Frequently Asked Questions

No. Federal law specifically prohibits quotas. An Affirmative Action Plan sets forth placement goals. OHSU annually reviews its workforce and compares it to census data to assess whether the workforce is underutilized for minorities and/or women. If underutilization is found, placement goals such as broader recruitment efforts, are made to correct the situation.

2. Does affirmative action result in reverse discrimination?

No. Such a statement infers that women and minorities are less qualified than white males. Affirmative action attempts to ensure that the workforce includes qualified women and minorities in proportion to their statistical availability.

3. Who does AAEO serve?

AAEO serves employees, students, faculty, employment applicants, patients and vendors.

4. Who can I contact if my problem does not fit into the

    prohibited discrimination categories?

AAEO's investigations focus on prohibited discrimination and harassment. If your complaint does not involve prohibited discrimination or harassment, your complaint may be directed to:


OHSU Human Resources
OHSU Integrity Department
Department of Patient Relations

5. Are there resources available to me other than AAEO?

6. What makes a work environment hostile?

A work or learning environment is "hostile" when unwelcome verbal, non-verbal, or physical behavior of a prohibited nature is severe or pervasive enough to unreasonably interfere with an employee's work or a student's learning, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment to a "reasonable person." More about hostile work environment...

7. What is prohibited discrimination and harassment?

In general, prohibited discrimination and harassment is any verbal, visual, physical, or any other kind of conduct that is connected with an individual based on prohibited grounds, such as race, gender, sexual orientation or religion, and impacts the terms or conditions of employment or receipt of services or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. More about prohibited discrimination and harassment...

8. Who should I turn to if I have experienced prohibited


OHSU encourages any individual who believes s/he has experienced prohibited discrimination or harassment to come forward promptly. Concerns regarding discrimination may be brought to: the manager or department head most directly concerned, excluding the person accused; any academic or administrative official of OHSU including, but not limited to, the president, a vice president, university counsel, the provost or a vice provost, a dean, a chair, the director of human resources, a director, or a manager; the Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity Department (AAEO); the Human Resources Department; Academic Affairs; and the Patient Advocate.

For more Equal Opportunity policy information, see OHSU Policy No. 03-05-030. Prohibited discrimination issues should be referred to AAEO.

9. Is prohibited discrimination a problem in academic health


Prohibited discrimination and harassment may exist in every segment of society, including academic health centers. Fear of ridicule, retaliation, guilt and a sense of hopelessness may cause victims not to report the discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

10. Do people invite prohibited discrimination by their dress

      and behavior?

The cause of prohibited discrimination and harassment often is an assertion of hostility or an abuse of power. Generally, people do not "invite" prohibited discrimination and harassment. Inappropriate dress or sexual behavior should be dealt with in a responsible manner.

11. Is it possible for people at the same level to harass or

      discriminate against each other?

Yes. Prohibited discrimination and harassment can take place at all levels including student-to-student and coworker-to-coworker situations.

12. Do I have to tell someone that they offended me before I

      can file a complaint?

No. The complainant is not required to confront the alleged harasser. However, when a complainant is able to do so, it is often helpful to advise the alleged harasser that the behavior is unwelcome and request that it stop.

13. What if I was only joking around and did not intend to

      offend anyone?

It does not matter what you intended. If your behavior is offensive to a reasonable person in the position of the complainant, it may constitute prohibited discrimination and/or harassment.

14. Can jokes or pictures sent via email constitute prohibited


Yes. Additionally, it is never appropriate to use OHSU resources, such as computers, to disseminate pornographic materials, jokes regarding protected classes, sexually explicit images, etc.

15. What should I do if I witness prohibited discrimination?

Consider speaking up and voicing your objection to the offensive behavior. Lend your support to the victim and report to your manager. Report incidents of prohibited discrimination and harassment to AAEO.

16. If a manager hears about alleged prohibited

     discrimination, should the manager

     investigate it on his or her own?

In some cases, this may be appropriate. However, the manager or supervisor should contact AAEO for guidance and advice. AAEO maintains a record of prior complaints brought to its attention and is charged with tracking incidents and ensuring they are addressed in an appropriate manner.

17. What should I do if I want the harassment to stop, but I

      don’t want to get the harasser into trouble?

This is a common concern. In order to stop the offensive behavior, someone needs to know it is occurring. It is best to let your manager or AAEO, know about the situation. Sometimes people do not want the harasser to get into trouble because they fear retaliation. Be assured that retaliation is strictly prohibited by OHSU policy. AAEO cannot make promises regarding the outcome of a matter as every situation is different and must to be evaluated individually. Once an investigation is complete, if the allegations are substantiated, appropriate remedial action will be taken.

18. What if I am aware of prohibited discrimination and the

      complainant does not want to pursue a complaint?

If you are a manager, contact AAEO for assistance and do not promise confidentiality. If you are not a manager, you are encouraged to report the complaint to your manager and to AAEO. Additionally, concerns can be reported anonymously to the Integrity department hotline at 877-733-8313.

19. Can managers be held personally liable for prohibited

      discrimination among people they supervise?

Yes. A manager can be held personally liable if he or she knew or should have known that the prohibited discrimination and/or harassment occurred and failed to take immediate and appropriate action.

20. What protection is offered against retaliation?

Retaliation for complaining about prohibited discrimination and harassment and/or  participating in an investigation process is strictly prohibited by OHSU policy. Individuals with concerns regarding retaliation should contact AAEO immediately.