The Office of the Solicitor (SOL) is committed to providing its employees with a safe and civil workplace. The SOL management is committed to responding promptly to allegations of harassing conduct, conducting appropriate investigations or inquiries into such allegations, and holding individuals accountable when allegations are substantiated.
This site has been designed to educate SOL employees, encourage bystander intervention, and provide resources to individuals who have experienced, witnessed, or received a report of harassing conduct.
As described in Section 5.A. of DOI Personnel Bulletin 18-01, the conduct prohibited by the Department includes, but is broader than, the legal definitions of harassment and sexual harassment. Harassing conduct prohibited by Personnel Bulletin 18-01 is defined as unwelcome conduct, verbal or physical, including intimidation, ridicule, insult, comments, or physical conduct, that is based on an individual’s protected status or protected activities under this policy, when:
Protected status is defined as an individual’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, family medical history (including genetic information), status as a parent, marital status, or political affiliation. Protected activities under this policy are defined in Section 5.B. of DOI Personnel Bulletin 18-01.
Although not every instance of inappropriate behavior may meet the legal definition of harassment, such behavior undermines morale and the Department's mission. Accordingly, the misconduct prohibited by Personnel Bulletin 18-01 is broader than the definition of illegal harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to ensure that appropriate officials are notified of, and can promptly correct, harassing conduct. Harassment becomes illegal when enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment or the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive as to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. All harassing conduct, as defined above, is a violation of Personnel Bulletin 18-01.
Employees are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including removal, for engaging in harassing conduct while in the workplace or in any work-related situation, including while on official travel. Off-duty misconduct may subject the employee to potential discipline if the misconduct is likely to have an adverse effect on the Department (e.g., harassing a co-worker, visitor, contractor, or volunteer during off-duty hours). Harassing conduct can occur in person, through phone calls or in writing, or through the use of social media, or other forms of technology.
A bystander is a witness who is in a position to know what is happening and to take action. Bystanders can be classified as "active" or "passive." Passive bystanders do not speak up, and they feel powerless to stop the inappropriate behavior. They typically:
Active bystanders intervene by telling the person displaying the inappropriate behavior that their action is not acceptable. They typically:
Tips for Bystander Intervention
As described in Section 5.C. of DOI Personnel Bulletin 18-01, the Department cannot correct harassing conduct if a supervisor, manager, or other Department official is not aware of it. Any employee who has been subjected to harassing conduct is encouraged to inform the person(s) responsible for the conduct that it is unwelcome and offensive, and request that it cease. If the conduct continues, is severe, or if the employee is uncomfortable addressing the responsible person(s) about the conduct, the employee is encouraged to report the matter to:
Employees who know of or witness possible harassing conduct directed at others are expected to report the matter to any of the officials or offices listed above.
Reports made pursuant to Personnel Bulletin 18-01 do not replace, substitute, or otherwise satisfy the separate obligations of an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint, negotiated or administrative grievance, or other complaint process. Unlike the policy described in Personnel Bulletin 18-01, other complaint procedures typically provide for remedial relief to the victims. See Section 9 of DOI Personnel Bulletin 18-01 for more information about how an employee may pursue rights under one of these separate processes, in addition to reporting the misconduct under the policy of Personnel Bulletin 18-01.
Engaging in additional processes and services available to support employees who have experienced harassing conduct, such as consulting with a union representative to get advice, engaging in alternative dispute resolution procedures, consulting an ombuds/CORE PLUS neutral, or contacting the employee assistance program, do not constitute a report under this policy. See Section 10 of DOI Personnel Bulletin 18-01 for additional information.
 Ombuds and other CORE PLUS neutrals are available to discuss any workplace-related concern, including those related to harassing or inappropriate conduct. Ombuds, in particular, work independently from management’s chain of command, are impartial, and help with both individual and systemic issues.
The confidential information will be available to only the following SOL personnel:
In the event that the harassing conduct allegation relates to conduct by any of the individuals listed above, employees may alternatively report the allegations directly to the Department’s Office of Human Capital for appropriate action:
Chief Human Capital Officer Raymond Limon, 202-208-5310, email@example.com.
Because managers and supervisors are required to take prompt and appropriate interim measures when serious harassment is alleged, the Division of General Law's Employment and Labor Law Unit has established a Harassment Email Hotline (SOLfirstname.lastname@example.org) to which management can submit requests for immediate, same-day legal advice. More information can be found at the ELLU Harassment Email Hotline Website.
The DOI EAP is an employee benefit program that helps employees with personal and/or work-related problems that may impact their job performance, health, and mental and emotional well-being.
The DOI Ombuds Office can provide employees with confidential, neutral, informal, and independent training, facilitation, dialogue, and coaching. They can help with:
If you need to talk to someone off the record, contact Ombudsman Brian Bloch by phone at 301-814-7262 or via email at email@example.com.