NIH Updates Policy Manual on Harassment, Discrimination
NIH updated its Policy Manual Chapter on Preventing and Addressing Harassment and Inappropriate Conduct in November 2021, as part of continuing efforts to create a work environment where staff feel welcome, respected and valued.
The revised policy defines what groups are protected from harassment-based employment discrimination. Protected classes include race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, transgender status and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 years or older), disability and genetic information.
The update also explains the steps contractors must take if they want to report harassment or inappropriate conduct. Finally, the revised policy explains the differences between two processes—the Civil process and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints through the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
Civil receives allegations of inappropriate conduct, including all forms of harassment, and oversees the appropriate administrative review or inquiry in an objective and consistent manner across NIH. Civil’s goal is to stop any inappropriate or harassing behaviors immediately and to ensure that appropriate corrective action is taken in a timely manner.
This is separate and distinct from the EEO complaint process. An EEO complaint may be filed by a current or former employee or an applicant for employment who alleges discrimination based on [being a member of] a legally protected class. EDI’s complaint processing provides for informal counseling, investigation, adjudication and potential resolution of EEO complaints.
The complete list of revisions can be found at https://hr.nih.gov/working-nih/civil/nih-manual-chapter-1311-summary-2021-updates. The policy manual chapter can be found at https://policymanual.nih.gov/1311.