Under federal law and Department of Labor (DOL) policy, harassment by DOL employees of DOL employees based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity and pregnancy), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or parental status is prohibited. The Department of Labor does not permit harassing conduct by anyone in the workplace, including contractors.
Prohibited workplace harassment may take either of two forms. It may entail "quid pro quo" harassment, which occurs in cases in which employment decisions or treatment are based on submission to or rejection of unwelcome conduct, typically conduct of a sexual nature. Workplace harassment may also consist of offensive conduct based on one or more of the protected groups above that is so severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as being fired or demoted).
DOL policies and procedures promote prompt recognition, reporting, and remedying of harassing workplace conduct with the goal of eliminating such conduct quickly and effectively, even in cases in which the reported conduct may not be severe and pervasive so as to constitute a violation of federal law.1
This fact sheet provides a brief explanation of workplace harassment, how to recognize it, and both the responsibilities of an employee who has witnessed or been subjected to workplace harassment and the agency that has been put on notice of allegations of workplace harassment.