U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Subject: INFORMATION: Sexual Harassment Reporting Requirements
Date: NOV 2 2007
From: Frederick D. Isler
Associate Administrator for Civil Rights
To: Associate Administrators
Chief Financial Officer
Directors of Field Services
Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers
Resource Center Director
In Reply Refer to: HCR-1
The purpose of this memorandum is to provide the leadership team with information on new reporting requirements for dealing with allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. Attached to this memorandum is information provided by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explaining the meaning of sexual harassment.
As you are aware, it has been the longstanding policy of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration (FHW A) to maintain a work environment free of any form of discrimination including sexual harassment. Effective immediately, any supervisor or manager who becomes aware of a credible allegation of sexual harassment must report the incident to the head of an organizational unit in which the infraction occurred, i.e. Director of Field Services, Associate Administrators, and Executive Director. The designated management official must then forward the allegation to the Associate Administrators for Administration and Civil Rights for assessment, coordination, and advisory services.
This procedure is necessary to ensure that we are properly addressing sexual harassment allegations or other misconduct which may adversely impact the FHWA's organizational climate. Furthermore, this guidance is in no way intended to replace or circumvent the current internal discrimination complaint process. If employees believe that they have been subjected to discrimination, they are encouraged to consult with an EEO counselor or the Office of Civil Rights about procedures and rights pertaining to the internal complaint process.
You are encouraged to forward a copy of this memorandum to all subordinate supervisors,
managers, and staff under your management authority. If you have any questions or
concerns regarding this matter, please feel free to contact Brenda Armstead at
(202) 366-1583. You may also contact your servicing human resources office.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other
verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual
harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's
work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:
It is helpful for the victim to inform the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. The victim should use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available.
When investigating allegations of sexual harassment, EEOC looks at the whole record: the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination on the allegations is made from the facts on a case-by case basis.
Prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the
workplace. Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to
prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They should clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment will not be
tolerated. They can do so by providing sexual harassment training to their employees and by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains.
It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on sex or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under Title VII.
In Fiscal Year 2006, EEOC received 12,025 charges of sexual harassment. 15.4% of those charges were filed by males. EEOC resolved 11,936 sexual harassment charges in FY 2006 and recovered $48.8 million in monetary benefits for charging parties and other aggrieved individuals (not including monetary benefits obtained through litigation).