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7.0 General Employment Policies

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7.1 Nondiscrimination and Non-retaliation Policies; Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policies

Following are the Institute's policies on nondiscrimination, non-retaliation, equal opportunity/affirmative action, and affirmative action serious search. The Institute's nondiscrimination policy is applicable to all members of the MIT community. It is included in The MIT Bulletin and other publications describing MIT's academic programs and is included here as a policy applicable to faculty and staff.

7.1.1 Nondiscrimination Policy

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment.

The Institute does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, employment policies, scholarship and loan programs, and other Institute administered programs and activities, but may favor US citizens or residents in admissions and financial aid.*

Harassment on the basis of any of these protected categories is also a form of discrimination and is prohibited.   

The Vice President for Human Resources is designated as the Institute's Equal Opportunity Officer. Inquiries concerning the Institute's policies, compliance with applicable laws, statutes, and regulations, and complaints may be directed to Lorraine Goffe-Rush, Vice President for Human Resources, NE49-5000, 617-253-6512. Such inquiries may also be directed to the Manager of Staff Diversity and Inclusion, NE49-5000, 617-452-4516. In addition, inquiries about Title IX (which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex) may be directed to the Institute's Title IX Coordinator, Sarah Rankin, Room W31-223, 617-324-7526, titleIX@mit.edu. Inquiries about the laws and about compliance may also be directed to the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Region I, 5 Post Office Square, 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02109-3921, 617-289-0111, OCR.Boston@ed.gov.

*The ROTC programs at MIT are operated under Department of Defense (DoD) policies and regulations, and do not comply fully with MIT's policy of nondiscrimination with regard to gender identity. MIT continues to advocate for a change in DoD policies and regulations concerning gender identity, and will replace scholarships of students who lose ROTC financial aid because of these DoD policies and regulations.

7.1.2 Non-retaliation

No one shall be retaliated against for raising good faith concerns about a violation of the nondiscrimination policy, opposing a discriminatory action, or otherwise participating in an investigation of an alleged violation of the nondiscrimination policy.  This non-retaliation policy applies to anyone who reports an incident, files a complaint, or cooperates in an inquiry or investigation about an allegation of nondiscrimination, or who participates in the Institute’s complaint resolution procedure as a complainant, a witness, an investigator or in any other capacity.  (See Section 9.6.5.1 regarding non-retaliation in the context of a complaint by or against an employee.)

Retaliation is typically a significant adverse employment action taken against an employee because the employee raised a concern or a complaint about discrimination or participated in the complaint resolution process. Retaliation may also be any other action that could discourage a reasonable person from raising a concern or complaint about discrimination or participating in the complaint resolution process. For some individuals, retaliation may include a significant action that adversely affects that person’s academic status.

Retaliation is a serious offense. A complaint of retaliation may be investigated and may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or otherwise terminating the individual’s relationship with the Institute. If any individual has concerns about retaliation, he or she should contact a human resources officer.

Special rules concerning discussions about pay

MIT recognizes that transparency in regard to discussions of salary and wages may promote fairness and equality.  MIT will not terminate or in any other manner retaliate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. 

While employees are generally free to discuss their own pay or the pay of another, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (1) in response to a formal complaint or charge; (2) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the Institute; or (3) consistent with the Institute’s legal duty to furnish information.

7.1.3 Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy

The Institute, through its Affirmative Action Program, seeks to expand its efforts to guarantee equality of opportunity in employment and in education and to reduce underrepresentation and underutilization of minorities and women at MIT. For all categories of employment, the Institute's objectives are to achieve a representation of women and minorities that is at least in proportion to their current availability and to provide them with new opportunities for career development that both stimulate and respond to their changing interests and aspirations.

Similarly, for all of the education programs, the Institute's objectives are both to achieve representation of minorities and women in the student body that reflects their current availability and interests, and to encourage larger proportions of these groups to seek careers for which the Institute's educational resources are designed to prepare them.

The Institute's Affirmative Action Plan (which may be reviewed in the Office of the Equal Opportunity Officer) should be reviewed for further understanding of the responsibilities assigned and the procedures developed to carry out the Institute's equal opportunity policy. In particular, notice should be taken of the requirement that evidence of a broad search for candidates, including women and minority candidates, must be presented to MIT's senior officers prior to an offer of a salaried appointment for an academic year or longer to the Faculty (assistant professor, associate professor without tenure, associate professor with tenure, full professor; assistant professor/coach, associate professor/ coach, associate professor/senior coach), unless an explicit exception has been granted by the cognizant senior officer.

This policy also applies to offers of a full-time salaried appointment for an academic year or longer to the following employment categories:

  1. Senior rank of the academic research staff (senior research scientist/ engineer/associate);
  2. All campus sponsored research staff ranks (principal research scientist/ engineer/associate; research scientist/engineer/associate; research specialist, technical associate, technical assistant; sponsored research technical staff; research administrators);
  3. Some academic instructional staff ranks (visiting assistant professor, visiting associate professor, visiting professor; instructor, technical instructor, instructor/coach; lecturer, senior lecturer); and
  4. Administrative staff (including medical staff),

unless an explicit exception has been granted by the cognizant senior officer.

