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October 5, 2018
Anti-Retaliation Campaign Educates NIH Community

At EDI’s recent Open House on anti-retaliation, staffers gather to welcome attendees.
At EDI’s recent Open House on anti-retaliation, staffers gather to welcome attendees.

NIH recently rolled out its first-ever Anti-Retaliation Campaign to educate and inform employees, managers and supervisors so they are aware what retaliation is, why it’s illegal and not tolerated at NIH and how to find anti-retaliation resources from the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).

Retaliation occurs when employers treat applicants, employees, former employees—or people closely associated with these individuals—less favorably than others because the person:

  • Reports discrimination;

  • Participates in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit (for example, serving as a witness);

  • Opposes discrimination (for example, threatening to file a charge or complaint of discrimination).

In an agency-wide email message, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins said, “We are committed to preventing victimization and other retaliatory behavior” toward any person raising Equal Employment Opportunity or unlawful practice concerns.

The campaign also included a 4-week blog series of information and tips: “NIH is Serious About Anti-Retaliation,” “Educating Managers: Avoid These Dangers,” “Educating Managers: 10 Interpersonal Skills to Prevent Retaliation” and “Words Matter: Chilling Effect of Retaliation.”

EDI’s Resolution and Equity Division staffers took to the streets with various activities throughout the month and personally engaged with the NIH community in Bldgs. 31 and 10 to share information on protections against retaliation and discrimination.

In anti-retaliation training for managers, EDI’s Eric Hebron explained, “Retaliation appears to be a function of human nature and how people react when there are allegations of wrong-doing. It is expected that a supervisor who learns that an employee has complained concerning the supervisor’s behavior will have difficulty treating the subordinate as if no complaint was made. However, that is what the law requires.”

At a subsequent session, Hebron explained to employees, “You should consider asking questions, seeking clarification and eliminating assumptions, if you feel you have been retaliated against.”

Future sessions of anti-retaliation training will be posted on EDI’s website.

EDI also hosted an Open House in Bldg. 2, where about 60 attendees learned about the EEO complaint process while mingling with EDI staff.

To wrap up the campaign, Gary M. Gilbert, president of Gilbert Employment Law and former administrative judge for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, briefed NIH’ers on the different types of protected activities, what constitutes a claim of retaliation and employee rights for participating in protected EEO activity.

To learn more, check out the EDI training site.

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