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Equal Employment Opportunity

Notice of Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity | Non-Retaliation | Equal Opportunity Officer | Individuals with Disabilities | Accommodating Religious Practices | Assistance Animals

Notice of Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity

Swarthmore College is committed to the principle of equal opportunity for all qualified persons without unlawful discrimination. The College expressly prohibits any form of unlawful discrimination or harassment on the basis of any applicable federal, state, local, or College-recognized protected classification, including sex, race, color, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital/familial status, medical condition, genetic information or characteristics, veteran status, or disability in any decision regarding admissions, employment, or involvement in a College program or activity in accordance with the letter and spirit of federal, state, and local non-discrimination and equal opportunity laws, such as Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, The Americans with Disabilities Act and ADA Amendments Act, The Equal Pay Act, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, and the Borough of Swarthmore Ordinance on Non-Discrimination.

In keeping with the long-standing traditions of the College and the spirit and letter of the federal and state equal opportunity laws, it is the standing policy of the College to realize equality of opportunity in education and employment, and to guard against unlawful discrimination contrary to that aim. Swarthmore College, as an educational community, will promptly and equitably respond to all reports of discrimination and harassment based on a protected classification in order to eliminate the unlawful discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects on any individual or the community. Consistent with maintaining an educational program of the highest quality, our standing policy includes affirmative efforts to achieve these goals in employment and education.

To file a discrimination complaint, visit the Notice of Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity webpage for contact information.


Swarthmore prohibits retaliation against anyone who makes a good faith effort to appropriately disclose perceived wrongdoing, and the College makes every effort to redress such situations. In all cases, members of the community should report their concerns when they feel they are being subjected to unethical, illegal, or unsafe activities, or when they become aware of such activities going on at the College.

The Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity policy has been and shall be further implemented by the President and by members of the faculty and administration designated by the President for that purpose. (Adapted from the “Statement of Equal Opportunity,” which was adopted by the Board of Managers 1 March 1975, with amendments 24 April 1976, 3 December 1977, 7 December 1985, and 5 March 2007.)

Equal Opportunity Officer

The College's Equal Opportunity Officer (“EO Officer”) and Deputy Title IX Coordinator 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 EO Officer is available to consult with staff members and students about matters they believe might involve issues of discrimination. The EO Officer also oversees staff investigations regarding complaints of prohibited discrimination, and may enlist the support of the Public Safety investigators or another trained investigator during the investigation process. The EO Officer may also support faculty and student investigations of prohibited discrimination as appropriate. To contact the EO Officer, visit the Notice of Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity page for contact information.

The College’s Title IX Coordinator oversees complaints of all forms of sexual misconduct at the College. The EO Officer also serves as a Deputy Title IX Coordinator and responds to sex-based complaints that will be addressed by the College’s Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy’s Procedures for Resolution of Complaints against staff and instructional staff, including faculty. For additional information or questions about the College’s Title IX and Sexual Misconduct policies and procedures visit the Meet the Staff page on the Title IX Office website for contact information.

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, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, 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 to remove barriers that prevent people with disabilities from having access to goods, services, and employment opportunities. The ADA Amendments Act, passed in 2008, provided clarification of the regulations and extended protection under the law to more individuals. 

The ADA and ADA Amendments Act provide protection for a qualified individual with a disability from discrimination in any employment action and require an employer to make reasonable accommodations to aid the individual in performing the essential functions of their job.

The law defines a person as disabled if they:

  • have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one of life's major activities, such as walking, hearing, etc., or
  • have 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 essential job functions are the fundamental job duties of the position; reasonable accommodations are those modifications or adjustments to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position is customarily performed, 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 College's commitment is to provide reasonable accommodation to an individual with a disability or serious medical condition as needed to perform the essential functions of their position, provided that the accommodation does not create an undue hardship on the College. The process of determining a reasonable accommodation involves an interactive dialogue between the staff member and the College to consider the appropriateness and viability of various possible accommodations. The supervisor, in consultation with Human Resources, will determine the most appropriate and reasonable effective accommodation.

If an individual can no longer perform the essential functions of their job with reasonable accommodations, the College will work with the individual to apply for other suitable positions, if available and as appropriate.

Supervisors should contact Human Resources for assistance if questions arise about accommodations or the essential functions of a position.

Staff members are not required to identify themselves as having disabilities; self-identification is strictly voluntary. However, if a staff member with a disability wishes to request an accommodation, the Director, Equal Opportunity and Engagement should be contacted in Human Resources. If an accommodation is requested, Human Resources will engage in an interactive process to assess the request and will also review other policies with the staff member that may be pertinent to the situation, i.e., leave benefits, FMLA, confidentiality, and the staff member Assistance Program.

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, and students, and as visitors to the College.

Emergency Evacuation Procedure for Individuals 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.

The College offers a confidential opportunity to develop a Personal Emergency Plan (“PEP”) in the event of an emergency. To request a PEP complete the Emergency Evacuation Referral Form.

Emergency Evacuation Referral Process

All new 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 to staff regarding the need for emergency evacuation assistance. Supervisors may also ask a staff member 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 staff members, including faculty, other academic personnel, and staff, must return the Emergency Evacuation Referral Form in confidence to:

Equal Opportunity Officer
Human Resources
or by campus mail or in person to the Office of Human Resources.

Accommodating Religious Practices

Swarthmore reasonably accommodates the religious practices of staff members unless doing so would create undue hardship, including, but not limited to, a safety hazard, 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.

Assistance Animals

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) Swarthmore provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities so that they can perform the essential functions of the job, unless doing so would be an undue hardship on Swarthmore. Such accommodations may include allowing a guide or service animal (“Service Animal”) in the workplace.  

Staff members seeking to utilize an Assistance Animal as a reasonable accommodation must obtain prior authorization from Human Resources. 

Responsibilities of Staff Members with Assistance Animals

All individuals granted the use of an Assistance Animal as a reasonable accommodation must provide documentation demonstrating that:

  • the animal is registered in compliance with state and/or local laws, and
  • immunization records are current and include rabies, and
  • if applicable, the animal wears vaccination tags at all times.

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

The staff member is responsible for keeping the Assistance Animal clean and well-groomed to keep animal odor to a minimum. All Assistance Animals must be housebroken.  The staff member must clean up after the animal in a sanitary and appropriate way, unless they are unable to do so because of a disability. If a disability prevents the staff member from cleaning up after the Assistance Animal, this information must be provided to Human Resources when requesting to use an Assistance Animal as a reasonable accommodation.