2325.8 ADM General Services Administration (GSA) Policy Statement on Harassment, Including Sexual and Non-sexual
GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
Washington, DC 20405
December 18, 2015
SUBJECT: General Services Administration (GSA) Policy Statement on Harassment, Including Sexual and Non-sexual
1. Purpose. This directive upholds and defines the GSA policy on harassment (sexual harassment and sexual misconduct). This policy amends the GSA well-established commitment to provide a workplace free from harassment. The GSA harassment policy ensures that GSA is taking all reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring and to address such conduct before it becomes severe or pervasive.
2. Cancellation. This policy cancels GSA Order, ADM 2325.7 General Services Administration (GSA) Policy Statement on Harassment, including Sexual and Non-sexual, dated December 15, 2014, and rescinds and replaces any and all existing policy statements in GSA Regional offices regarding harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.
3. Policy. It is the Agency's policy that GSA shall be free from harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. GSA employees are expected to maintain the highest standard of conduct to ensure proper performance of the agency's business. Employees, who report harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, are protected against retaliation.
a. Harassment violates Federal law and policy if it is based on race, religion, color, sex (with or without sexual conduct and including pregnancy, sexual orientation, transgender status/gender identity, and sex-stereotyping), national origin, or retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; age under Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; disability (physical and mental) under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended under the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008; and genetic information under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. In addition, all employees and applicants are to be free from harassment without regard to their sexual orientation or gender identity under Executive Order 13672 (signed July 21, 2014); parental status under Executive Order 13152 (signed May 2, 2000); and/or marital status and political affiliation under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.
Harassment in this context refers to unwelcome verbal or written comment or physical conduct that is so objectively offensive that it alters the terms or conditions of employment or creates a hostile work environment. Harassment is actionable when the conduct results in a tangible change in an employee's employment status or conditions of employment (for example, demotion, termination, etc.), or is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile work environment. GSA has no tolerance for harassment or for retaliation based on reporting harassment.
b. Sexual harassment, as used in this policy statement, means:
(1) Any conduct of a sexual nature, without limitation, through spoken or written communication, gestures or physical contact, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors where acceptance or rejection could affect employment decisions, remarks containing sexual content, or displays of sexually suggestive materials;
(2) Any conduct of a sexual nature that an employee knows or reasonably should know is unwelcome by those to whom it is directed or who witness it;
(3) Any conduct of a sexual nature that is intended, or is reasonably understood as being intended, to threaten, harass, coerce, intimidate, or offend.
c. Sexual misconduct, as used in this policy statement, means sexual harassment or any conduct of a sexual nature by or between employees that interferes with the performance of their official duties or the official duties of other employees, including conduct that results in or gives the appearance of resulting in favoritism in employment decisions concerning one of the participants.
d. Any employee who believes that he or she has been the victim of harassment, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct should promptly bring the matter to the attention of a management official, a Human Resources official, or an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) official. Any manager or supervisor who learns of an allegation of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, must promptly, thoroughly, and impartially conduct an inquiry into the allegation in consultation with Human Resources or EEO staff. If the allegation is sustained after an inquiry, GSA will take appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including removal action, against employees who engage in sexual harassment or sexual misconduct and, if warranted, also against managers and supervisors who fail to take swift and appropriate corrective action.
e. Any employee who wishes to initiate an EEO complaint arising out of an alleged incident of harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, must contact an EEO official within 45 calendar days of the date of the incident. Employees should not wait until a GSA internal inquiry is completed to contact an EEO official if waiting will result in the 45-day time limit expiring.
f. Any employee who believes that he or she has been the victim of harassment may opt to participate in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and may seek assistance through the EEO program or alternative avenues of redress available in the employee's work area.
g. It is strictly voluntary for the aggrieved person/complainant to participate in ADR. If ADR is offered and accepted by the aggrieved person/complainant, it is mandatory for management to participate in ADR unless the Associate Administrator for Civil Rights determines ADR would be inappropriate.
h. Additional information on how to contact an EEO official or regarding EEO laws, regulations, or policies and procedures is available on the GSA Office of Civil Rights website (www.gsa.gov/civilrights).
i. For a harassment claim involving sexual orientation or gender identity brought under Executive Order 13672 "Further Amendments to Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government, and Executive Order 11246, Equal Employment Opportunity" (signed July 21, 2014); and/or Executive Order 11246, “Equal Employment Opportunity” (signed September 24, 1965), an employee may pursue a claim through the EEO process. An employee may also seek assistance, as appropriate, from: the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) www.opm.gov at (202) 606-1800; the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) www.mspb.gov at (202) 653-7200; and/or the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) https://osc.gov at (202) 254-3670 or (800) 872-9855. Certain claims may be filed under the “GSA Administrative Grievance Procedures” (GSA directive OAD P 9771.1A). However, a decision that is appealable to the MSPB or subject to final administrative review of the OPM or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under law or regulations of the OPM or the EEOC is excluded from the “GSA Administrative Grievance Procedures.”
j. Parental Status, Marital Status, or Political Affiliation Claims. For a claim of harassment based on parental status under Executive Order 13152, “Further Amendment to Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment in the Federal Government” (signed May 2, 2000), and/or marital status or political affiliation under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, an employee may attempt resolution through the EEO pre-complaint (informal) process, which includes counseling and ADR, if accepted by the employee. These claims will not be part of the formal EEO complaint process. Additionally, an employee who feels that he or she has been subjected to unfair treatment due to one of these bases may pursue the claim, as appropriate, with the Office of Personnel Management (www.opm.gov) at (202) 606-1800; the Merit Systems Protection Board (www.mspb.gov) at (202) 653-7200; and/or the Office of Special Counsel (https://osc.gov) at (202) 254-3670 or (800) 872-9855. Please be advised that attempts to resolve a parental status, marital status, or political affiliation claim through GSA's informal EEO process may not suspend the time frames for pursuing such claims in other administrative forums.
k. Nothing in this policy is intended to limit the independent authority of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) under the Inspector General Reform Act with regards to OIG's program and personnel.
DENISE TURNER ROTH