Policies & Definitions

The following are brief summaries of State and Federal laws as well as ACC Policies that guide the Equal Opportunity Compliance Office.

  • State and Federal Law
      • Federal and state law defines harassment as a form of discrimination that violates any of the following laws:

        1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin;
        2. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) makes it illegal to discriminate against a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth;
        3. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment, from gender-based wage discrimination;
        4. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years or age or older;
        5. Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, in state and local governments;
        6. Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which prohibits employment discrimination based on genetic information about an applicant, employee, or former employee; or
        7. Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, Texas Labor Code, Chapter 21.
        8. Senate Bill 212, which puts forth employee reporting requirements. More information can be found on the Employee Reporting Requirements site. 
  • ACC Policy
      • The College has board policy and administrative rules (AR) that govern and protect employees and students from unlawful harassment and discrimination:

        1. AR# 3.10.003 - Prohibition of Sexual Misconduct in place to an environment for students, employees, and visitors that is free of all forms of discrimination and harassment, including sex-based discrimination. College Policy also prohibits gender-based harassment that does not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
        2. AR# 3.10.003.1 - Title IX Grievance Procedures are established to provide notice to students and employees about individual rights and the College’s prompt and equitable resolution of Formal Complaints of Title IX Sexual Harassment.
        3. AR# 6.02.001 - Employee Freedom from Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation is established to respond to reports discrimination, including harassment, against any employee on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age, veteran’s status, disability, genetic information or any other basis prohibited by law in its employment policies and practices.
        4. AR# 6.02.002 - Prohibition of Discrimination and Harassment of Students on the Basis of Disability, Race, Color or National Origin establishes prohibition of any form of discrimination or harassment including but not limited to discrimination or harassment on the basis of disability, race, color, or national origin.
        5. AR# 6.11.001 – Ethics establishes responsibility for employee behavior and sets expectations to demonstrate the highest ethical conduct, exercise authority in good faith, and comply with all College, state and federal laws and regulations.

The following definitions within ACC Policy can be found in the Administrative Rules. Those definitions as defined by Texas Law can be found in the Texas Penal Code.

