Anti-Harassment Program (Pilot)
What is the intent of the FHWA Anti-Harassment Pilot Program and its procedures?
The anti-harassment procedures provide an accountable process for management to address employee allegations of harassment and take immediate and appropriate corrective action, including interim relief and use of disciplinary actions to eliminate harassing conduct, even if such conduct does not rise to a level that would violate the law. The goal of the anti-harassment policy and procedures is to address harassing conduct at the earliest possible stage, before it can become “severe or pervasive” harassment within the meaning of anti-discrimination laws.
Is reporting harassment to the Anti-Harassment Coordinator the same as filing an equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaint?
No. The anti-harassment process is entirely separate and apart from the EEO complaint process. Reporting harassment through the EEO process may not result in prompt corrective action, especially if the aggrieved party does not waive anonymity. The EEO process should be used only when the employee believes the harassment is occurring due to discrimination or retaliation, whereas the anti-harassment coordination process can be used to address harassment regardless of the motive. While the EEO process offers the possibility of a broader range of relief for harm that has occurred, the anti-harassment program focuses on stopping the harassment and punishing the responsible party. The anti-harassment procedures do not affect rights under the EEO complaint process. This means that an employee who reports allegations of harassment in accordance with the Agency’s anti-harassment procedures has not filed an EEO complaint, and that an employee at the beginning stages of the EEO process, also could report harassment through the anti-harassment coordination process. An employee who wishes to file a discrimination complaint should contact an FHWA EEO counselor within 45 days of the alleged harassing conduct.
What is the role of managers and supervisors?
Managers and supervisors are responsible for maintaining a work environment free of harassment. Managers and supervisors who observe or are made aware of allegations of harassing conduct are required to act promptly, effectively, and in accordance with FHWA anti-harassment policy and procedures to determine whether the harassment allegations are substantiated and to take corrective or disciplinary action as appropriate and necessary.
Where should I go to report harassment?
Individuals who believe they have been victims of harassment in the FHWA workplace should report the matter immediately to their management chain, the FHWA Anti-Harassment Coordinator, an Employee Relations Specialist in the Department of Human Resources, or an EEO counselor.
What is the role of the FHWA Anti-Harassment Coordinator?
The FHWA Anti-Harassment Coordinator is responsible for serving as the Point of Contact for the Anti-Harassment Coordination process. His or her role includes, but is not limited to, receiving harassment allegations on behalf of the Agency, assisting managers and supervisors in addressing allegations of harassment, conducting training, and compiling records of harassment incidents with the objective of eliminating harassment within the Agency. For example, the Coordinator helps ensure that a proper fact finding process is completed and verifies that prompt and appropriate corrective action is taken if the Agency determines that harassing conduct has occurred.
Who is the FHWA Anti-Harassment Coordinator?
The FHWA Anti-Harassment Coordinator is:
Pamela R. Woodruff
If I report harassment, will the information provided be kept confidential?
While you cannot remain anonymous if you want the Agency to address a harassment allegation, all information provided in connection with an anti-harassment allegation shall remain confidential to the greatest extent possible in accordance with the Privacy Act. Information therefore is restricted to those who have a “need to know.” Dissemination of information may potentially occur to factfinders, the Anti-Harassment Coordinator and his/her management chain, witnesses, the alleged harasser, HCC, HR, and supervisors who are required to take action on the matter raised.
If I report harassment and then change my mind about going forward with the allegations, what happens?
The Agency is still obligated to look into the allegations raised.