Civil Process

Report a Concern

Important Note:

The Civil Program receives a wide variety of cases.  In order to properly gather facts in an objective and thorough manner, effective administrative inquiries can take several weeks.  Many factors can contribute to the time it takes to complete an inquiry, including obtaining statements from and/or scheduling interviews with multiple staff members, analyzing all the information provided, and coordinating with appropriate management officials and other stakeholders as appropriate on next steps. Please keep in mind that your communication with others, including Civil Program staff, before and during the inquiry will be considered in the findings.

Please note that anonymity is different than confidentiality, which indicates that one says is private or secret. To discuss matters with an office that operates under principles of confidentiality, please contact the Employee Assistance Program or the NIH Office of the Ombudsman.

What To Expect: The Civil Process

Civil Process Step 1


The incident may be reported either anonymously or non-anonymously. Civil staff members will contact the reporting party to discuss the facts surrounding the incident. If the reporting party chooses to remain anonymous, Civil will review the allegation to the greatest extent possible given the information available.

  • Online
  • Telephone
  • Email
  • In-Person by appointment
Civil Process Step 2


Civil Specialists will review the initial documentation to determine if an administrative inquiry is required. If they determine the matter would be more appropriately and efficiently handled by a Civil partner organization, Civil Specialists will refer the matter to the most appropriate resource(s). Those resources include, but are not limited to:

Civil Process Step 3


For those cases that require further review, Civil Specialists will notify ICO leadership and initiate an administrative inquiry. The purpose of an administrative inquiry is to ensure allegations of harassment are examined objectively and expeditiously and any inappropriate behavior is curtailed quickly through appropriate corrective action. Administrative inquiries may take a variety of forms, but generally involves collecting and reviewing documentation. Some may also include interviews with affected parties. This inquiry may be done internally by Civil Specialists or externally by a contract investigator determined on a case-by-case basis.

  • Internal Inquiry
  • External Inquiry
Civil Process Step 4


Evidence collected during the inquiry is evaluated to determine if a policy has been violated. If a policy has been violated, Civil Specialists will work with the appropriate management officials and the Employee & Labor Relations Office to develop corrective administrative actions.

  • Evidence Review
  • Varies based on the nature and complexity of the allegation
Civil Process Step 5


A close-out notification will be sent to all affected parties notifying them that the inquiry is complete and that Civil Specialists will continue to work closely with management officials to address concerns and ensure a safe and professional work environment for employees. To protect staff privacy, no further information will be provided.

  • Notification
  • Civil Follow-up
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