9.7 Non-Retaliation

This policy was last updated June 21, 2023. See the update history page for more information.

Complaints about Violations of Policy or Other Wrongdoing; Participation in Institute Complaint Resolution Processes

MIT prohibits any member of the community from retaliating against any person who, in good faith,:

  • raises concerns about a possible violation of MIT policy or other wrongdoing; or
  • participates in any Institute complaint resolution process.

This non-retaliation policy applies to those who report an incident, file a complaint, or otherwise raise a concern about a policy violation or other wrongdoing; these individuals are sometimes called whistleblowers. The non-retaliation policy also protects those who review or investigate a complaint or concern, serve as a witness or provide background about the complaint or concern, or who make decisions or recommendations about sanctions in any of the Institute’s complaint resolution procedures.

Retaliation is any adverse action, harassment, threats, or other conduct that would discourage a reasonable person from making a report or participating in a complaint review process. Examples of possible retaliation include, but are not limited to:

  • Adverse employment action (e.g., termination, demotion, reduction in pay, adverse change in schedule or work location, unwarranted negative reference, or exclusion from work-related opportunities, conferences, or other activities)
  • Adverse action related to an Institute educational program (e.g., unwarranted negative reference, adverse change to grades, class schedule, or research opportunities or funding) 
  • Stalking, harassment, intimidation, threats (including threats of retaliation), or engaging in physical violence
  • Adverse social actions such as exclusion or removal from a group or committee, or publishing personally identifiable information about an individual, including on websites or social media sites
  • Adverse action related to research or scholarship (e.g., removing from research grant, reducing access to research funds, removing authorship from paper, rejecting a paper during refereeing, recommending to peers or students to not cite their work)
  • Encouraging or asking a third party to engage in retaliatory conduct

Note that interim measures taken by MIT to address a complaint, such as separating the parties, are generally not retaliation.

Retaliation may occur even where there is no finding of a policy or other violation.

Complaints of retaliation under this subsection are addressed through MIT's complaint resolution processes, depending on the nature of the retaliation (e.g., a grade dispute). Where a formal investigation of a complaint of retaliation is done and no specific internal process exists, the investigation includes notification of the allegation, an opportunity to meet with the investigator, and an opportunity to review a draft report. (For more detail, see the bulleted process steps in Section, which are usually followed.) A finding of retaliation may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, suspension or expulsion from the Institute, or severing any other relationship with MIT.

MIT encourages reporting of any perceived retaliation to a supervisor, to the Committee on Discipline for student misconduct, or to one of the offices listed in this Reporting Options page.  Individuals who prefer to report anonymously may do so through the Campus-based hotline or the Lincoln Laboratory hotline. Workplace concerns about retaliation or harassment may also be directed to the Institute Discrimination and Harassment Response office (for concerns that involve a protected status such as sex or race) or to the Human Resources office (for concerns not involving a protected status). See Section 9.8 Complaint Resolution.

Discussions about Pay

MIT follows special rules to protect employees' discussions about pay. MIT recognizes that transparency in regard to discussions of salary and wages may promote fairness and equality. MIT will not terminate or in any other manner retaliate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant.  Note that employees with access to compensation information as part of their job must keep such information confidential as stated in Section 11.2.1 Responsibility for Safeguarding Information.

Concerns about non-retaliation regarding discussions about pay are not addressed through the complaint process in Section 9.8 but rather should be raised to supervisors in the employee's department, lab, or center, to the departmental human resources staff, or to the Campus or Lincoln Human Resources Office.