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1.7.4 Equal Employment Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Affirmative Action Policy

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Approved by the President of the University.
Last Updated

Formerly Known As Policy Number: 2.2.1

The policies in this Guide Memo are fundamental to Stanford University's employment policies.

Applicability: This policy applies to all faculty, staff and others who participate in Stanford programs and activities including Stanford affiliates providing services to Stanford such as mentors and volunteers, and other third parties, such as contractors and vendors. Its application includes Stanford programs and activities both on and off-campus, including overseas programs.

1. Equal Employment Opportunity

It is the policy of Stanford University to provide equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees in compliance with all applicable laws. This policy applies in all aspects of the employment relationship including (but not limited to) recruiting, selection, placement, supervision, working conditions, compensation, training, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, and termination. All university personnel policies, procedures, and practices must be administered consistent with the intent of this policy.

2. Protection against Discrimination


Stanford University does not discriminate on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, reproductive health decision-making, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, military status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in connection with any aspect of employment at Stanford.


Harassment on the basis of any legally protected characteristic is a form of discrimination and is likewise prohibited by this university policy. Prohibited harassment occurs if a hostile environment has been created that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to unreasonably interfere with a person's work performance or participation in university activities.

Prohibited harassment may take the form of (but is not limited to) offensive slurs, jokes, and other offensive oral, written, computer-generated, visual or physical conduct which is aimed at an individual or group because of their protected status.

3. Affirmative Action

As a matter of institutional policy and consistent with its obligation as a federal government contractor, Stanford University is committed to principles of diversity and affirmative action, and will comply with all affirmative action requirements in accordance with law.

4. Internal Reporting and Resources

The university encourages any person who believes that they have been discriminated against or harassed in violation of this policy, or observes or is otherwise aware of an incident of discrimination or harassment, to report the incident promptly.

Employees have various options to report discrimination and harassment and are not required to complain directly to their supervisor.  However, a supervisor or manager who receives a complaint of discrimination or harassment, or observes or is otherwise aware of an incident of discrimination or harassment, is required to inform the appropriate university office, as set forth below.

Making a false report or providing false information may be grounds for discipline in the absence of a good faith belief that the report/information is true.

(a) Staff or Applicants (including complaints against staff)

Complaints of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation in violation of this policy can be made to:

Complaints can also be made to any of the following:

Any individual or office who receives a concern about discrimination or harassment relating to staff or applicants should report the concern to University Human Resources, Employee & Labor Relations at or 650-721-4272.

(b) Faculty

Complaints of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation relating to faculty in violation of this policy can be made to the applicable school dean’s office.

Complaints can also be made to any of the following:

(c) Additional Resources

Additional resources provide support and assistance to faculty and staff. Discussion of concerns with the following offices will not constitute “notice” to university[1], nor will it create a record of the concerns with the university:

[1] Unless under limited circumstances. Please see each office’s website for further information about confidentiality.

5. Investigations

The university is committed to promptly and fairly investigating and remediating claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Investigations are conducted as necessary by impartial and qualified personnel and will reach conclusions based on the evidence collected. Unless otherwise required by law, the guideline for investigations to conclude is 90 days; however, this timeline may be extended in some cases, such as complex matters or where there are unforeseen circumstances. Personnel conducting investigations will document and track investigations for reasonable progress and timely closures. If inappropriate conduct or misconduct is found, appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action will be taken. All individuals covered by this policy are expected to fully and truthfully cooperate in the investigation of any claim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Failure to cooperate and/or be truthful in an investigation when requested may be grounds for discipline.

Depending upon an individual's category of employment (e.g., faculty, academic staff, regular staff, postdoctoral scholar, etc.) and the nature of the complaint, applicable grievance or other procedures also may be used to report complaints or to appeal findings of an investigation.

6. Confidentiality

The university recognizes the importance of confidentiality.  Personnel responsible for implementing this policy will respect the confidentiality and privacy of individuals reporting or accused of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation to the extent reasonably possible. Examples of situations where confidentiality cannot be maintained include circumstances when the law requires disclosure of information and/or when disclosure by the university is necessary to protect the safety of others.

7. Protection Against Retaliation

Stanford University policy prohibits retaliation against individuals who raise concerns of perceived discrimination or harassment or who participate in the investigation of any claim of discrimination or harassment. Retaliation is any materially adverse action that would dissuade a reasonable person from making or supporting a claim of harassment or discrimination. Retaliation violates the law and Stanford’s policy. Retaliation can be direct such as changing an employee’s work location, work assignments, pay or schedule, or it can be indirect such as intimidating, threatening, or harassing an employee who has raised a claim or participated as a witness in an investigation. All parties to a concern are prohibited from engaging in intimidating actions directly or indirectly through other persons. 

8. External Reporting

Discrimination, harassment, and retaliation is prohibited by state and federal law. In addition to the internal resources described above, individuals may pursue complaints directly with the government agencies that deal with unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims, e.g., the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and/or the State of California Civil
Rights Department (CRD). A violation of this policy may exist even where the conduct in question does not violate the law.