No employee should be subjected to harassing behavior. If an employee knows of, witnesses, or believes he/she has been subjected to harassing conduct, discrimination, or retaliation, he/she should report it promptly to his/her supervisor, any other supervisor or manager, his/her servicing Human Resources office, or the Office of the Inspector General. Notifying management by reporting through one of these avenues allows the Department to ensure that the conduct is stopped, an investigation is conducted, and anyone engaging in misconduct is held accountable.
It is important that supervisors and managers protect employees who report alleged misconduct, and do not take any retaliatory personnel action against these individuals in order to deter reporting harassing conduct or filing a complaint.
Additional Rights and Consultation Options
Employees who have experienced harassing conduct, discrimination, or retaliation also have multiple resources available that can provide assistance, avenues for remedies, and/or advice. These resources include:
- The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights (ODICR) performs all functions relating to civil rights, equal opportunity programs, and affirmative employment in the Department including investigation of allegations of discrimination for Office of the Secretary employees. The Office of Civil Rights can also assist in identifying your servicing EEO office and advise you on your rights if you have experienced illegal harassment or discrimination.
- The Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution (CADR) offers employees the ability to speak to Ombuds and conflict management professionals, who will listen to the concerns of employees, assist them in exploring possible solutions to difficult problems, and where appropriate, help the employee seek resolution and conciliation. Ombuds work independently from management’s chain of command and are impartial. CORE PLUS neutrals are qualified, certified providers of conflict management and alternative dispute resolution services. Conversations with ombuds and other CORE PLUS neutrals are confidential and informal and provide managers and employees a safe place to explore options for addressing individual or organizational concerns. Ombuds and CORE PLUS neutrals are not obliged to report discussions (outside of imminent risk of harm). All Bureaus/Offices now have dedicated Ombuds assigned to assist employees in that organization.
- The DOI Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers professional, confidential counseling and consultation that can help you resolve these issues and offer additional assistance. Services are available at no cost to you or members of your family. DOI has contracted with the EAP provider Espyr. Espyr has caring, professional counselors who can assist you in a work-related or personal crisis. Espyr provides comprehensive EAP services, including assistance with emotional issues, work problems, substance abuse, supervisory training, stress, marital/family concerns, financial matters, legal issues, elder care resources, and childcare referrals. Espyr also offers assessment, short-term counseling, and referral services to help you identify and clarify your concerns, consider available options, and develop a plan of action to create solutions that work. Espyr has offices nationwide.
- The Office of Law Enforcement and Security (OLES) coordinates the Department's Victim Assistance Programs, which assist victims and witnesses of crimes with information about their rights and relevant resources and assistance available to them.
- Employees who are covered by a bargaining unit can consult with a union representative and may file a grievance in accordance with the provisions of the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement.
- Employees may file an administrative grievance in accordance with 370 DM 771, Administrative Grievance Procedures.
- The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) provides a secure channel through which current and former federal employees and applicants for federal employment may make confidential disclosures and report violations of prohibited personnel practices, including harassment based on marital status and political affiliation and reprisal for whistleblowing.
Other Offices Available to Assist Employees
- The Office of Human Capital (OHC) is the premier human capital partner leading the Department's human resource strategic planning efforts by providing policies, solutions, oversight and guidance to further the Department's overall mission. OHC develops employee relations policy, as well as oversees the Department’s workplace injury and violence in the workplace functions. Find your servicing HR office on OHC's Human Capital Crossroads website.
- The Office of Inspector General (OIG) provides independent oversight and promotes excellence, integrity, and accountability within the programs, operations, and management of the Department. The Office of the Inspector General has an anonymous toll-free hotline available to employees to report allegations of waste, fraud, or abuse.
- The Departmental Ethics Office provides advice and counsel on a wide variety of ethics-related issues, including misuse of positions and government resources.
- The Office of the Solicitor (SOL) performs legal work for the Department, including the management of the Department’s Ethics Office.