See Section 7.1.1 for the Institute's policy on nondiscrimination.

7.1.4 Affirmative Action Serious Search Policy

In furtherance of MIT's commitment to affirmative action in the employment of women and members of minority groups, MIT policy requires a thorough search of the relevant employment market for qualified candidates, including women and minority candidates to whom this policy applies. The positions include salaried appointments for an academic year or longer to the Faculty (assistant professor, associate professor without tenure, associate professor with tenure, full professor; assistant professor/coach, associate professor/coach, associate professor/senior coach).

This policy also applies to full-time salaried appointments for an academic year or longer to the following employment categories:

  1. Senior rank of the academic research staff (senior research scientist/ engineer/associate);
  2. All campus sponsored research staff ranks (principal research scientist/ engineer/associate; research scientist/engineer/associate; research specialist, technical associate, technical assistant; sponsored research technical staff; research administrators);
  3. Some academic instructional staff ranks (visiting assistant professor, visiting associate professor, visiting professor; instructor, technical instructor, instructor/coach; lecturer, senior lecturer); and
  4. Administrative staff (including medical staff).

Search Process: At the time a search is begun, the department head or office or laboratory/center director will submit to the appropriate senior officer for approval a statement of the qualifications being sought and the plan for the search. Search plans must indicate the specific steps by which active efforts will be made to identify minority and women candidates. Such steps are expected to go beyond posting and advertising the availability of positions and may include, but not be limited to, such active efforts as

  1. personal telephone and/or written contacts with colleagues or other individuals or groups who can assist in locating candidates
  2. visits by members of search committees to locations where minority and/or women candidates may be contacted
  3. personal contact with minority and women colleagues at professional gatherings

In cases involving a search committee, and especially for faculty appointments, the head of the department should ensure that at least one member of the committee is assigned the specific responsibility to see that an active search is carried out. This responsibility as equal opportunity representative may be assigned to the chair of the committee, to a committee member other than the chair, or to someone outside the committee who will serve, ex officio, as a member of each search committee that is formed. In cases where a search committee is not formed, the person having major responsibility for candidate evaluation will also serve as the equal opportunity representative for that search. The head of the department will advise the equal opportunity representative and encourage exploration of ways to strengthen the search process.

At the conclusion of a search, and before a proposed appointment is approved by the relevant senior officer, the department head must submit to the senior officer a detailed report on the results of the search. The report must contain a description of the position and a reference to the approved search plan, including special steps taken to locate minorities and women. The selection process should be described, including the number of applicants and the number of minorities and women and their ranking, if ranked. The report should state the principal reasons for selection of the proposed candidate over other candidates and include a résumé. The finalist women and minorities who were not chosen should be identified by name and résumé with specific reasons for nonselection; or if any were selected and they declined, their reasons should be given. A statement of the department's affirmative action progress should be included.

These procedures should be followed regardless of the race or gender of the chosen candidate. Waivers of search in individual cases may be granted only by the relevant senior officer and only if unusual circumstances warrant such waivers. Request and approval of a waiver should involve consultation with the human resources officer for the area.

Approval Process: Final approval of search plans and results for all appointments to the Faculty and to the administrative and research staffs is delegated by the Academic Council to senior officers, each of whom is responsible for his or her areas. Specifically, the senior officers who are members of the Academic Council, the Executive Vice President of the Association of Alumni and Alumnae of MIT, and the Director of Lincoln Laboratory have final authority to approve the initiation and conclusion (or waiver) of searches for appointments of faculty or staff in the departments or offices that report to them.

Each senior officer maintains a current log of all appointments and approvals in a format designed in consultation with the Equal Opportunity Office. This log must be accompanied by written requests and written approvals giving justification for each waiver of search granted by the senior officer. The log will be open to review at any time by the staff of the Equal Opportunity Office and will be available (through the respective human resources officer) to the Human Resources Office for statistical reports, for response to inquiries, and for other institutional purposes.

Reporting Process Institute-Wide: The staff of the Equal Opportunity Office will collect and assemble the information on all appointments into a report and will submit it to the Academic Council at least once each year, as of the end of October. Currently there are two semi-annual reporting periods — as of October 31 and as of March 31.

The staff of the Equal Opportunity Office will counsel and support the senior officers in the discharge of their affirmative action responsibilities and will schedule discussions at the Academic Council at least once each year, at which time progress in the representation of minorities and women for each senior officer's area will be reviewed and discussed. Issues raised by audits will be reported and discussed, and the operation of the system of approvals and reports will be reexamined and assessed for MIT as a whole and for each area in particular.

A synopsis of these discussions will be made available by the staff of the Equal Opportunity Office to the MIT Equal Opportunity Committee and may be released by the Equal Opportunity Office to the community by means of an annual report or an article in Tech Talk. Also, periodic reports will be made to the Faculty, to relevant councils and committees, and to other appropriate groups.

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