This policy applies to equal opportunity and affirmative action in employment, including student employment, within the UW System, and vendors and contractors with whom UW System engages. Equal employment opportunity requirements apply to recruitment, hiring, promotion, job assignments, demotion, transfer, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, working conditions, and other aspects of employment. This policy identifies practices for promoting workforce diversity, including efforts to meet legal requirements that require institutions to recruit and retain qualified women, underrepresented and underserved individuals, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans in faculty, administrative and staff positions in which they are underrepresented.


This policy establishes the UW System Board of Regents’ expectations, consistent with the law, for providing equal employment opportunities and programming and planning within the UW System. It is intended to create inclusivity, foster tolerance, encourage individuals to reach their potential, and ensure the University’s compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.

Policy Statement

The University of Wisconsin System is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin System to adopt and support measures designed to prevent and eliminate discrimination against employees and prospective employees of the University of Wisconsin System on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, age, sex (as defined in state and federal law), sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, pregnancy, marital or parental status, genetic information, arrest record, conviction record, military service, veteran status, use or nonuse of lawful products off the employer’s premises during non-working hours, political affiliation, declining to attend a meeting or participate in any communication about religious matters or political matters, honesty testing, or any other category protected by law. The University of Wisconsin System does not condone or tolerate discrimination.

In support of this policy and in accordance with federal law, the University of Wisconsin System is committed to the implementation of employment programs to recruit, employ, and promote qualified women and individuals belonging to underrepresented and underserved populations, individuals with disabilities, and veterans and disabled veterans as defined in state and federal law. UW System administrators, staff, and the faculty at each institution shall continue to take such steps as may be necessary to accelerate the final elimination of any and all vestiges of discrimination that may still exist in the employment policies, practices, and procedures of the University of Wisconsin System.

  1. Each institution shall have an affirmative action officer with an adequate budget and support staff commensurate with institutional needs. The affirmative action officer should be a resource and support person for affirmative action advisory committees and other institutional groups legitimately concerned with affirmative action. Affirmative action directors should address the needs of both classified and unclassified personnel.
  2. Each institution shall maintain a written affirmative action plan for the recruitment, employment, and promotion of women and individuals belonging to underrepresented and underserved populations; individuals with disabilities, as required under Executive Order 11246, as amended; individuals with disabilities as required under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; and veterans and disabled veterans as defined in federal and state law. The content and frequency of developing any affirmation action plan shall be in conformance with the law and, except for UW-Madison, with UW System Administration human resources equal opportunity policies. UW-Madison shall comply with the law and equal opportunity policies as adopted by UW-Madison under the authority provided by s. 36.115(3), Wis. Stats, to establish a separate personnel system.
  3. As part of the institution’s efforts to promote workforce diversity, institutions shall periodically examine all employment policies, practices, and procedures dealing with recruiting, interviewing, testing, screening, selection, placement, classification, evaluation, transfer, promotion, training, compensation, fringe benefits, layoffs, and terminations to determine whether such actions show evidence of discrimination. Institutions shall take remedial action to correct such discrimination is found to exist.
  4. Each institution shall establish and maintain a committee (or committees, as appropriate) composed of faculty, academic staff, university staff employees, and students to advise the administration on efforts to promote workforce diversity. Committee members should have a genuine interest in workforce diversity and represent the concerns of women, individuals belonging to underrepresented and underserved populations, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.
  5. Institutions shall establish and publish effective grievance procedures, consistent with the provisions of RPD 14-6, “Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation,” for addressing discrimination complaints.
  6. Institutions shall include an assessment of efforts to support workforce diversity in the performance evaluation of institutional administrators.
  7. Consistent with the law and best practice, institutions shall disseminate equal employment opportunity policies to the university community so that everyone, including students, is apprised of the UW System’s commitment and responsibilities for ensuring equal opportunity in employment.

Oversight, Roles, and Responsibilities

Each Chancellor shall be responsible for establishing and maintaining institutional efforts to promote equal opportunities in employment and for developing programs to promote workforce diversity as required by law and this policy.

UW System Administration shall establish policies and procedures for UW institutions, except UW-Madison, for promoting equal opportunity in employment and for preparing plans to promote workforce diversity in compliance with the law and this policy.

UW-Madison shall establish policies and procedures for promoting equal opportunity in employment and for preparing plans to promote workforce diversity in compliance with the law and this policy.

Related Regent Policy Documents and Applicable Law

  • Regent Policy Document 14-2, “Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment”
  • Regent Policy Document 14-3, “Equal Opportunities in Education: Elimination of Discrimination Based on Gender”
  • Regent Policy Document 14-6, “Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation”
  • Regent Policy Document 14-10, “Nondiscrimination on Basis of Disability”
  • Executive Order 11246-Equal Employment Opportunity (41 CFR 60)
  • Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 (29 USC 621-634, 29 CFR 1627)
  • Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (42 USC 6101,34 CFR 110)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 USC 12101-12213, 29 CFR 1630, 28 CFR 35 and 36, 29 CFR 1640)
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991 (Public Law No. 102-166)
  • Equal Employment of Veterans (38 USC 4211-4215, 41 CFR 60-250)
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963 (29 USC 206(d), 29 CFR 1620-1621, 29 CFR 1604)
  • Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (Public Law No. 110-233, 29 CFR 1635)
  • Immigration and Nationality Act (8 USC 1101-1106, 8 CFR 214 and 274a, 20 CFR 655, 29 CFR 501)
  • Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (Public Law No. 111-2)
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (Public Law No. 95-155)
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law No. 93-112)
  • Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (38 USC 4301-4335, 5CFR 353)
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) (38 USC 4301-4335, 5 CFR 353)
  • Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) (38 USC 4212, 41 CFR 60-300)
  • Wisconsin Fair Employment Law (Section 111.31, Wis. Stats., and Ch. DWD 218, Wis. Admin. Code)


History: Res. 1051, adopted 08/15/1975, created RPD 75-5. Res. 2581, adopted 05/07/1982 and codified as RPD 82-4, amended RPD 75-5. Res. 8963, adopted 02/11/2005, amended RPD 75-5, subsequently renumbered RPD 17-4. Res. 11672, adopted 07/09/2021, amended RPD 17-4 and rescinded RPDs 17-2 and 17-8.


SYS 220, Affirmative Action Data Collection (formerly G41)

SYS 1201, Affirmative Action Data (formerly EEO 1)

SYS 1202, Equal Employment Opportunity (formerly EEO 2)

SYS 1203, Employment of Veterans (formerly EEO 3)

[UW System Administrative Policies are included for reference and are separate from Regent Policy Documents adopted by the Board.]