Civil Rights Policies and Resources

Together, we can build a community free of prohibited discrimination, harassment, retaliation and sexual misconduct.

On this page, you’ll find policies, forms and other resources to help you understand your rights and responsibilities as an OHSU community member.

If you need a resource in another language or with improved digital access, please contact us at or 503-494-5148. 

Policies, procedures and protocols

See all of OHSU’s policies or use the links below to see specific OHSU policies.

Discrimination and your rights

If you experience discrimination, harassment, retaliation or sexual misconduct, it may be scary to talk about it. You may feel unsure about who you can trust.

You can read explanations below of common terms that relate to your experience, rights and responsibilities.

Discrimination is when someone treats people in unfair or harmful ways because they belong to or appear to belong to a protected group or category. Protected categories include:

  • Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex, gender, gender expression
  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Military or Veteran’s status
  • National origin

Discrimination can be any behavior that affects employment, education or treatment or that creates a hostile environment.

Harassment is a form of discrimination that targets one person. Harassment can be verbal, visual, physical or any other type of behavior that intimidates, threatens or creates a hostile environment.

OCIC investigates reports of harassment based on protected categories (see discrimination above).

If you experience harassment that is not related to a protected category: 

Retaliation is a negative action taken against an OHSU member because they took part in a protected activity. Examples of protected activities are reporting a complaint or being part of an investigation.

Retaliation is a serious offense that can result in disciplinary action.

In general, privacy means you choose when, how and with whom to share personal information. You are able to choose what and how much information you share without pressure or judgment.

OHSU respects the privacy concerns of those who experience or witness harassment. OHSU also must keep the community safe and address incidents of alleged harassment that it knows about or reasonably should know about.

If you choose not to report an incident or not to take part in an investigation, you can contact OCIC for information and help to find support resources.

Confidentiality means that information you share about sexual assault or harassment cannot be revealed to anyone else without your permission. There are exceptions when there is immediate and serious concern about your safety or the safety of others.

A confidential advocate can hear your concerns and respect your privacy.

Sexual misconduct

It may be hard to know whether an experience is sexual misconduct. You can read definitions below of common terms related to sexual misconduct.

Questions? Email or call 503-494-5148.

In common speech, consent means willingly agreeing to do something.

Legally, there are different types of consent. When it comes to sexual activity, consent is a knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to take part.

You can give consent by words or actions, as long as you show clear willingness and permission to engage in sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance is not consent.

Your sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression do not change the definition of consent.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical harassment related to sex. 

Sexual harassment does not have to involve strictly sexual behavior. For example, repeated and offensive comments about women or any gender can be sexual harassment.  Harassers can be of any gender. They can be supervisors, colleagues, peers, or even patients. 

Teasing and offhand comments are not usually covered under sexual harassment rules, but they can have lasting emotional effects. 

Examples of sexual harassment: 

  • Frequent jokes or comments about sexual acts or sexual orientation
  • Requests for sexual favors, whether stated or implied
  • Making work or learning opportunities dependent on sexual favors
  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Unwanted physical contact or touching
  • Unwanted or sexually explicit texts, photos or emails
  • Talking about sexual acts, fantasies or stories

There are two types of sexual harassment, quid pro quo and hostile environment.

Quid pro quo ("this for that") is one type of sexual harassment. (The other is hostile environment.)

Quid pro quo is when someone makes known that your response to sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other sexual behavior affects your work or academic experience. This includes hiring, promotions, raises, shift or work assignments, performance standards, grades, access to recommendations, assistance with schoolwork, etc.

Hostile environment is one type of sexual harassment. (The other is quid pro quo.) Non-sexual unwelcome behavior can also create a hostile environment.

A hostile work or learning environment is one where there are frequent or severe events of prohibited behavior. The behavior may be verbal, non-verbal or physical. An employer, teacher, co-worker, vendor or fellow student can create a hostile environment.

A single or even several events may not always rise to the level of hostile environment. However, a single severe event may create a hostile environment. We evaluate each unique situation separately. In general, if unwelcome behavior happens often or is severe enough to interfere with work or learning, the environment is hostile.

