NNSA seeks to promotes and advocate Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action (EEO/AA) for all agency employees.
The missions of the Office of Civil Rights include creating an environment that embraces and values all of NNSA employees that is free of discrimination; planning, coordinating, and implementing the EEO/AA Program goals and policies within Department of Energy, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Office of Personnel Management guidelines; and providing exceptional customer service to NNSA employees on EEO/AA matters.
NNSA's Office of Civil Rights:
- Coordinates the NNSA EEO Counselors Program. Contact any NNSA counselor to ask questions about the EEO complaints process or to pursue informal counseling.
- Coordinates the NNSA Mediation Program. Mediation utilizes third-party neutrals to address disputes and resolve conflict. It can be any workplace-related conflict -- EEO-related or non-EEO related.
- Processes the administrative portion of any formal EEO complaint within designated timeframes.
- Provides twice per year, workforce statistics on NNSA organizations.
- Provides a year-end summary of workforce changes from the prior fiscal year.
- Maintains an educated staff to provide quality advisory services to managers, employees, applicants for employment, and other information-seekers.
- Develops and delivers required training to employees and managers to ensure continued awareness of everyone's rights and responsibilities regarding EEO and Affirmative Action while employed by NNSA.
- Call toll free 1-800-825-5256, enter 845-5517 at the voice prompt
- TTY device for hearing impaired:1-866-872-1011
NNSA Federal employees or Applicants (for Federal employment with the NNSA) must contact the NNSA Office of Civil Rights at (505) 845-5517 within 45 calendar days of the discriminatory action (or within 45 days of first becoming aware of the discriminatory action) when an NNSA employee or applicant believes that he/she has been subjected to workplace discrimination based on one or more of the following protected classes/bases: Age (40+); Color; Genetic Information; Race; National Origin; Religion; Reprisal (for previous EEO Activity); Sex (which also includes gender-based Equal Pay claims; Sexual Harassment; and Sexual Orientation); Disability (Physical and Mental); Pregnancy; or Status as a Parent.
A National Nuclear Security Administration employee or applicant for Federal employment may file an EEO complaint if the employee or applicant believes that he/she has been discriminated against based on one or more of these factors:
- Disability (Physical Or Mental)
- National Origin
- Sex (including Sexual Harassment and Sexual Orientation*)
- Genetic Information
* Prohibited by DOE policy
Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
The Department of Energy does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability (physical or mental), sexual orientation, reprisal, genetic information, or any other non-merit factor. We are committed to equal employment opportunity principles and practices in all of our management decisions and personnel practices.
The Department is committed to providing equal employment opportunity; eliminating discrimination in employment; and maintaining an environment that is free from any form of prohibited discrimination. The Department will provide a prompt, fair and impartial review, and adjudication of any allegation of discrimination.
For additional information, contact the NNSA Office of Civil Rights at (505) 845-5517. If you are concerned about anonymity, please use the toll free line. Call 1-800-TALKALO (1-800-825-5256), at the voice prompt enter 845-5517 you will be connected to the main office number.
The Role of the EEO Counselor
The EEO Counselor serves as liaison between the employee and management in the Informal EEO Counseling stage. The counselor is neither an advocate of management nor of the employee.
- Advises employees of EEO rights and responsibilities under the law.
- Meets with complainant and records the allegation of discrimination (must contact counselor within 45 calendar days of the alleged incident or personnel action.)
- Seeks out facts relevant to allegationsto resolve issues.
- Reviews agency records to secure facts.
- Interviews parties to the allegation.
Attempts a common ground resolution of the issue after talking with employees, their representatives and management officials.
For information on how to contact an NNSA EEO Counselor, please contact the Office of Civil Rights
- Call toll free 1-800-825-5256, enter 845-5517 at the voice prompt
The NNSA Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program is designed as an alternative to resolve disagreements between employees, managers, and/or peers. The program may be utilized for disputes resulting from personnel issues, alleged discrimination complaints or other types of personal disagreements that employees may encounter within their work environment. Having to deal with these types of issues, regardless of what arena they fall into, results in an environment that is not conducive to high productivity or morale.
Employees interested in pursuing ADR (for both EEO-related and non-EEO related disputes) shall contact the NNSA Office of Civil Rights via telephone to initiate the request.
Under the law, Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to qualified employees or applicants with disabilities, unless doing so would cause undue hardship.
