CU Boulder policy prohibits discrimination and harassment based on protected-class identity. Unfair treatment or intimidating behavior aimed at any member of the campus community based on an aspect of identity protected by CU Boulder policy is reportable to the university.

The Discrimination and Harassment policy applies to behaviors committed by or against a CU student, staff, or faculty member that occur in any location on or off campus, including out of state or out of the country.

Read the full Discrimination and Harassment Policy.

Read the FAQs on CU Boulder's Policies and Processes Regarding Racist Speech by Students.

Under university policy, protected class includes race, color, national origin, pregnancy, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and its expression, veteran status, marital status, and political affiliation/philosophy.

Read the definitions of each protected class.

Harassment is defined as verbal, written, or physical conduct whether online or in-person related to one’s protected-class identity that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating or hostile work, educational or living environment.

Examples may include:

  • Identity-based jokes or comments that create a hostile environment
  • Being treated differently based on identity
  • Intimidating behaviors directed at someone based on identity

A hostile environment means that someone has experienced unwelcome behavior that is severe, persistent, or pervasive enough that it unreasonably interferes, limits, or deprives them of participating in or benefitting from university programs or activities.

Mistreatment, bullying, or other harassing behaviors that are unrelated to protected-class identity cannot be investigated by OIEC, but they still have a negative impact. There are a range of campus resources that offer support and additional guidance on addressing these types of concerns, such as Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, Employee Relations, the Ombuds Office, or the chair or director of a department and Faculty Relations if it involves a faculty member. Other university policies that may apply include:

Review all other university policies if concerns are not covered here or reach out to a campus resource for additional information.

Discrimination occurs when an individual suffers an adverse consequence on the basis of a protected-class identity. An adverse consequence is when someone is deprived of or denied a material benefit (money, a job, resources, etc.) based on their protected-class identity.

Examples may include:

  • Denial of admission to an academic program
  • Not being funded for a project or not being promoted or hired for a job
  • Being denied a reasonable accommodation, due to:
    • A religious observance 
    • Pregnancy or giving birth to a child
    • A documented medical disability

The university is required to provide reasonable accommodations for students, staff, and faculty related to disability, religion/creed, and pregnancy. For questions about pregnancy and disability-related accommodations for employees and other ADA questions, contact ADA Compliance in OIEC. For questions about disability-related accommodations for students, contact Disability Services. For questions about requests for accommodations of religion or creed, contact OIEC.

The Equal Pay for Equal Work Act effective January 1, 2021, protects employees against pay discrimination based on sex (including gender identity) – alone or in combination with another protected class – for substantially similar work in terms of skill, effort, and responsibility, regardless of job title.

Anyone who believes they or others have been unlawfully discriminated against based on compensation can report to OIEC. Supervisors and other responsible employees are required to report any discrimination they are made aware of.

For more information about the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, answers to frequently asked questions, and general inquiries about compensation practices, please refer to the CU Boulder HR webpage, the Office of Faculty Affairs for faculty salary and equity processes, or the CU System Administration website.