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Discrimination Complaint Procedure

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, welcomes and honors people of all races, creeds, cultures, and sexual orientations. The University values intellectual curiosity, pursuit of knowledge, and academic freedom and integrity. In keeping with those values, the policies of UT Knoxville and Knoxville Area Units expressly prohibit the following:

  • discrimination against employees, students, or applicants for employment or admission, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment, sexual orientation, gender iden­tity, marital status, parental status), national origin, age, disability, or protected veteran status;
  • discrimination against other participants in educational programs and activities (which includes certain individuals who are not employees, students, or applicants for employment or admission) on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability; and
  • retaliation against any person who in good faith reports a practice that he/she believes violates non-discrimination policies.

If you are an employee, student, applicant for employment, applicant for admission, or are other­wise a participant in a UT Knoxville program or activity, and you believe you have been discrimi­nated against in violation of the policies outlined above, the process below is designed to help you resolve your complaint.

Where and when to file a complaint

Complaints of discrimination should be directed to the UT Knoxville Office of Equity and Diversity, 1840 Melrose Ave., Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-3560, Telephone (865) 974-2498. Complaints must be in writing and filed within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory action. Complaints may also be submitted by completing and submitting the Discrimination Complaint form (Discrimination Complaint Form).  In certain circumstances, at the discretion of OED, complaints filed outside that time limit, or not submitted in writing, may be investigated.

  1. Employees and students are encouraged to attempt to resolve a complaint through the administrative structure of the employment unit or academic department. OED will provide assistance to the complainant, employment unit, and/or academic department in order to resolve the complaint.
  2. Complaints received directly by OED will be reported by the director (or the director’s designee) to the appropriate administrator(s), who will attempt to resolve the matter working in conjunction with OED. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible.
  3. If the complaint is not resolved through the methods described above, OED may use the following:
    1. Complaints should be submitted in writing to OED. The complaint must include (1) the name of the complainant, (2) an explanation of the action or conduct complained of, and (3) the person or department responsible for the action. The complainant should include the resolution sought by the complainant. The head of the responding unit or academic department and the party against whom the complaint has been lodged (respondent) will be notified of the complaint.
    2. OED will conduct an investigation, the nature and scope of which will be determined by OED on a case-by-case basis. The investigation may include any or all of the following, as well as such other action as OED deems appropriate: interviewing the complainant, interviewing the respondent, interviewing witnesses, submitting questions to or taking statements from parties or witnesses, reviewing documents, and/or setting up an investigative committee.
    3. If an investigative committee is deemed appropriate, the relevant chancellor/vice chancellor/vice president or the president (in the event that the complaint is made against a chancellor/vice chancellor/vice president) will be asked by OED to appoint the members of such a committee. OED may assist the appropriate administrator in appointing committee members.
    4. The investigative committee, or OED if there is no investigative committee, will make findings of fact and will determine whether sufficient evidences exist to support a charge of discrimination. Those findings, together with a statement outlining the basis for them, will be transmitted by OED to the appropriate administrator. A copy will also be available to the complainant.
    5. The appropriate administrator(s) will review the OED findings, make a determination, and notify the complainant in writing. Within 15 workdays after receipt of that decision, complainants who are in staff nonexempt positions may pursue a grievance under UT Personnel Policy and Procedure 640, contained in the UT Policy and Procedures Manual, if they are not satisfied with the determination.
    6. If the complainant is not satisfied with the determination and is not eligible to or has not elected to file a grievance, the complainant may appeal in writing within 15 workdays after receipt of the decision to the next higher administrative level. The decision on the appeal will be provided in writing to the complainant. Decisions by the chancellor/vice chancellor/vice president may be appealed to the president.

Revised September 2009