working environment.” The important aspect is that the person doing the bullying is someone in a superior or supervisory position and the person being affected is the target of perpetual abuse by others in the workplace. Situations considered “mobbing” include when someone is continually left “out of the loop” on purpose in regards to workplace information and/or there is constant “talking behind someone’s back”. If mobbing is based on a certain trait or characteristic, then it is a form of discrimination.

Is Sexual Harassment a Form of Discrimination?

Discrimination by sexual harassment is when unwanted and offensive sexually related behavior creates a negative working environment or impedes one’s career. Unwelcome actions cause the employee to feel he or she is working in a hostile environment and the employee considers the behavior objectionable, inappropriate and offensive. Those affected by sexual harassment may consider behavior such as “cat call” whistles, brazen and raunchy “compliments”, a clear request for sexual favors, and “random touching” as sexual harassment.

What Does “Equal Opportunity” Mean?

Equal opportunity between men and women is the absence of discrimination and same treatment of a person despite race, religion, sex, color, or nationality. Equal opportunity can be attained with the help of programs, courses of action, affirmative action measures, etc.

 


What is a Field for the Advancement of Women

Fields for the advancement for women are considered fields that are traditionally male-dominated and where women are considered a minority. Women are considered a minority when the number of women in employment or enrolled as students is less than 40%. This includes hierarchy levels, areas of operation and management, human resource fields, organizational units and degree programs. According to the B-GlBG, women are considered a minority when less than 50% make up the whole.