Ap​pendix A. Legal Basis for this plan

As recipients of Federal and State financial assistance, all land grant institutions (1862, 1890, and 1994) are required to adhere to civil rights laws that ensure equal access and nondiscrimination in all terms and conditions of research and extension programs; including employment, work assignments, education and training opportunities, research opportunities, use of facilities, and opportunities to serve on committees or decision making bodies. 

Particularly, since the 1960s, Congress has enacted equal opportunity legislation that seeks to preclude discrimination in our society, specifically focused on government-funded programs. Purdue Agriculture is committed to equal opportunity in employment, program delivery, workplace, personal conduct, professional development, and other aspects of equality of treatment.

The legislation originally placed people into “protected classes” based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.  Later amendments added age and disability to these classes. These designated classes include:

  • Race, color or national origin – In the U.S., seven groups are designated for protection against discrimination.  They are American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White, Multiracial/Other.
  • Religion – Discrimination based on religious affiliation or religious belief is not permitted.  Reasonable accommodations must be made.
  • Sex – Discrimination based on gender is not permitted.
  • Age – Discrimination based on age is not permitted over the age of 40.
  • Disability – A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of an individual’s major life activities.  Reasonable accommodations must be made in order to preclude discrimination.

In general, a person of a protected class is to be treated in the same fashion as other people.  The laws were not designed to give preferential treatment to individuals in the designated categories; however, “affirmative steps” often are required to ensure that qualified candidates (who are within the protected classes) are included in position searches, participate in educational programs, and are involved in program advisory/leadership roles.

The following summarizes pertinent civil rights legislation:  

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that a database be developed and maintained that identifies eligible populations and monitors the extent to which programs and services are delivered to under-served individuals.  Various court rulings have held that it is insufficient to merely certify that nondiscriminatory policy is in effect.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the federal law that prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It covers federal, state, and local public employers and educational institutions.  In 1978, Title VII was amended to include the “Pregnancy Discrimination Act,” which requires employers to treat pregnancy and pregnancy-related medical conditions the same as any other medical condition in the administration of employment practices and employee health benefits.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against students and employees in federally assisted education programs or activities.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities.  The intention of both acts is to extend employment, services, and programs to residents with disabilities.  This includes providing access for those with physical impairments and signs for the visually impaired in buildings in which the employment, services, and programs are offered, and providing auxiliary aid and services to individuals with vision or hearing impairments or other disabilities so they have the opportunity to participate in programs.  In addition employers must “reasonably accommodate” the disability of qualified applicants or employees, unless an undue hardship would result.  The acts stipulate corrective actions and penalties for those not meeting the requirements.

Age Discrimination is addressed in a number of federal laws, including:  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act-1964, the Age Discrimination Act – 1967; the Equal Pay Act-1963; sections of 501 of the Rehabilitation Act- 1973.  Collectively, these acts protect workers from arbitrary age discrimination in hiring, discharge, promotions, fringe benefits, and other aspects of employment. The acts are designed to protect employment of older persons on the basis of ability rather than age and to help employers and workers find ways to resolve problems arising from the impact of age on employment opportunities.

Sexual Harassment is addressed in Purdue University’s Antiharassment Policy – Executive Memorandum No. C-33.   The policy covers sexual harassment as well as other forms of prohibited harassment.   This policy applies to all faculty, staff, and students with respect to activities occurring on any University property and University-related activities occurring off-campus.  The University will not tolerate harassment of its faculty, staff, or students by persons conducting business with or visiting the University, even though such persons are not directly affiliated with the University.


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