Update on Anti-Harassment Efforts (June 13, 2018)

Dear NIH Family,

In December I outlined initial steps to bolster our policies and programs to prevent and address workplace harassment at the National Institutes of Health. Since then, a trans-NIH committee has met weekly to develop the new policy, programs, and tools. The committee is led by NIH Principal Deputy Director Dr. Lawrence Tabak and has diverse representation across NIH job functions. Through the work of the committee, a new NIH anti-harassment policy has been developed to foster a safe and respectful work environment for all NIH employees. The policy is currently in review with the Office of the General Counsel.

While the policy is being finalized, numerous efforts are progressing and will launch soon, including:

  • a new, centralized process for managing reports of harassment established with the Civil Program in the NIH Office of Human Resources. This office receives allegations and oversees investigations of workplace harassment and other inappropriate behaviors.
  • a new hotline for reporting incidents of harassment either anonymously or non-anonymously, receiving information about options, next steps, and other internal and external resources.
  • a new web-based intake form to submit reports of harassment either anonymously or non-anonymously.
  • an NIH-wide survey managed by the Scientific Workforce Diversity Office, to be conducted in the fall. It will collect baseline information from the NIH community to help us better understand the incidence and prevalence of harassment within NIH and the effects of workplace harassment on career trajectories.

Dr. Tabak will provide an update on these efforts at the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) meeting on Thursday, June 14 at 3:00 p.m. ACD meetings are broadcast through the NIH Videocast website, and we invite you to watch.

In addition to the Civil Program, there are a wide variety of employee assistance resources available to the NIH community:

  • The Employee Assistance Program 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.
  • The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion oversees the 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).
  • The Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE) helps meet the needs of trainees across all Institutes and Centers at the NIH. This resource exists solely for trainees and OITE has extensive practice working in tandem with the Civil Program on harassment related issues.
  • The Office of the Ombudsman provides a full range of dispute resolution programs and services, including coaching, facilitation, mediation, and partnering agreements. This resource is also confidential.

We will keep you informed as we continue to make progress on the additional components of the NIH Anti-Harassment program.

I want to emphasize again that NIH is committed to an enterprise that is collegial, respectful, and productive. Let us work together to achieve a supportive and positive workplace.

With gratitude for all that you do to further our mission,

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.