Protected characteristics

The University of Southern California’s policies protect its community members from discrimination or harassment based on protected characteristics, which are generally found and defined in federal, state, or local laws and regulations. For example:

Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e):

  • Protects applicants and employees from discrimination based on color, national origin, race, religion, and sex

California Fair Employment & Housing Act (Cal. Gov. Code § 12940):

  • Protects applicants and employees based on actual or perceived age, ancestry, color, denial of family and medical care leave, disability (mental and physical) including HIV/AIDS, gender identity and gender expression, marital status, medical condition, military and veteran status, national origin, race, religion, sex/gender, and sexual orientation

The Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12101), the Rehabilitation Act (‎29 U.S.C. § 701), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. § 1400):

  • Protects students, applicants, and employees from discrimination based on disability status, and requires reasonable accommodations to allow equal access to education and employment

The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (42 U.S.C. § 6101):

  • Prohibits discrimination based on age in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance

USC policy protects individuals from discrimination or harassment based on the following protected characteristics:

  • race
  • color
  • national origin
  • ancestry
  • religion
  • sex
  • gender, gender identity, gender expression
  • sexual orientation
  • age
  • disability
  • medical condition
  • marital status
  • pregnancy
  • veteran status
  • genetic information
  • any other characteristic which may be specified in laws and regulations

Related USC policies

Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Non-Discrimination

Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault

Student Misconduct – Sexual, Interpersonal and Protected Class Misconduct

Faculty Handbook Chapter 6 – Providing a Safe Educational and Work Environment

Contact information

You may contact OED to report discrimination or harassment based on any of the above characteristics by:

(213) 740-5086


Mail or in person
USC Office of Equity and Diversity/Title IX
USC Credit Union Building
3720 South Flower Street, 2nd Floor