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Home >Policies & Resources >EEO Policies >Policy On Sexual Harassment

Policy Statement on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment

To: All NIH Employees

From: Director

Subject: Policy Statement on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment

The policy of the National Institutes of Health is that sexual harassment is unacceptable conduct and will not be tolerated. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is an "unlawful employment practice" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. It is also prohibited under the Department of Health and Human Services Standards of Conduct that specify certain types of sexually-related misconduct as "unbecoming an agency employee."

Sexual harassment is defined in law and regulation as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can occur when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Preventing sexual harassment is the responsibility of every member of the NIH. Any employee who believes he or she is a victim of sexual harassment should report the allegation(s) to the appropriate agency official, or contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management (OEODM), who will provide assistance and guidance. It is the responsibility of management to investigate allegations of sexual harassment in a confidential manner and take necessary action to ensure that these allegations are addressed swiftly, fairly, and effectively. Additionally, managers and supervisors must be aware of what constitutes sexual harassment in order to explain the sanctions for violations, and must provide regular training sessions for all employees in the prevention of sexual harassment. To further emphasize the preventive requirement, an online training module for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment is available for all personnel.

I count on each of you to do your part. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this policy, please contact the OEODM at (301) 496-1551, TTY (301) 496-9755, or the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 (Voice/TTY/ACSII/Spanish).


Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.