Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy

Policy Statement

Brandeis University is committed to providing its students, faculty and staff with an environment conducive to learning and working and where all people are treated with respect and dignity. Toward that end, it is essential that Brandeis be free from discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, ancestry, religious creed, gender identity and expression, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, genetic information, disability, military or veteran status or any other category protected by law (also known as membership in a "protected class").

It is the University's responsibility to help prevent harassment and discrimination from occurring, to pursue concerns of which it is aware, to objectively investigate concerns, and to take immediate and appropriate action to remedy instances of harassment and discrimination. Brandeis takes this responsibility seriously. Therefore, violations of this policy will not be tolerated and may result in corrective action up to and including release from employment.

Certain conduct described below may also violate the University's Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Policy (PDF) and/or Sexual Harassment Policy (PDF). Any allegation filed under this policy will be reviewed under those policies as well.


This policy applies to all Brandeis employees.


Understanding Discrimination

Discrimination in employment is defined as taking adverse action against someone or treating someone differently in the terms and conditions of their employment or their education based on their membership in a protected class.

Prohibited conduct includes:

  • Refusing to hire
  • Terminating, discharging, or laying off
  • Demoting, transferring to a less desirable position, or refusing to promote
  • Paying lower wages or giving fewer benefits, or discriminating in any other term or condition of employment
  • Denying admission or financial assistance
  • Excluding from educational programs, activities or opportunities, or discriminating in any other term or condition of education

Understanding Harassment

Harassment based on an individual's membership in a protected class is a form of discrimination and will not be tolerated. It is regarded as harassment when conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person's education or work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or offensive environment in which to work, study or live; or otherwise adversely affects a person's employment or educational opportunities.

Examples of Harassment/Discrimination

Depending on the circumstances, the following are examples of behaviors that may constitute harassment/discrimination under this policy. This is not an exhaustive list:

  • Jokes, comments or innuendoes that make fun of, denigrate or are based on an individual's or group's protected class status;
  • Epithets or slurs based on an individual's or group's protected class status;
  • Objects, posters, cartoons or pictures which make fun of, denigrate or are based on an individual's or group's protected class status whether directed to an individual, placed on University premises or displayed or circulated on campus; Brandeis University
  • Displaying, sending, forwarding, downloading or otherwise distributing materials via the internet, computer, or email that make fun of, denigrate or are based on protected class status;
  • Other verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion towards an individual or group based on protected class status.

When a complaint is filed, the University will determine whether this policy has been violated based on consideration of the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged conduct. The University may take action on conduct that it deems to be inappropriate, regardless of whether it rises to the level of a violation of law.

Management and Faculty Responsibility

It is the responsibility of faculty, managers, and supervisors to be aware of actions that constitute harassment and discrimination and to demonstrate unwillingness to tolerate such actions, including taking appropriate action to maintain an environment free from harassment or discrimination. Managers and supervisors who witness or are made aware of allegations of harassment or discrimination are required to promptly report such allegations to the University's Vice President for Human Resources or the Director of Employee Relations, Labor Relations and Compliance.

Reporting Concerns

Concerning Staff or Faculty

Brandeis encourages the reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination or harassment. Concerns about harassment or discrimination by a faculty or staff member (including visiting faculty, post-doctoral fellows, or graduate students acting in an Instructional capacity) should be brought to the attention of the Vice President for Human Resources or the Director of Employee Relations, Labor Relations and Compliance.

Concerns about third parties, such as vendors, should also be directed to these individuals. These individuals, or their designees, are available to provide guidance in managing the concern, for help with informal resolution, for filing a complaint, and for reviewing complaints that require more in-depth fact-finding.

Concerning Students and Graduate Students

For guidance and/or to file a complaint against undergraduate or graduate students contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 781-736-3546.

Problem Resolution

In the case of harassment or discrimination, the Office of Human Resources and the Office of the Dean of Students, as appropriate to the situation, are available to assist in this process. If the individual(s) involved wish to file a complaint or if, in the judgment of Human Resources staff, the matter requires further fact-finding or review, claims will be investigated and resolved by that office. The investigation and resolution process is outlined in the Non-Discrimination and Harassment Problem Resolution and Appeal Procedure.


Brandeis policy, as well as federal and state law, prohibits retaliation against any person who in good faith initiates a complaint of harassment or discrimination or cooperates in the investigation of a complaint of harassment or discrimination. Retaliation may result in corrective action up to and including dismissal from school or termination of employment.

False Claims

A determined that an individual falsified a claim of harassment or discrimination may result in corrective actions up to and including dismissal from school or release from employment.

State and Federal Employment Discrimination Agencies

Brandeis University is committed to a harassment and discrimination-free environment and encourages individuals to bring their concerns to the attention of the University. It is an individual's right, however, to file a formal complaint with either or both of the government agencies set forth below. Using the University complaint process does not prohibit anyone from filing a complaint with these agencies. Each of the agencies has a short period for filing a claim from the date of the harassment (EEOC - 300 days; MCAD - 300 days).

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
John F. Kennedy Federal Building Room 475
Government Center
Boston, Massachusetts 02203

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
One Ashburton Place, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108

436 Dwight Street, Room 220
Springfield, MA O1103


Download a PDF of the Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy.


This policy is for general guidance only. It does not create an employment contract or any right to continued employment at Brandeis University. Brandeis University reserves the right to modify, revoke, suspend, terminate and/or change any and all policies and procedures at any time, with or without notice. Office of Human Resources Rev. 03/2018