  • Definitions Within ACC Policy
        1. Affirmative Consent means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. Affirmative consent is required for any sexual activity to occur between two or more individuals. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that the person has the affirmative consent of the other(s) to engage in the sexual activity.
        2. Bullying is conduct, which includes acts, or language or both, that the sufficiently serve, persistent, or pervasive enough to adversely affect the employee’s ability to function productively in the workplace.
        3. Coercion is the improper use of pressure to compel another individual to initiate or continue sexual activity against that individual’s will. Consent obtained through coercion is not valid. Coercion can include a wide range of behaviors, including intimidation, manipulation, threats, and blackmail. A person’s words or conduct are sufficient to constitute coercion if they wrongfully impair another individual’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. The College will evaluate the following in determining whether coercion was used:
          1. the frequency of the application of pressure,
          2. the intensity of the pressure,
          3. the degree of isolation of the person being pressured, and
          4. the duration of the pressure.
        4. Dating Violence is physical acts of assault or threats of assault, detainment, or unwanted touching committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the person subjected to such violence. Whether there was such a relationship will be determined based on, among other factors, the Complainant’s and Respondent’s statements, and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the Parties involved in the relationship.
        5. Domestic Violence involves physical acts of assault or threats of assault, detainment, or unwanted touching committed by:
          1. a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
          2. a person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
          3. a person who is cohabiting with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
          4. a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Texas; or
          5. any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws in the State of Texas.
        6. Force is the use or threat of physical violence to overcome an individual’s freedom of will to choose whether or not to participate in sexual activity or provide consent. Consent obtained by force is not valid. For the use of force to be demonstrated, there is no requirement that a Complainant resist the sexual advance or request. However, evidence of resistance by the Complainant will be viewed as a clear demonstration of a lack of consent.
        7. Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, or genetic information.
        8. Incapacitation is a state where an individual cannot make an informed and rational decision to engage in sexual activity because of a lack of conscious understanding of the fact, nature, or extent of the act and/or is physically helpless. An individual will also be considered incapacitated if the person cannot understand the nature of the activity or communicate due to a mental or physical condition. 
        9. Intimidation is the use of implied threats to overcome an individual’s freedom of will to choose whether or not to participate in sexual activity or provide consent. Consent obtained by intimidation is not valid.
        10. Sexual Harassment is defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as, “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” There are two types of sexual harassment:
          1. Quid Pro Quo is the request for sexual favors, when submission to or rejection of such request becomes a basis for employment or academic related decisions.
          2. Hostile Environment is when an atmosphere is fused with unwelcome sexual conduct that interferes with an individual’s job performance or learning environment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
        11. Racial Harassment is conduct which includes racially derogatory remarks, racial slurs or any other racially motivated action.  Provisions of this Rule will be applied without regard to the race of the employee(s) involved.
        12. Sexual Assault forms include the following:
          1. Non-consensual sexual penetration (rape);
          2. Non-consensual sexual contact (fondling);
          3. Non-forcible- unlawful, non-forcible sexual intercourse (incest or statutory rape).
        13. Stalking occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.
  • Definitions within Texas State Law
        1. Texas Family Code Section 71.0021 - Dating Violence: “an act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by an individual that is committed against a victim with whom the actor has or has had a dating relationship; or because of the victim’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the actor is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage; and is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. ‘Dating relationship’ means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of the length of the relationship; the nature of the relationship; and the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a ‘dating relationship.’”
        2. Texas Family Code Section 71.004 - Domestic (Family) Violence: “an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself, or abuse by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household, or dating violence.”
        3. Texas Penal Code Section 42.072 - Stalking: “a person who, on more than one occasion and pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct that is directed specifically at another person, knowingly engages in conduct that: (1) the person knows or reasonably believes the other person will regard as threatening including bodily injury or death for the other person, bodily injury or death for a member of the other person’s family or household or for an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship, or fear that an offense will be committed against the other person’s property, and (2) causes the other person, a member of the other person's family or household, or an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship to be placed in fear of bodily injury or death or fear that an offense will be committed against the other person's property, and (3) would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or death for himself or herself, or bodily injury or death for a member of the person's family or household or for an individual with whom the person has a dating relationship, or fear that an offense will be committed against the person’s property. A fact finder may find that different types of conduct described above, if engaged in on more than one occasion, constitute conduct that is engaged in pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct.”
        4. Texas Penal Code Section 22.011 - Sexual Assault: “a person commits an offense if the person (1) intentionally or knowingly causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person's consent; causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person's consent; or causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person's consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or (2) intentionally or knowingly causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means; causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor; causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor.
          A sexual assault is without the consent of the other person if: the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by the use of physical force or violence; the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against the other person, and the other person believes that the actor has the present ability to execute the threat; the other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person is unconscious or physically unable to resist; the actor knows that as a result of mental disease or defect the other person is at the time of the sexual assault incapable either of appraising the nature of the act or of resisting it; the other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person is unaware that the sexual assault is occurring; the actor has intentionally impaired the other person's power to appraise or control the other person's conduct by administering any substance without the other person's knowledge; the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against any person, and the other person believes that the actor has the ability to execute the threat; the actor is a public servant who coerces the other person to submit or participate; or the actor is a mental health services provider or a health care services provider who causes the other person, who is a patient or former patient of the actor, to submit or participate by exploiting the other person's emotional dependency on the actor. ‘Child’ means a person younger than 17 years of age. ‘Spouse’ means a person who is legally married to another.”
        5. Consent: The state of Texas does not have a standalone definition of consent, in relation to sexual activity. However, sexual assault is considered without consent of the other person if the conditions outlined in the 2nd paragraph of the sexual assault definition (Sec. 22.011 (b)) are met.
  • Protected Classes
    • Workplace Discrimination and Harassment: Protected Classes

      Under state and federal laws, individuals with the following identifiable characteristics are considered to be a part of a protected class of people.

      • Race
      • Color
      • National Origin
      • Religion
      • Age
      • Sexual Orientation
      • Gender
      • Disability
      • Genetic Information
      • Veteran Status