Non-Discrimination Definitions, Policies, Procedures, and Regulations

Shawnee State University is committed to having an educational and working environment for students and employees that is without unlawful or prohibited discrimination and harassment.

Categories defined as protected classes include age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, and any other classes defined by law.

Many laws that prohibit discrimination also prohibit retaliation against individuals who assert their rights under anti-discrimination laws.


The following are definitions of protected classes, prohibited conduct, and commonly-used terms related to discrimination and harassment:

Age, as a protected class, means a person over the age of 40.

Ancestry is a person’s caste, country, nation, tribe, or other identifiable group of people from which a person descends. It can also refer to common physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics of an individual’s ancestors.

Antisemitism is defined by Executive Order 2022-06D as a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

Color is the pigmentation, complexion, shade, or tone of one’s skin.

Disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Laws prohibiting disability discrimination also protect individuals who are not actually disabled, but are regarded as being disabled or have a record of disability.

Ethnicity is shared attributes of a group people who identify with each other that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestry, language, history, society, culture, nation, religion, or social treatment within their residing area.

Gender expression is the external display of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, body characteristics or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.

Gender identity is one’s own concept of self and how that personal individually identifies.

Genetic information includes information about an individual's genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual's family members, as well as information about the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an individual's family members.

HIV/AIDS status means having or being perceived to have human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

Military status is any person who has past, current, or future membership, service, or obligation in a uniformed service.

National origin means being from a certain place or having the physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics of a particular national origin group.

Pregnancy is carrying a developing embryo, fetus, or unborn offspring in the body.

Race is physical characteristics associated with people regarded as being of the same ancestry or personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features).

Religion includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong that are sincerely held by the individual person with the strength of traditional religious views.

Sex is biological makeup, including genitalia, genetic differences, and sex characteristics.

Sexual harassment is conduct on the basis of sex that constitutes quid pro quo, unwelcome conduct, or sexual assault under the University’s Title IX Procedure. Detailed definitions are located within the procedure.

Sexual orientation refers to an individual’s physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to people of the same and/or different gender.

Veteran means any person who has completed service in the armed forces, including the national guard of any state or a reserve component of the armed forces, and who has been discharged under honorable conditions from the armed forces or who has been transferred to the reserve with evidence of satisfactory service.  

University Policies and Procedures

Pursuant to University Policy and Procedure, all employees are mandated reporters of discrimination. Students are also encouraged to report discrimination they may become aware of. Reports of suspected discrimination can be made here.

Policies and Procedures related to discrimination, harassment, or relevant to protected classes can be found at the following links:


Non-discrimination and Sexual Harassment



Regulations and Resources

Many federal and state laws and directives influence University practices. The links listed below will lead you to these external items. Resources relating to issues and topics faced by protected classes are also linked.


The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits discrimination against individuals over the age of 40 in the employment context. Similarly, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance, including Shawnee State.


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides that individuals with disabilities cannot be subjected to discrimination by any program or activity that receives federal funding. This includes public universities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in many areas, including employment and public accommodations. The EEOC has created a central location for access to several disability-related resources.

Genetic Information

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information in the health insurance and employment contexts. More information about this type of discrimination can be found here.

Military Veteran Status

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their military or veteran status and requires employers to accommodate veterans’ service-related disabilities.

Race, Color, and National Origin

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, including public universities like Shawnee State. Similarly, Title VII of the same Act protects employees from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. More information on race and color discrimination can be found here, and more information about Title VII’s protections specifically can be found here.

Ohio Revised Code Section 4112 is a state law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age, and ancestry with regard to employment, public accommodation, and housing.

Sex and Gender

Title IX prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex and gender in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance, including public universities. More information on Title IX can be found here. Title IX also includes protections for pregnant and parenting students.

The Civil Rights Act, mentioned above, was amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 to include a prohibition of discrimination based on pregnancy.