9: Equal Employment Opportunity

Swarthmore College does not discriminate in education or employment on the basis of the following protected categories: sex, race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital status, medical condition, veteran status, disability, or any other legally protected category.

Swarthmore College supports equal employment opportunity, not just because it's the law but because we recognize that the College's present and future strength is based primarily on people, their skills, experience, and potential to develop.

Notices about equal employment opportunity are posted for your information at the Human Resources Office, 110 Pearson Hall.

Swarthmore's Non Discrimination Commitment

Swarthmore College, through hiring supervisors and responsible officials — in compliance with equal employment opportunity obligations and in accordance with federal and state regulations will recruit, hire, compensate, train, and promote persons in all job titles without regard to sex, race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital status, medical condition, veteran status, disability, or any other legally protected category.

All personnel actions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, layoff, return from layoff, College sponsored training, education, tuition assistance, and social and recreational programs, are administered without regard to sex, race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital status, medical condition, veteran status, disability, or any other legally protected category.

Employment decisions will be based on job requirements within the context of equal employment opportunity, consistent with the College's goal of sustaining a diverse and exceptional staff. The College is committed to actively recruiting and retaining such a workforce.


Equal Opportunity Officer

The College's equal opportunity officer reports directly to the president and has responsibility for monitoring the equal employment and educational opportunity compliance of the College and assisting with application and interpretation of laws that impose special obligations on the College.

The equal opportunity officer is available to consult with both supervisors and staff members about matters they believe might involve issues of discrimination. The EO officer also serves as the College's investigator regarding complaints or aspects of complaints that may arise that involve questions of prohibited discrimination. The EO officer may enlist the support of the employee relations officer or a trained outside investigator during the investigation process.


Equal Opportunity Advisory Committee

The Equal Opportunity Advisory Committee (EOAC) is a standing committee of the College, advisory to the president. It includes representatives from the faculty, staff, and student body appointed by the president. The charge of the EOAC is to support the EO officer by ensuring and monitoring the equal opportunity in the College's implementation of educational and employment programs.


Prohibition of Sexual and Discriminatory Harassment

It is the policy of Swarthmore College to provide an academic and employment environment free from any form of sexual or discriminatory harassment including harassment by speech or other expression, by action, or by combination thereof. This policy applies to all College employees and support personnel and to all College students.

The College expressly prohibits any form of discrimination and harassment that is based on any protected classification including sex, race, color, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital status, medical condition, veteran status, or disability in any decision regarding admissions, employment, and subsequent treatment of students and employees in accordance with the letter and spirit of federal, state, and local non-discrimination and equal opportunity laws.

The College seeks to create an environment in which the maximum academic potential of students and professional potential of employees can be realized. In keeping with its efforts to create such an environment, the College recognizes that all who work and learn at the College are responsible for ensuring that the work and academic environment is free from discriminatory practices, including sexual harassment. Therefore, unreasonably offensive conduct that is brought forward may be considered grounds for discipline. The unreasonably offensive behavior does not need to be expressly prohibited in this policy, nor does it need to qualify as unlawful harassment for action to be taken. Because some prohibited behavior within this policy may also be a violation of law, any individual who feels that she or he has been subjected to illegal harassment has the right to initiate legal proceedings in criminal or civil court in addition to or in lieu of a complaint pursuant to this policy.

Discriminatory harassment is unwelcome verbal, physical or visual conduct, relating to a protected classification, which has the unreasonable purpose or effect of severely and pervasively interfering with an individual's or a group of individuals' ability to participate in all and any aspect of academic, professional, or residential campus life. Examples include but are not limited to: (i) epithets, slurs, or threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; (ii) written or graphic material whether displayed on the College's campus or while away on College business that reflects hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of their protected classification.

Specifically, sexual harassment in the law is a form of discrimination based on sex or gender. Swarthmore College also finds that harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression is also a form of sexual harassment for purposes of the College's policies. There are two basic types of sexual harassment:

  1. Quid Pro Quo Harassment is any action in which submission to conduct of a sexual nature is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's education or employment, or in which submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual. This type of harassment in most cases does not need to be repeated to be deemed sexual harassment.
  2. Hostile Environment Harassment is any unwelcome action, verbal expression, usually repeated or persistent, or a series of actions or expressions that have either the intent, or are reasonably perceived as having the effect, of creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning educational, employment, or living environment for a student or College employee, either by being sexual in nature or by focusing on a person's gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. An intimidating, hostile, or demeaning environment is defined as one that is so severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive that it unreasonably interferes with a person's ability to learn, exist in living conditions, work (if employed by the College), or have access and opportunity to participate in all and any aspect of academic, professional, or residential campus life.

Some specific examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: unwelcome verbal or physical advances, persistent leers, and lewd comments; the persistent use of sex stereotypes or irrelevant references or remarks about a person's gender, sexuality or sexual orientation that insult or degrade; and manipulation of an authority relationship to coerce (not necessarily involving physical force) or influence another person to do something of a sexual nature that she/he would not otherwise do. Well intentioned but unwelcome remarks, when repeated, about a person's personality or appearance might be interpreted as sexually suggestive. Such remarks are particularly objectionable when they interfere with the purposes of the relationship and reasonably result in feelings of confusion, uncertainty, or discomfort for the person who is the object of the remarks.


