USDA OIG Harassment Survey and Report in Forest Service Region 5 Released

USDA OIG Harassment Survey and Report in Forest Service Region 5 Released

Posted today: The FS response here.
Here are some actions that the FS is doing or is going to do.

Opened the Harassment Reporting Center (Nov. 2017): The Forest Service Harassment Reporting Center is a single office dedicated to receiving all reports of all types of harassment. The Harassment Reporting Center is open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern. Representatives can be reached by calling the toll-free number: (844) 815-8943. It is operated by skilled and trained, contracted representatives who are available to confidentially take reports of harassment from employees, supervisors and anyone who does business with the Forest Service.

Launched the Anti-Harassment Program intranet page (January 2018): The Forest Service has created a new intranet page committed to the Anti-Harassment Program. The intranet page was created to provide a single dedicated resource for all employees and contractors to receive current and accurate information regarding the anti-harassment policy and program. The new page will answer frequently asked questions, such as what is harassment, how to report it, what to expect once reported and what to expect regarding the inquiry or investigation.

Applied accountability and continuous learning
: Since the establishment of our new anti-harassment policy in September 2016, we have received 1,013 reports of harassment and have completed inquiries/investigations in 632 of those cases. Of the 632 cases, 150 cases found misconduct and we have implemented corrective actions. The 150 corrective actions taken range from letters of warning all the way to termination/removal depending on the severity and facts gathered in each case. When looking at the cases where no misconduct/harassment occurred, those cases suggest the need to provide a better understanding of what harassment is. Along with that, we see a need for quicker assistance to overcome workplace conflicts or communication barriers that are not harassment or misconduct. This is particularly true when it comes to the bullying category. In these cases, we have implemented a process to quickly provide opportunities to resolve conflict and communication issues by offering the services of our Conflict Management and Prevention Program.

Created a senior advisor in the Chief’s Office
: The senior advisor will integrate agency efforts that improve the work environment. This position aims to reinforce the Forest Service’s ongoing commitment to create a harassment-free workplace where every employee feels valued and respected.

In coming weeks here are other actions we will take:

Finalizing an agency-wide anti-harassment training to continue to provide employees with the tools they need to eliminate harassment from our work environment. It addresses the five key points of our policy while stressing that every employee has a responsibility for doing their part when it comes to eliminating harassment. Training will be delivered to all employees by our senior leaders. We expect to begin delivering this training in late spring 2018.

Designing work environment engagement opportunities that focus on building trust and provides a safe forum for employees to discuss the work environment.

Establishing an employee advisory group to identify proactive steps for peer-to-peer engagement and support to empower employees. This group will advise the Chief and senior leadership on additional practices or policy steps needed to eliminate harassment and promote safe and respectful workspaces. As we learn more, we will continue to enhance and strengthen our agency. We must continue to uplift and empower our employees and maintain a respectful, safe working environment.

If you have been harassed, or you know of harassment taking place, please report it to the national Harassment Reporting Center, where it will be documented and investigated. Learn more on the center’s website.”

Here is a link to the OIG survey. Comments welcome!


via A New Century of Forest Planning

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