Students walk on the Ohio State campus

Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity

The Ohio State University is a diverse community of people and ideas. As part of the university’s shared values of diversity and innovation and inclusion and equity, Ohio State aims to be a standard of excellence for employment equity in higher education.

The Office of Institutional Equity supports these goals by coordinating the university’s employment equity efforts, including the Affirmative Action Program and Equal Employment Opportunity initiatives. 



What is Affirmative Action?

Affirmative Action is the university’s legal obligation to make good faith efforts to expand employment opportunities and remove identified barriers to the recruitment and advancement of under-represented individuals.

Affirmative action regulations include very specific requirements that apply to the university’s employment processes, to ensure these processes are free of bias and discrimination and equal employment opportunity is provided to all applicants and employees.  Affirmative action regulations require the university to create and maintain an Affirmative Action Program (AAP) which is described in detail below.

What is Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)?

EEO is a legally required set of standards designed to ensure all employment policies, processes, and decisions provide equal opportunity and are free of discrimination for all applicants and employees. While affirmative action contains very specific requirements, EEO is a broad principle-based requirement that everyone involved in the university’s employment processes must work to advance.

Affirmative Action, EEO, and Shared Values

As part of our Shared Values Initiative, the university has identified the shared values of Diversity and Innovation and Inclusion and Equity. These values ground all of the university’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work. This work is supported by several university offices as well as the contributions of all members of our Buckeye Community. Affirmative action and EEO are legally required practices that help us to uphold our shared institutional values in the employment context and ensure that all employment processes and decisions are not discriminatory.


Affirmative Action Program Overview

The university’s Affirmative Action Program (AAP) outlines the university’s ongoing efforts to adhere to regulatory requirements, remove identified barriers to EEO, and expand employment opportunities for females, ethnic/racial minorities, individuals with a disability, and protected veterans. 
The information below highlights the key components of the university’s AAP.

AAP Responsibilities

University Responsibilities

Administering the Affirmative Action Program, establishing and monitoring progress towards achieving recruitment goals, and eliminating employment practices that create barriers to equal employment opportunity for our applicants and employees. These efforts are coordinated by the Office of Institutional Equity but are carried out through the Office of Human Resources (OHR), Office of Academic Affairs (OAA), managers and supervisors, as well as all employees at Ohio State. 

OHR and OAA Responsibilities 

Developing employment processes and guidelines that advance AAP requirements and ensure EEO is provided in all employment actions. In addition, OAA and OHR ensure affirmative action and EEO principles are applied daily in all employment processes, decisions, and practices. This may take the form of consulting with managers about how to ensure EEO is provided during the recruitment and selection processes, partnering with units to develop strategies to achieve affirmative action recruitment goals, or providing advice and consultation to ensure equity in promotion and compensation decisions.

Manager/Supervisor Responsibilities

Knowing and advancing affirmative action and EEO principles in their unit. This could include knowing their affirmative action recruitment goals and exercising and documenting good-faith efforts to meet these goals, ensuring all recruitment and selection processes provide equal employment opportunity in their unit, and basing all hiring and promotion decisions on the qualifications of the applicants and not their demographics. Managers and supervisors complete regular affirmative action and EEO training and also seek consultation and support from OHR and OIE when needed.  

Managers and supervisors should review the AAP manager update annually.

Employee Responsibilities 

Employees are at the forefront of all affirmative action and Equal Employment Opportunity. When employees are aware of and committed to EEO, they lead the institution in carrying forward the practices and principles that make real change. Employees must know and adhere to university policy, but must also uphold EEO principles every day, as well as intervene or report barriers to achieving EEO to OIE. 

Key Terms

Affirmative Action Establishment

Identifies how the university’s colleges and units are grouped together for the annual affirmative action planning and reporting process. Each establishment has a separate set of annual affirmative action plans and reports.

The current affirmative action establishments for the university are:

  • Ohio State Columbus campus
  • OSU Wexner Medical Center
  • ATI
  • Lima
  • Mansfield
  • Marion
  • Newark
Affirmative Action Plan

Consists of (a) a narrative that identifies how the university meets affirmative action regulatory requirements to provide EEO to all applicants and employees and (b) reports that analyze key employment processes to identify any adverse impacts against females, racial/ethnic minorities, individuals with a disability, and protected veterans. Plans are created annually for each AAP establishment as part of the overarching AAP.

Good-Faith Efforts

Specific actions that the university undertakes take to fulfill its affirmative action and EEO responsibilities.

Job Group

Is composed of similarly situated job titles that share a common purpose and essential duties, skill set, and education or certification requirements.


Per affirmative action regulations, is a person whose race is non-Caucasian and who does not identify as Hispanic.

Recruitment goals

A recruitment goal serves as a target to inform recruitment efforts for females and ethnic/racial minorities – not a quota or set aside – and is based on identified underutilization of a specific demographic in our workforce.  The university must make good-faith efforts to meet these goals and document them in accordance with the university’s Record Retention Scheduled.

More information is available at


Is defined as having fewer females or racial/ethnic minorities in a job group than is reasonably expected based on the availability (which is the number of qualified individuals in the marketplace). The university is required to make good-faith efforts to recruit a workforce that mirrors the availability in the marketplace for each job group.