Options for Resolution

If expression that would be regarded as harassing if directed at an individual is targeted at a group — though no individuals are specifically named or referred to as targets — any member of the group may bring a complaint if it can be established that a reasonable person would have regarded the offending expression as being in violation of this policy.

If a work related situation arises in which a staff member believes he or she may have been discriminated against in decisions or actions related to his or her employment or if a staff member believes he or she has been the victim of sexual or discriminatory harassment, he or she may seek review through Swarthmore's internal discrimination grievance review process, described fully in the next chapter.

Before filing a complaint, the staff member may consult informally with the equal opportunity officer for advice or possible informal resolution of the perceived problem. Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary for the EO officer to conduct some follow up with or without the grievant's consent. If the individual wishes to file a complaint, he or she may initiate a grievance review by filling out a complaint form available through Human Resources or from the equal opportunity officer.


Individuals with Disabilities

Swarthmore is committed to equal opportunity and access for people with disabilities. In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and the ADA Amendment Act Swarthmore does not exclude otherwise qualified persons with disabilities from participating in employment opportunities and College programs and activities.

Congress passed the ADA in 1990 in an effort to remove barriers that prevent people with disabilities from having access to goods, services, and employment opportunities. The ADA Amendment Act, passed in 2008, provided clarification of the regulations and extended protection under thelaw to petentially more indivduals. Complying with the ADA and the ADA Amendment Act helps Swarthmore achieve its goal of offering employment opportunities to all qualified individuals and helps tap an under-utilized employee population.

The ADA and ADA Amendment Act provide protection for the person with a disability from discrimination in any employment action and requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations to aid the individual to perform the essential duties of the job.

The law defines a person as disabled if he or she:

  • has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one of life's major activities, such as walking, hearing, etc., or
  • has a record or history of such an impairment, or
  • is regarded as having such impairment

In addition, a person who is associated with someone with a disability is protected from employment discrimination based on unwarranted assumptions (e.g., that the person will have to miss work to care for the disabled individual).

The law defines essential job functions as those fundamental tasks of a job, reasonably defined by the employer; and reasonable accommodations as those changes in facilities or policies that enable an otherwise qualified person to perform the essential job functions. An accommodation is considered reasonable and is required if it effectively allows the person to perform the essential job tasks, while not placing an undue hardship on the employer.

The ADA and ADA Amendment Act provide protection for the employer from making accommodations that are unreasonable or detrimental, operationally or fiscally. The employer is not required to create a position as an accommodation or to shift duties from the person with a disability to another staff member resulting in an increased workload for that staff member.

College Practice

The College's position is to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with a disability or serious medical condition as needed to perform the essential duties of their position. The process of determining a reasonable accommodation involves a dialogue between the individual and the College to consider various possible accommodations. Working together the employee, the supervisor and the Employee Relations Manager come to a decision about the most appropriate and reasonable accommodation.

Illnesses that are progressive may require accommodations beyond those made initially. The College remains ready to continue reasonable accommodations if an illness progresses and further accommodations are required for the employee to continue doing the essential functions of the position.

Should an illness progress to a stage where an individual can no longer perform the essential functions of her job with accommodations, the College would work with the individual to apply for other suitable positions as appropriate.

Supervisors should contact Human Resources for assistance if questions arise about an employee with a disability whether about the need for an accommodation or in relation to any employment action she may be considering.

Seeking Assistance

Employees are not required to identify themselves as having a disability; self identification is strictly voluntary. However, if an employee with a disability or serious medical condition needs an accommodation or other assistance, she can contact the Employee Relations Manager in Human Resources. If an accommodation is requested, the ER manager will arrange for a dialogue with the supervisor to determine the most reasonable accommodation and review other policies with the employee that may be pertinent to her situation, i.e., leave benefits, FMLA, confidentiality, Employee Assistance Program.

If a work related situation arises in which a staff member believes he or she may have been discriminated against in decisions or actions related to his or her disability or serious medical condition, he or she may seek review through Swarthmore's internal discrimination grievance review process, described fully in Chapter Ten. The employee can contact the College's Equal Opportunity Officer for assistance as needed.

Physical Access

Swarthmore College seeks to provide an accessible and hospitable learning and working environment for all, while ensuring full compliance with federal and state regulations. Our community welcomes and encourages persons with disabilities to participate in our programs and activities as faculty, staff, students, and as visitors to the College.

The College is developing its Physical Access Plan to address accessibility issues campus-wide. The Plan lists items to be addressed with an approximate timeline. To receive further details on any aspect of the Plan, please contact Susan Smythe, ADA Program Manager at , ext. 2063 or visit the Accessibility Web page.

Emergency Evacuation Procedure for Faculty, Staff and Students with Disabilities

Swarthmore College is committed to providing equal access to safe egress for any visitor or member of the community including additional assistance if required, to effectively alert, evacuate, and/or shelter them during an emergency.

To be successful in providing this assistance, the Emergency Evacuation Procedures (EEP) require the cooperation of every member of the College community. Emergency protocols are explained on the Public Safety Web site. Some members of the community are specially trained to identify and assist persons who may need aid in an emergency.

This emergency evacuation plan has been reviewed by and is on file with the Swarthmore College Department of Public Safety and the Borough of Swarthmore Police Department.

Personal Emergency Plans (PEPs) for Persons with Disabilities

Although the process of developing a Personal Emergency Plan is optional for students and staff, the College encourages proactive planning on the part of the entire college community for emergency conditions. Individuals with disabilities may require additional assistance with alerting, evacuating, and sheltering in the event of an emergency.

The College offers the opportunity, through a confidential process, to develop a PEP that could include such strategies as storing extra equipment or medications, providing Public Safety with your class and personal schedule, specific evacuation procedures, sheltering procedures, volunteer rescue assistants, using an optional Personal GPS Locator, and designating means of communication in the event of an emergency. The process begins by completing an Emergency Evacuation Referral Form which can be found on the Accessability and Human Resources Web sites which can be reached from the College's dashboard for faculty and staff.

Self-Identification with the College

As part of the new-hire orientation process, all new faculty and staff are asked if they might need assistance in an emergency evacuation. If they answer yes, they are given an Emergency Evacuation Referral Form. Once a year, an inquiry is made of all faculty and staff regarding the need for emergency evacuation assistance. Supervisors may also ask an employee who has self-identified as disabled or has a known or obvious disability if he or she will require assistance in the event of an emergency.

All employees, including faculty, other academic personnel and staff must return the Emergency Evacuation Referral Form in confidence to:
Zenobia Hargust
Human Resources Office

Qualified Applicants with Disabilities

Applicants are not required to identify themselves as having a disability; self identification is strictly voluntary. The job related skills and experience of all applicants should be evaluated without regard to disability or any accommodations that may be necessary. The ADA defines a person with a disability as "qualified" for a position if he or she is able to perform the essential job functions with or without reasonable accommodations.

Decisions about accommodations or undue hardship must be made on a case by case basis. Supervisors should contact Human Resources for assistance if questions arise about an applicant with a disability.


Accommodating Religious Practices

Swarthmore reasonably accommodates the religious practices of employees or prospective employees unless doing so would create undue hardship or safety hazards, and as long as such practices do not unreasonably disrupt the College's operations or interfere with coworkers or others with whom the individual comes in contact. If questions arise about the accommodation of religious practices or religious dress, supervisors should contact Human Resources before taking action.

Service Animal Policy

In compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendment Act, Swarthmore provides access for people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the campus that are open to the public or to students.

A service animals is defined as an animal that is individually trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability. Common tasks performed by a service animal are: guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, fetching items, alerting people with autism to distracting, repetitive movements. Most service animals are dogs, but other animals may also be service animals. An animal does not have to be licensed or certified as a service animal.

Staff who use a service animal should contact the Employee Relations (ER) Manager in Human Resources to register as an individual with a disability with a service animal. The ER Manager will review documentation of the disability and discuss appropriate accommodations including the assistance of the service animal.

Documentation required for the service animal includes:

  • the service animal must be registered in compliance with state and/or local laws, and
  • immunization records must be current and include rabies; the service animal must wear vaccination tags at all times.

Health, Control of and Hygiene/Cleanliness

The health, control of and hygiene of the service animal are the responsibility of their partner/handler. The service animal must be in good health. The service animal's partner/handler will be asked to leave the campus if the service animal is found to be ill.

The service animal must be on a leash or in a harness and under the control of their partner/handler at all times. The service animal must not engage in unacceptable behavior. If an animal does so, the partner/handler is expected to use proper training techniques to correct the behavior. Repeated occurrences may result in the service animal being temporarily barred from the building(s) until significant steps (such as additional training) are taken to mitigate the behavior.

The partner/handler is responsible for keeping the service animal clean and well-groomed to keep animal odor to a minimum. Adequate flea preventions and control must be maintained. If the service animal's odor is offensive to other individuals the partner/handler will be directed to bathe the service animal prior to returning to the building(s). Repeated occurrences may result in the service animal being temporarily banned from the building(s) until steps are taken to comply with the hygiene requirements.

The partner/handler must clean up after the animal, unless he/she is unable to do so because of a disability. If a disability prevents the partner/handler from cleaning up after the service animal, this information must be provided to the ER manager when registering the service animal.

Guidelines for Faculty and Staff

It is common that some community members may want to interact with the service animal. However, this may have the effect of distracting the service animal. You are asked to follow the simple guidelines below for the safety and well-being of the service animal and the partner/handler.

  • Remember that the service animal is a working animal.
  • Allow the service animal to accompany the partner/handler at all times.
  • Do not pet the service animal. This will distract it from its work.
  • Do not feed the service animal.
  • Do not deliberately startle the service animal.
  • Do not call the service animal or try to get the service animal's attention.
  • Do not attempt to separate a service animal from its handler.