A reasonable accommodation is any change in the workplace or the way things are customarily done that provides an equal employment opportunity to an individual with a disability. While there are some things that are not considered reasonable accommodations (e.g., removal of an essential job function or personal use items such as a hearing aid that is needed on and off the job), reasonable accommodations can cover most things that enable an individual to apply for a job, perform a job, or have equal access to the workplace and employee benefits such as kitchens, parking lots, and office events.
The NNSA is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to its employees and applicants for employment, to ensure individuals with disabilities enjoy equal access to all employment opportunities. NNSA provides reasonable accommodations:
- when an applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to compete for a job;
- when an employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job or to gain access to the workplace; and
- when an employee with a disability needs an accommodation to enjoy equal access to benefits and privileges of employment (e.g., details, trainings, office-sponsored events)
Personal Assistance Services (PAS)
On January 3, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or Commission) amended the regulations implementing Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 501), the law that prohibits the federal government from discriminating in employment on the basis of disability, and requires engagement in affirmative action for people with disabilities. As part of U.S. Federal agencies' obligation to engage in affirmative action, federal agencies are required by the new regulations to provide Personal Assistance Services (PAS) to individuals who need them because of certain disabilities. See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.203(d)(5).
PAS are services which help individuals who, because of targeted disabilities, require assistance to perform basic activities of daily living, like eating and using the restroom. "PAS" means “assistance with performing activities of daily living that an individual would typically perform if he or she did not have a disability, and that is not otherwise required as a reasonable accommodation, including, for example, assistance with removing and putting on clothing, eating, and using the restroom." For example, someone providing PAS might push a wheelchair, or assist someone with getting into or out of a vehicle at the worksite. PAS do not include, for example, performing medical procedures (e.g., administering shots) or medical monitoring (e.g., monitoring blood pressure).
Agencies are required to provide PAS to an individual if the individual is a Federal employee of the agency; and the individual has a targeted disability; and the individual requires the services because of his or her targeted disability; and the individual will be able to perform the essential functions of the job, without posing a direct threat to safety, once PAS and any required reasonable accommodations have been provided; and providing PAS will not impose undue hardship on the agency.
As with Reasonable Accommodation, NNSA Federal employees may initiate their request for PAS with their supervisor, or with the NNSA Reasonable Accommodation Program at (202)-586-7812.
The NNSA currently employs the Department of Energy’s Interim Desk Reference for Reasonable Accommodation Desk Reference, which contains the procedures employed within the NNSA for individuals requesting Reasonable Accommodation and/or PAS. Questions regarding Reasonable Accommodation or PAS may be directed to the NNSA Reasonable Accommodation Program Manager at any time at (202)-586-7812.
What constitutes Unlawful Harassment, as defined by the “DOE Secretary’s Policy Statement on Equal Employment Opportunity, Harassment, and Retaliation”?
Unlawful Harassment is defined as any unwelcome conduct (verbal, written, or physical), based on discrimination, that: (1) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee's work performance; (2) creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; or (3) affects an employee's employment opportunities or compensation.
Sexual Harassment is defined as any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature which includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, physical conduct of a sexual nature, or other similar behavior. Sexual harassment is not limited to prohibited conduct by a male employee toward a female employee. Similarly, sexual harassment is not limited to the actions of a supervisory employee toward a non-supervisory employee. For example, the harasser may be an agent of the employer, a supervisory employee who does not supervise the victim, a coworker, or a non-employee.
What if I am subjected to another’s conduct within the workplace that I perceive as offensive or objectionable, but does not quite rise to the level of constituting Unlawful Harassment (i.e., is not necessarily based on discrimination or sexual harassment, as defined above)?
It remains the responsibility of DOE and NNSA to address these types of matters before they reach the level of being deemed severe or pervasive harassment, with the goal of preventing it before employees have been subjected to actionable harm.
To effectively address workplace related harassing-type conduct which may not necessarily rise to the level of being unlawful, NNSA employs DOE Order 333.1, Administering Work Force Discipline, which distinctly informs all employees of the agency’s policy-driven prohibition of particular workplace behaviors and actions comprising or intrinsically related to harassing-type conduct, including use of abusive or offensive language; fighting; quarreling; acting aggressively; intimidating, baiting, harassing, threatening, hitting, pushing, kicking or other acts which may or may not inflict bodily harm on another; inappropriate teasing, remarks, jokes, gestures, communications, or touching (including, but not limited to, those of a sexual nature); and discourteous or inappropriate conduct involving a co-worker, subordinate, or the public.
