Anti-harassment Policy Statement


January 31, 2020

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is committed to a workplace free of harassment and free of fear of reprisal for taking action to stop, oppose or prevent harassment in the workplace.

Harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct (whether verbal, physical, or visual) that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion towards an individual based on a person's protected status.  Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.  Harassment (sexual or nonsexual) occurs when such conduct is a condition of a person's job; is used for employment decisions; creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment; or interferes with the performance of an employee's duties.  This also includes harassment in retaliation or reprisal for filing a discrimination charge; testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under the EEO laws; or for opposing employment practices reasonably believed discriminatory.  Harassment in any form is inappropriate, unacceptable and will not be tolerated.  ACF will take immediate and appropriate corrective action if harassment occurs.

ACF employees should bring their concerns regarding harassment to their supervisor, a member of their management team, or to the ACF’s Office of Diversity Management and Equal Employment Opportunity (ODME).  All allegations of harassment/hostile work environment will be investigated immediately as part of the ACF’s anti-harassment program.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Human Resources, Workforce Relations Division, is responsible for conducting a limited, impartial and confidential inquiry or investigation to ensure that immediate and appropriate action is taken to eliminate harassing conduct, regardless of whether a violation of an EEO law is alleged.

The ACF’s EEO complaint process is available for ACF employees and applicants for ACF employment to seek remedial relief in cases of proven violations to the anti-harassment and anti-retaliation laws and regulations.  The EEO complaint process regulations at 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1614, require aggrieved individuals who wish to pursue an EEO complaint to contact an EEO Counselor to begin the informal complaint process within 45 calendar days of the date of the alleged discriminatory, harassing, or retaliatory action, or in the case of a personnel action, within 45 calendar days of the effective date of the personnel action.  The EEO counseling telephone to contact is (202) 205-1592 (voice) or (202) 401-4560 (TDD/voice).  It is important to notice that failure to adhere to this 45-calendar day limitation period may result in complaint dismissal if the complaint is filed in the formal EEO complaint process.

ODME is the ACF office responsible for processing EEO complaints filed by ACF employees and job applicants.  EEO complaints are processed in an impartial and confidential manner in accordance with 29 CFR Part 1614.  ODME will determine which complaints should be accepted for investigation in the formal complaint process.  Investigations are completed within 180 calendar days of the complaint filing date.  Based on the outcome of the investigation, the complaint may be adjudicated to determine the merits and appropriate remedial action.  (In complaints involving an action that may be appealed to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, the complaint investigation must be completed within 120 calendar days of the complaint filing date.)

For more information or training on preventing harassment or about the EEO complaint process, please contact ODME at the telephone numbers provided.

/s/                                                                                    /s/

Laura M. Irizarry, Esq.                                                    Lynn A. Johnson
Acting Director, ODME                                                   Assistant Secretary
                                                                                          for Children and Families

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