HHS Equal Employment Opportunity and Anti-Harassment Policy Statement

September 2022 update

The mission of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans by providing essential human services, especially for underserved communities.  Fundamental to this mission is the obligation to honor the diversity of the HHS workforce and treat all employees with respect and dignity.

HHS promotes Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility to encourage a climate of innovation and success that capitalizes on the diversity and professionalism of the HHS workforce.  As one of the largest federal agencies, HHS must be a leader in treating employees with dignity and respect.  Discriminatory or harassing behavior will not be tolerated at HHS.

Pursuant to the anti-discrimination statutes, including (but not limited to) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, (“Title VII”) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, employment decisions at HHS are based on equal employment opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment, regardless of their race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and sexual orientation), national origin, age, genetic information, disability, retaliation, or any other status protected by federal laws and regulations.  Accordingly, these protections extend to all management practices and decisions, including, but not limited to, recruitment and hiring practices, transfers, reassignments, benefits, separations, appraisal systems, merit promotions, training and career development programs.  All employees will have the freedom to compete on a fair and level playing field with equal opportunity for competition. 

To this end, in accordance with the anti-discrimination statutes, and EEOC guidance, HHS promotes an environment free of discrimination and any form of harassment, where all employees may work without fear of reprisal; where all employees and applicants with qualified disabilities and targeted disabilities receive reasonable accommodations, so they can be successful at their work; and where all employees are recognized for their individual performance and contributions to HHS.  To promote an environment that is free of discrimination and harassment, every employee (including supervisors and managers), will receive training about the rights and remedies available under the anti-discrimination statutes and Whistleblower Protection statutes consistent with the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002.

Additionally, HHS remains equally committed to the full and meaningful implementation of EEO policies for all HHS employees and applicants consistent with applicable federal civil rights laws.  Keeping this commitment will ensure HHS prevents, stops, and remedies all forms of discrimination or harassment that may occur within HHS.  Examples of prohibited conduct include: making abusive, derisive, profane, or harassing statements; using epithets or slurs; engaging in stereotyping or intimidating acts; making or sharing racially derisive social media posts; and circulating or posting of written or graphic materials that show hostility toward individuals regardless of their protected status.

Managers and supervisors are expected to respond appropriately to allegations of discrimination or harassment and are required to uphold governing laws, regulations, and this policy.  They must ensure that workplace discrimination or harassment is not tolerated and is corrected before it becomes severe or pervasive.  Therefore, managers and supervisors will complete periodic required training to ensure they clearly understand their roles and responsibilities in addressing and eliminating all forms of discrimination or harassment.  

Employees who believe they are experiencing unlawful discrimination or harassment should bring their concerns to the attention of their supervisor, a member of their management team, or to their servicing EEO office.  Additionally, retaliation in any form against an employee who reports unlawful discrimination or harassment is strictly prohibited as HHS will not tolerate workplace harassment or reprisal against anyone who engages in protected activity.

All employees and applicants must be able to exercise their right to elect the EEO process, to oppose discriminatory practices, and to engage in whistleblowing or exercise any other right provided by law, without fear of retaliation. Employees may obtain further information to report harassment at https://www.hhs.gov/about/agencies/asa/eeo/about-eeo/programs-offices/anti-harassment/index.html.  Additionally, employees may report allegations of reprisal for whistleblowing to the Office of Special Counsel at https://osc.gov/ or 1-800-872-9855. Employees may also raise such allegations to the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of the Inspector General at www.oig.hhs.gov  or 1-800-447-8477.

All employees, including managers and supervisors, must abide by this policy and strive to meet HHS’ overarching goal to be a model organization committed to innovation, opportunity, and success. Through this policy, HHS will be at the forefront of EEO, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the federal government.

Xavier Becerra

Content created by Assistant Secretary for Administration (ASA)
Content last reviewed