Employees are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including removal, for exhibiting these behaviors and actions while in the workplace or in any work-related situation, including while on official travel. Off-duty misconduct may subject an employee to potential discipline if the misconduct has an adverse effect on the agency (e.g., harassing a co-worker, contractor, or visitor during off-duty hours).
How and to whom do I report harassing conduct?
The agency cannot correct harassing conduct if a supervisor, manager, or other agency official is not aware of it. Employees who know of or witness possible harassing conduct directed at others are highly encouraged to promptly report the matter to any management official, or to the NNSA Employee Relations Branch, or to the NNSA Office of Civil Rights. Managers and supervisors are prohibited from retaliating against those who report harassing conduct.
What assurance do I have that my complaint of harassing conduct will be appropriately addressed?
Management is required to act promptly and appropriately to eliminate and prevent misconduct (including harassing conduct) in our workplace. At a minimum, supervisors and managers who observe or are informed about harassing conduct are expected to:
- Immediately contact their assigned Employee Relations Specialist within the NNSA Employee Relations Branch, even if the employee raising the allegation or sharing the information with you requests confidentiality;
- work under explicit direction provided by the assigned Employee Relations Specialist, to ensure that a proper, prompt, objective, and thorough fact- finding is conducted; and
- if the allegation is substantiated, take steps to ensure that the harassing conduct is appropriately addressed to deter further misconduct, including taking commensurate disciplinary action, as appropriate.
Will my complaint of harassing conduct will kept confidential?
Supervisors/managers must take positive action to address all allegations of workplace-related harassing conduct, even if the employee raising the allegation requests confidentiality.
All reports of harassing conduct and related information is maintained on a confidential basis to the greatest extent possible. The identity of the employee alleging subjection to harassing conduct will be kept confidential, except as necessary to conduct an appropriate fact-finding into the alleged violation; to take appropriate disciplinary or corrective action; to comply with additional or other agency policy requirements, as directed; or when otherwise required by law.
Upon request by the alleged victim, the supervisor/manager should notify the alleged victim of the harassing conduct about the completion of their addressing of the matter, but only to the extent permitted under the Privacy Act; the alleged victim will not be provided with the outcome of any disciplinary action against the alleged harassing employee, and will not be provided a copy of a fact-finding report.
What are available options, with regard to requesting assistance, or for lodging a complaint of harassing conduct and/or discriminatory Harassment?
Fortunately, multiple options exist, with respect to addressing, stopping, and preventing acts of harassing conduct within our workplace. Please feel free to contact any of the below-identified resources for additional information.
Management Chain Escalation. Resolution of most problems contributing to workplace conflict (including acts of harassing conduct) are most quickly addressed and resolved via escalation through one’s respective management-chain. This is because supervisors and managers in one’s management chain are best-situated to intervene at the earliest possible time, and to effectively resolve the issue in a manner that will stand the test of time (as well as to closely monitor the workplace to prevent recurrence).
NNSA Employee Relations Branch (EMRB). Staff members of the NNSA EMRB are responsible for assisting employees and management with matters pertaining to employee misconduct (including harassing conduct), discipline, and the processing of Administrative Grievances.
An employee desiring consideration of an Administrative Grievance must first seek informal adjustment of the matter; an informal grievance should be made as soon as possible, but not later than 15 calendar days after the date of the incident or action upon which the grievance is based, or the date upon which the employee became aware of, or should have become aware of, the incident or action upon which the grievance is based.
EMRB staff members remain available to provide confidential day-to-day consultant services in support of the employee management relation function. Contact: (505) 845-5609
Mediation. In many cases, harassing conduct in the form of rude or discourteous behavior is often exhibited as a result of conflicts occurring between employees due to many various reasons (including interpersonal or professional disagreements, or variances in personality types). The NNSA’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program provides cost-free, confidential mediation services for NNSA employees, and is designed as a means to resolve many types of conflicts between employees, managers, and/or peers.
