7.1 Nondiscrimination and Non-retaliation Policies; Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policies

This policy was last updated June 7, 2021. See the update history page for more information.

7.1.1 Nondiscrimination Policy

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment. The full policy is found at Section 9.2 Nondiscrimination and the Institute’s policy against harassment is found at Section 9.4.

7.1.2 Non-Retaliation

The Institute’s policy against retaliation is found at Section 9.7.

In addition to that general prohibition against retaliation, 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. 

While employees are generally free to discuss their own pay or the pay of another, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (1) in response to a formal complaint or charge; (2) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the Institute; or (3) consistent with the Institute’s legal duty to furnish information.

7.1.3 Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy

The Institute, through its Affirmative Action Program, seeks to expand its efforts to guarantee equality of opportunity in employment and in education and to reduce underrepresentation and underutilization of minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans at MIT (Protected veterans are veterans who meet certain criteria set by the federal government.) For all categories of employment, the Institute's objectives are to achieve a representation of minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities that is at least in proportion to their current availability and to provide them with new opportunities for career development that both stimulate and respond to their changing interests and aspirations.

The Institute's Affirmative Action Plan (which may be reviewed in the Human Resources office) should be reviewed for further understanding of the responsibilities assigned and the procedures developed to carry out the Institute's equal opportunity policy. In particular, evidence of a broad search for candidates, including candidates who are minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities, must be presented to MIT's senior officers prior to an offer of a salaried appointment for an academic year or longer to the Faculty (assistant professor, associate professor without tenure, associate professor with tenure, full professor; assistant professor/coach, associate professor/ coach, associate professor/senior coach), unless an explicit exception has been granted by the cognizant senior officer.

This policy also applies to offers of a full-time salaried appointment for an academic year or longer to the following employment categories:

  1. Senior rank of the academic research staff (senior research scientist/ engineer/associate);
  2. All campus sponsored research staff ranks (principal research scientist/ engineer/associate; research scientist/engineer/associate; research specialist, technical associates; sponsored research technical staff; research administrators);
  3. Some academic instructional staff ranks (visiting assistant professor, visiting associate professor, visiting professor; instructor, technical instructor, instructor/coach; lecturer, senior lecturer); and
  4. Administrative staff (including medical staff),

unless an explicit exception has been granted by the cognizant senior officer.

See Section 7.1.1 for the Institute's policy on nondiscrimination.

7.1.4 Affirmative Action Serious Search Policy

In furtherance of MIT's commitment to affirmative action in the employment of members of minority groups, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities, MIT requires a thorough search of the relevant employment market for qualified candidates, including candidates who are minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities and to whom this policy applies. The positions include salaried appointments for an academic year or longer to the Faculty (assistant professor, associate professor without tenure, associate professor with tenure, full professor; assistant professor/coach, associate professor/coach, associate professor/senior coach).

This policy also applies to full-time salaried appointments for an academic year or longer to the following employment categories:

  1. Senior rank of the academic research staff (senior research scientist/ engineer/associate);
  2. All campus sponsored research staff ranks (principal research scientist/ engineer/associate; research scientist/engineer/associate; research specialist, technical associates; sponsored research technical staff; research administrators);
  3. Some academic instructional staff ranks (visiting assistant professor, visiting associate professor, visiting professor; instructor, technical instructor, instructor/coach; lecturer, senior lecturer); and
  4. Administrative staff (including medical staff).

Search Process: At the time a search is begun, the department head or office or laboratory/center director will submit to the appropriate senior officer for approval a statement of the qualifications being sought and the plan for the search. Search plans must indicate the specific steps by which active efforts will be made to identify candidates who are minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities. Such steps are expected to go beyond posting and advertising the availability of positions and may include, but not be limited to, such active efforts as

  1. personal telephone and/or written contacts with colleagues or other individuals or groups who can assist in locating candidates
  2. visits by members of search committees to locations where candidates who are minorities, women, protected veterans, and/or individuals with disabilities may be contacted
  3. personal contact with colleagues who are minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities at professional gatherings

In cases involving a search committee, and especially for faculty appointments, the head of the department should ensure that at least one member of the committee is assigned the specific responsibility to see that an active search is carried out. This responsibility as equal opportunity representative may be assigned to the chair of the committee, to a committee member other than the chair, or to someone outside the committee who will serve, ex officio, as a member of each search committee that is formed. In cases where a search committee is not formed, the person having major responsibility for candidate evaluation will also serve as the equal opportunity representative for that search. The head of the department will advise the equal opportunity representative and encourage exploration of ways to strengthen the search process.

At the conclusion of a search, and before a proposed appointment is approved by the relevant senior officer, the department head must submit to the senior officer a detailed report on the results of the search. The report must contain a description of the position and a reference to the approved search plan, including special steps taken to locate women, minorities, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities. The selection process should be described, including the number of applicants and the number of women, minorities, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities and their ranking, if ranked. The report should state the principal reasons for selection of the proposed candidate over other candidates and include a résumé. The finalists = who were not chosen and who are women, minorities, protected veterans, or individuals with disabilities should be identified by name and résumé with specific reasons for nonselection; or if any were selected and they declined, their reasons should be given. A statement of the department's affirmative action progress should be included.

These procedures should be followed regardless of the race or gender of the chosen candidate. Waivers of search in individual cases may be granted only by the relevant senior officer and only if unusual circumstances warrant such waivers. Request and approval of a waiver should involve consultation with the human resources officer for the area.

Approval Process: Final approval of search plans and results for all appointments to the Faculty and to the administrative and research staffs is delegated by the Academic Council to senior officers, each of whom is responsible for his or her areas. Specifically, the senior officers who are members of the Academic Council, the Chief Executive Officer of the Alumni Association, and the Director of Lincoln Laboratory have final authority to approve the initiation and conclusion (or waiver) of searches for appointments of faculty or staff in the departments or offices that report to them.

Reporting Process: The Provost reports annually to the faculty on faculty and graduate student diversity, and also presents this information to Academic Council and other appropriate committees or groups.