Examples of potentially prohibited behavior include:

  • Jokes or insults
  • Unwelcome flirting
  • Pornography
  • Unwelcome hugging or kissing
  • Repeated invitations for dates

A third person who observes sexual behavior among willing participants may be impacted by prohibited harassment.

Sexual misconduct is any sexual behavior or contact without willing consent. It’s important to know that some types of sexual misconduct are crimes, including sexual assault and exploitation.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one person to maintain power and control over another in a close or intimate relationship. The people may be married, living together or dating. They may be family members. Domestic violence is also called intimate partner violence, domestic abuse and relationship abuse.

Domestic violence can happen to people of any race, gender, age, religion or sexual orientation. The abuse may be physical, emotional, verbal, financial or spiritual. The abuser may physically harm the other person or cause fear to control their behavior.

Examples of domestic violence are: 

  • Punching, strangling, shoving or harming your body
  • Threatening to harm or kill you or themselves
  • Twisting your words to mean something you didn’t intend
  • Gaslighting
  • Blaming you or others for the abusive behavior
  • Forbidding you to work or attend school 
  • Jeopardizing your employment by stalking you at work
  • Controlling the money in your relationship or household
  • Insulting or calling you names

    This type of domestic violence is abusive and controlling behavior in a romantic relationship. The abuse can be verbal, emotional, physical, sexual or any combination of these elements.

    As with other kinds of sexual misconduct, dating violence can happen to anyone. If you are in this situation, you are not to blame. Your abusive partner may try to control you by: 

    • Insisting on being with you all the time
    • Calling or texting constantly to monitor you 
    • Calling you names or putting you down
    • Not letting you spend time with your friends, or demanding that you cut off contact with your friends
    • Telling you what to wear
    • Being jealous
    • Threatening to hurt you, themself or someone else if you don’t do what they say 
    • Shoving, hitting, kicking or harming your body
    • Forcing you to have sex or perform other sexual acts

      Stalking is when someone continues to contact another person in ways they don’t want, even after they are told that the contact is not wanted.   

      For example, a stalker may:  

      • Send unwanted cards, gifts, letters, texts or emails 
      • Follow you and show up where you are 
      • Damage your property 
      • Track your movements 
      • Drive by or hang out at your school, workplace or home  
      • Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends or pets  
      • Do or say anything else to try to control, track or frighten you 

      A stalker may be a stranger to you. You are not to blame for being stalked. 

      Trauma is psychological or emotional effects after distressing or disturbing experiences. We all process events and experiences differently, so trauma is different for everyone. No one knows how they will react in a difficult situation.

      Sexual misconduct can lead to trauma. You may experience it as: 

      • Intense feelings of guilt, as if the experience was somehow your fault
      • Flashbacks
      • Anger
      • Unpredictable or unstable emotions
      • Feelings of despair or isolation

        Education and training

        OHSU’s Respect at the University online course is required for all employees, students and volunteers at OHSU. You can find it on-demand through Compass.

        OCIC can create training courses for students and employees on topics like:

        • Prohibited discrimination and harassment
        • Civil rights
        • Cultural competency
        • Reasonable accommodation
        • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
        • Title IX
        • Affirmative action planning
        • Unconscious bias
        • Cultural competency
        • Bystander intervention
        • How to respond to pa

        Flyers, brochures and guides


        Learn more and find resources about accommodations.

        Affirmative action

        Learn more and find resources about affirmative action.

        Crisis lines

        Submit a report to OCIC

        Questions, concerns

        Expectations for OHSU members

        When it comes to discriminatory misconduct:

        • OHSU employees, except designated confidential employees, must report prohibited behavior they hear about to OCIC or to their Human Resources business partner.
        • Students are encouraged but not required to report discriminatory misconduct.
        • All OHSU members are encouraged to report discriminatory misconduct they experience.
        • See OHSU's Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation policy for more detail.

        Unsure if you need to report? Call OCIC at 503-494-5148