Developing a workplace that is free of discrimination starts with a strong leadership team that is effective at preventing and managing conflict while still maintaining a productive environment. Leading effectively requires constant learning and growth as our workforce and environment evolves. Available below are some tools, training opportunities, and information that may assist leaders in creating and maintaining a workplace where employees feel safe and comfortable, enabling them to focus on the tasks they have been assigned.Training for Supervisors
In addition to required EEO training, DOI offers several courses both online and in person that can provide useful tools for developing basic and advanced leadership skills as well as handling more complex situations such as conflict management, reasonable accommodation, and performance management. The following table contains examples of classes offered within DOI Learn. This is by no means an all-inclusive list of what training may be helpful for leaders.
|Supervision for New Supervisors||32h||Instructor Led||New Supervisors|
|Supervision for Experienced Supervisors||40h||Instructor Led||Experienced Supervisors|
|Conflict Resolution and Confrontation Management Skills||16h||Instructor Led||Experienced Supervisors(3 or more years)|
|Advanced Supervision: Building On Experience||40h||Instructor Led||Experienced Supervisors|
|Building and Leading Effective Teams||16h||Instructor Led||All|
|Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence||16h||Instructor Led||All|
- Discuss with your staff on a regular basis the importance of providing a harassment-free workplace. Creating a change in culture starts at the top. It is your responsibility to remind your employees of their obligations to create a workplace free of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
- Ensure employees are aware of their options to report incidents of harassment and that EEO contact information is prominently displayed in every floor of every office and in conspicuous places.
- If you see employees or other managers acting inappropriately, address or report it immediately; don’t assume it is not your responsibility. Even if no allegation of harassment is reported directly to you, you should address any inappropriate conduct that you witness.
- If an employee reports harassment to you, seek guidance from your servicing HR Office or EEO Office. Failure to act swiftly in response to harassment allegations can lead employees to believe the Agency is unwilling to take allegations of harassment seriously and can also result in liability against the Agency. Do not require the person reporting harassment to meet with the alleged harasser to “talk things over.”
- Do not make judgments about the veracity of the allegations before a neutral investigation has been conducted. As a manager, you should neither assume that the alleged harasser is guilty nor that the alleged victim is untruthful. Treat each allegation the same regardless of who is making the allegation and who has been named as the alleged harasser. Also remember that, even if you personally would not find the alleged conduct to be serious or harassing in nature, another person might. Before an investigation is completed, it is not your role to judge whether the conduct challenged legally rises to the level of sexual harassment.
If you are named as the Responsible Management Official (RMO) in an EEO Complaint, you may be contacted one or more times at certain points during the EEO process. The EEO process is divided into two stages: Informal (also known as Pre-Complaint) and Formal, and it is helpful to know what to expect for each of these.
Must I Speak with the EEO Counselor?
The informal stage occurs when an employee or applicant first brings a complaint to the EEO Counselor. After the EEO Counselor meets with the complainant to learn of the allegations, the EEO Counselor will meet with the RMO to explain the complainant's allegations, gather information, and see if resolution is possible. Sometimes, the complainant may elect alternative dispute resolution instead of counseling, where you may be asked to participate in a mediation session.
If no formal resolution is achieved during the informal stage of the EEO process, an employee or applicant has the right to file a formal complaint. If a formal complaint is filed, each claim will be reviewed for acceptance or dismissal based on regulatory bases for dismissal at 29 CFR §1614, and an investigation will ensue for any accepted claims.
After the investigation is complete, the complainant will receive a copy of the Report of Investigation. In most cases, the complainant will have the option to elect either a hearing before an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Administrative Judge or a written Final Agency Decision (FAD).
If the complainant chooses a hearing, you will be considered a witness in the case and may be called to provide information or respond to further questions while under oath. If the complainant chooses a FAD, the RMO will most likely not be contacted for further information regarding the complaint.
As a Federal employee, you are obligated to cooperate in the EEO process. Remember that the EEO Counselor is a neutral party. He or she is there to assist you and the aggrieved person to resolve the issues. Working with the EEO Counselor in an open and forthright manner can facilitate resolution early and favorably to both parties. It can be a win-win situation.