Affirmative Action and EEO FAQ

Why does the University have an Affirmative Action Program?

As a federal contractor, the university is required to have an AAP and abide by all affirmative action and EEO regulations. 

How is underutilization determined in our workforce?

The university analyzes existing workforce data, census data, and faculty availability data. For each job group, we determine if the number of qualified women and racial/ethnic minorities in the labor market (availability) is significantly higher than the number that is currently employed by the university in a particular job group(utilization). 
If there is a significant disparity between availability and utilization in a job group, a recruitment goal is established for that job group.

Why do I keep seeing the terms sex and gender, when those terms are different? 

Although affirmative action regulations recognize gender, the university’s employment application and human resource information system (Workday) is set up to collect the biological sex of applicants and employees.

Which demographics are covered by affirmative action regulations?

The following demographics are covered by affirmative action regulations: 

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • National origin
  • Protected veterans
  • Individuals with a disability

However, the university’s formal affirmative action program only collects and analyzes employment data based on sex, race, ethnicity, disability status, and protected veteran status. 

What demographics are INCLUDED IN EEO regulations?

As identified in the Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct policy, the university has 17 protected classes including: 
age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, veteran status, or any other bases under the law.

The university’s Nondiscrimination notice is available at: 

Affirmative Action and EEO Recruitment Requirements 

As an affirmative action employer, the university is required to make good faith efforts to recruit qualified and qualified individuals from a variety of backgrounds, demographics, and perspectives. In support of this, the university’s recruitment, selection, and promotion processes must provide equal opportunity to all applicants and ensure applicant demographics are not considered in any way. 

To ensure that our processes are effective and compliant, all individuals who participate in the recruitment, selection, and/or hiring process should complete the Affirmative Action and EEO Recruitment and Selection Basics training. More information on this training is available.




Affirmative Action and EEO Recruitment Resources

AAEEO Applicant and Recruitment FAQ

Provides information for evaluating EEO compliance in the recruitment and selection processes.

AA/EEO policy

The university is committed to equal opportunity, affirmative action, and eliminating discrimination.


EEO Recruitment Selection and Hiring Tips

Provides the key EEO requirements for recruitment and selection processes to support all applicants receiving equal opportunity.

Affirmative Action and EEO Recruitment and Selection Basics

This course provides an overview of the Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity requirements that apply to the recruitment, selection, and hiring processes.

Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability

Provides information on why we collect the disability status of our applicants and employees and includes information on how to voluntarily disclose your status in the Workday system.

Recruitment Related Policies

Staff Recruitment and Selection

Faculty Recruitment and Selection

Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct

Establishes that all members of the university community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that maintains an environment free from sexual misconduct. 

Reasonable Accommodation

Establishes a process for processing employee requests for accommodations.

Affirmative Action and EEO Job Descriptions Requirements 

Our job descriptions define who and what we value and provide a chance for us to identify how a role supports advancing our Shared Values and mission. A job description plays a vital role in attracting and retaining qualified individuals by acting as the first impression of the university for applicants and defining responsibilities and expectations for employees. 

A well-written job description requires intentional effort to ensure that:

  • The essential functions are clearly identified 
  • The focus is on the required qualifications and experiences, not the nice to haves
  • The minimum and educational requirements have been reviewed to ensure they are necessary and do not create a barrier to EEO
  • Only physical and mental requirements that are necessary to perform an essential function are included
  • Coded language has been removed
  • Shared Values are exemplified 
  • Individuals with varied experiences and backgrounds can see themselves in the role 

The contents of a job description are an applicant’s first glance at our culture as a university. The way a job description is written also has a direct impact on the size and has a direct impact on the size and demographic make-up of the applicant pool. Job descriptions should only include requirements that are essential to the role, and should be reviewed each and every time a position is posted to ensure that it is an accurate representation of the job. Keep in mind, that when there are more requirements in a job description, the pool is likely to be smaller and less varied. Other elements of the posting, such as coded language and required educational background may unintentionally limit the pool and work against recruiting qualified applicants from multiple backgrounds, demographics, and experiences. Job descriptions are critical.





Affirmative Action and EEO Job Description Resources

Course: Creating equitable job descriptions

This course is offered monthly by OIE on Zoom and provides an overview of the key components of job descriptions and how they directly impact the diversity of applicant pools. 

Guidelines for Physical and Mental Job Requirements

This resource identifies what physical and mental job requirements are and provides tips for creating requirements that align with ADA regulations. 

Compensation Tools

A properly designed position description (PD) provides a competitive advantage when sourcing talent.





Required Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action Statements

The university is required to include a statement of nondiscriminatory policy in any bulletins, announcements, publications, catalogs, application forms, or other recruitment materials that are made available to participants, students, applicants, or employees.

Use the following statement in your materials:

The Ohio State University is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, protected veteran status, or any other basis under the law.

View the university’s affirmative action Statement of Policy

Other Affirmative Action and EEO Resources

Demographics included in affirmative action reports

Identifies which demographics are captured and analyzed as part of our affirmative action plans and identifies how the government defines those demographics.

Protected class definitions

Guidance around which individuals can be included in the protected classes identified in the university’s Nondiscrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy.