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For NIH Staff
NIH is committed to creating and maintaining a work environment that is free of harassment and other inappropriate conduct in the NIH community. Harassment, including sexual harassment, is unacceptable and will be handled with administrative and/or legal action, as appropriate. The information below applies to all NIH employees, contractors, trainees and visitors.
NIH Policies and Expectations
No FEAR Act
The Notification and Federal Employee Anti-discrimination and Retaliation (No FEAR) Act of 2002 (Public Law No. 107-174) is a law aimed at improving Federal agency accountability for ensuring that employees who pursue claims under the federal administrative equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaint process and who engage in whistleblower activities know their rights and are protected against retaliation for reporting a claim.
For more information on the primary purpose of the No FEAR and No FEAR Data visit the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion NoFEAR Act webpage.
Activities and Initiatives
Numerous efforts are underway to bolster NIH’s policies and programs, and prevent and address incidents of workplace sexual harassment at NIH. These include:
Policies and Processes:
- Implementing new and strengthened NIH Policies on Preventing and Addressing Harassment and Inappropriate Conduct as well as Personal Relationships in the Workplace.
- Centralizing the reporting and inquiry process through the NIH Office of Human Resources (OHR) Civil Program, for handling allegations of harassment with multiple channels for reporting including an Anti-Harassment Hotline and web intake form.
- Requiring every NIH Institute and Center to develop a tailored plan of concrete actions to prevent and address harassment.
Training and Education:
- Creating new training modules and materials available on the Civil website to inform the NIH community of the new policies and tools.
- Updating the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) mandatory anti-harassment training to include the Notification and Federal Employee Anti-discrimination and Retaliation (No FEAR) and Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) training with customized scenarios for various NIH workplace settings.
- Increasing the frequency of this training from every two years to annually for all NIH Federal employees, trainees, fellows, and contractors.
- Developing a new training program through the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) specifically for trainees to ensure understanding of the NIH policies, emphasize trainee rights, and educate trainees on the reporting procedures.
NIH Presentations and Events:
- December 12, 2019: Presentation to the Advisory Committee to the Director on the NIH Workplace Climate and Harassment Survey
- December 7, 2018: (NIH only) Town Hall on the new NIH Anti-Harassment Program
Workplace Climate and Harassment Survey:
- Conducted an agency-wide Workplace Climate and Harassment survey in early 2019 to better understand workplace climate and sexual harassment at NIH, and the effect workplace climate and sexual harassment has on NIH career trajectories. The survey Final Report and related products are publicly available on the Scientific Workforce Diversity website.
NIH Civil Program
The NIH Civil Program conducts administrative inquiries into reports by NIH employees, contractors, trainees, and visitors of uncivil, disruptive, or harassing workplace behaviors. This also includes behaviors of concern that may lead to acts of violence, such as bullying, intimidation, threats, suicidal ideation, and domestic violence.
Employee Assistance Program
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides personalized consultation, short-term support, and wellness counseling. Counselors can also connect individuals to other NIH resources and the outside community.
EAP services are strictly confidential.
Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion oversees the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint process if an individual feels discriminated against because of race, religion, color, national origin, age (older than 40), physical or mental disability, or sex, as well as individuals who feel that they have been retaliated against for opposing employment discrimination, filing a complaint of discrimination, or participating in the EEO complaint process (even if the complaint is not theirs).
Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE)
The Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE) helps meet the needs of trainees across all NIH Institutes and Centers. This resource exists solely for trainees, and OITE has extensive practice working in tandem with the Civil Program on harassment-related issues.
Office of the Ombudsman
The Office of the Ombudsman provides a full range of dispute resolution programs and services, including coaching, facilitation, mediation, and partnering agreements.
Ombudsman Office assistance is strictly confidential.
This page last reviewed on February 8, 2021