Mediation may be utilized for resolving many types of disputes resulting from personnel issues, alleged discrimination complaints, or other types of challenges employees may encounter within their work environment. Mediation involves the intervention of a third person (the mediator) into a dispute to assist the parties in negotiating jointly-acceptable resolution of the issues in conflict. The mediator meets privately with the parties at a neutral location where the parties can openly discuss the dispute, and jointly explore and develop a variety of solutions. Each party is encouraged to be open and candid about his/her point of view. The mediator, as a neutral third party, views the dispute objectively, and assists the parties in considering additional alternatives and options they might not have considered. The mediator is entirely neutral, as he or she does not stand to personally benefit from the terms of a settlement, and does not have a preconceived bias about how the conflict should be resolved. Employees interested in pursuing mediation are encouraged to contact the NNSA Office of Civil Rights. Contact: (505) 845-5517
DOE Office of the Ombudsman. An independent, neutral, confidential and informal resource available to all DOE and NNSA federal employees. Ombudsman staff members increase organizational focus on mission critical activities by helping senior leaders, managers, supervisors, and staff to minimize unwarranted distractions in the workplace; increases employee engagement; and expeditiously addresses individual and organizational matters. Employees are encouraged to contact the Ombudsman when one is uncertain about where to take a workplace problem; or would like to discuss strategies for preventing, managing, and resolving conflicts; or needs an independent facilitator to assist them in addressing workplace challenges. Contact: (202) 586-0500
NNSA Office of Civil Rights’ EEO Complaints Program. Processes complaints of discrimination, including matters involving Unlawful Harassment based on one’s Age (over 40 yrs.); Color; Disability (Physical Or Mental); National Origin; Race; Religion; Retaliation for prior protected EEO activity; Sex (including Sexual Harassment and Sexual Orientation); or Genetic Information. Entry into the EEO complaint process shall be within 45 calendar days of the date of the alleged discrimination, or within 45 calendar days from the date on which a person reasonably became aware of the discrimination. Contact: (505) 845-5517
Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EAP is a confidential, cost-free employee benefit program that helps Federal employees with personal and/or work-related problems that may impact their job performance, health, and mental and emotional well-being. EAP services include consultation for issues such as harassment, conflict resolution, and workplace violence. Information about EAP services for NNSA Federal employees is available.
What resources are available to specifically assist management with preventing harassment at the organization-level?
Realizing that each situation is unique, managers and supervisors are encouraged to contact the Employee Relations Branch, or the Office of Civil Rights, to confidentially discuss particular concerns or objectives, and to jointly develop a tailored, effective approach.
Allegations of unlawful (based on discrimination) workplace Harassment remain a persistent problem within the U.S. Federal employment sector. Across the aggregate U.S. Federal Government, the issue alleged most frequently in Federal Sector discrimination complaints is non-sexual Harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Select Task Force (within the EEOC’s 2016 Study of Harassment in the Workplace) has determined that, unfortunately, the anti-harassment training being provided to the Federal Sector workforce over the last 30 years has not been effective as a prevention tool, as it's been too focused on simply avoiding legal liability.
The EEOC’s Select Task Force now recommends and encourages Federal agencies to incorporate workplace “civility training" that does not focus on eliminating unwelcome or offensive behavior based on characteristics protected under employment non-discrimination laws, but rather, on promoting respectful behaviors and civility in the workplace.
Per the EEOC’s Commissioner: “We know that workplace incivility often acts as a 'gateway drug' to workplace harassment. Workplace Civility training provides employees with the specific skills they need to act respectfully….In short, it is designed to stop improper behavior before it ever rises to the level of illegal harassment.“
Staff members of the NNSA Office of Civil Rights delivers Workplace Civility training, which is presented live (via in-person delivery, or remotely via VTC). These training sessions are engaging, highly interactive, and are no more than 60 minutes in duration.
At the end of the training session, attendees will:
- Understand the term Workplace Incivility, and become aware of the expectations and requirements for demonstrating civility and respectful behaviors within the NNSA workplace (and potential consequences for non-compliance with Department policy and requirements)
- Learn practical ways of effectively practicing Workplace Etiquette
- Understand how acts of workplace incivility can subtly contribute to creating a Hostile Work Environment, and inevitably result in allegations of discriminatory Harassment, lawsuits, and the overall negative impact on employees’ well-being
- Understand the specific interventions and resources available to both employees and Supervisors/Managers for reporting, addressing, and resolving acts of workplace incivility and harassing conduct.
Managers and supervisors are highly encouraged to contact the Office of Civil Rights at (505) 845-5517 at any time to request this training, or to request additional information on additional ways to prevent harassing conduct in the workplace.