The University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, welcomes and respects 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 Chattanooga and its UT 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 Chattanooga 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 Chattanooga Office of Equity and Inclusion, 720 McCallie Avenue, Second Floor, Dept. 5455, 615 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37403-2598, Telephone (423) 425-5670. Complaints must be in writing and filed within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory action. In certain circumstances, at the discretion of the Diversity Officer, complaints filed outside that time limit, or not submitted in writing, may be investigated.
Employees and students are encouraged to attempt to resolve a complaint through the administrative structure of the employment unit or academic department. The Director of Equity and Inclusion will provide assistance to the complainant, employment unit, and/or academic department in order to resolve the complaint. Supervisors and other administrators who become aware of unlawful discrimination or harassment must take immediate and appropriate action to stop such practices or behaviors and prevent their recurrence. It is the responsibility of the administrator who receives a complaint or becomes aware of the existence of unlawful discrimination or harassment, to contact the Director of Equity and Inclusion to seek counsel regarding appropriate action.
- Complaints received directly to the Director of Equity and Inclusion will be reported by the director to the appropriate administrator(s), who will attempt to resolve the matter working in conjunction with the Director of Equity and Inclusion Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible.
- If the complaint is not resolved through the methods described above, the Director of Equity and Inclusion may use the following:
- Complaints should be submitted in writing to the Director of Equity and Inclusion. 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.
- The Office of Equity and Inclusion will conduct an investigation, the nature and scope of which will be determined by the Director of Equity and Inclusion on a case-by-case basis. The investigation may include any or all of the following, as well as such other action as the Director of Equity and Inclusion 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.
- 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 the Director of Equity and Inclusion to appoint the members of such a committee. The Director of Equity and Inclusion may assist the appropriate administrator in appointing committee members.
- The investigative committee, or the Director of Equity and Inclusion if there is no investigative committee, will make findings of fact and will determine whether sufficient evidence exists to support a charge of discrimination. Those findings, together with a statement outlining the basis for them, will be transmitted by the Director of Equity and Inclusion to the appropriate administrator. A copy will also be available to the complainant.
- The appropriate vice chancellor or the chancellor will review the 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 UTC Personnel Policy and Procedure, contained in the UTC Policy and Procedures Manual, if they are not satisfied with the determination.
- 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.
Individuals who wish to file a Title VI complaint with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC) have up to 180 days from the date of the discriminatory act. Individuals who wish to file a complaint about employment discrimination may do so with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 days from the date of the discriminatory act.