The OCC Policy Statement on Prohibiting Harassment in the Workplace
On September 27, 2010, I issued an EEO policy statement, reaffirming OCC’s commitment to diversity and equal employment opportunity. Additionally, I am committed to a workplace that is free from harassment and reprisal. The CC prohibits any behavior that creates a hostile work environment, whether it is discriminatory from a legal EEO perspective, or general misconduct, such as bullying. Behavior that results in a hostile work environment is misconduct which will be addressed in accordance with PPM 3110-36 (REV) “Discipline and Adverse Action Program.”
Harassment may be unlawful discrimination if it is based on race, color, age (40+), religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected genetic information, or retaliation. Presidential executive orders prohibit harassment based on parental status or sexual orientation. Discriminatory harassment includes, but is not limited to, any unwelcome conduct that adversely affects terms, conditions, and privileges of employment; unreasonably interferes with a person’s work performance; or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Harassment includes oral, written, or electronic communications, physical gestures or contact, images, and objects.
Bullying, a form of harassment that is not necessarily EEO-based, is defined as unwanted, offensive or malicious behavior calculated to undermine, patronize, humiliate, intimidate, or demean the recipient. Bullying can range from face-to-face encounters to “cyber-bullying” and can occur on a peer-to-peer basis, as well as between a supervisor and subordinate.
If possible, an employee who believes he or she is being harassed should communicate clearly to the other person that his or her conduct is unwelcome and must stop immediately. If problems continue, the employee should contact one of the following: a supervisor or manager, a union representative (if a bargaining unit employee), a Human Resources consultant or specialist, a Labor and Employee Relations (LER) advisor, an EEO specialist in the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI), or the Discriminatory Harassment Hotline, at 1-866-387-8974. Employees may pursue allegations of EEO-based harassment through the EEO complaint process within 45 calendar days of the latest incident of harassment or awareness of it. In certain circumstances, bargaining unit employees may elect the negotiated grievance procedure, in lieu of the EEO complaint process, within 20 workdays of the incident or awareness of it.
In response to claims of harassment, the OCC will conduct prompt, thorough, and impartial inquiries. The scope and formality of an inquiry depends on the nature of the allegations. An inquiry is required, even if the person alleging harassment asks that nothing be done or has filed an EEO complaint or negotiated grievance. We will take timely and appropriate corrective action against those who have engaged in harassment and/or retaliation.
Each of us is responsible for treating one another with professionalism and respect, and contributing to a workplace free from harassment. Please review PPM-3100-32 (REV) “Addressing Workplace Harassment” so that you are fully aware of your rights and responsibilities. If you have questions regarding EEO-based harassment, please contact the OMWI at (202)649-6460, TTY/TDD (202)649-5588 local (800)486-9228. If you have questions regarding non-EEO harassment, please contact the LER office at (202) 649-6635.