April 01, 1998
IRS Policy on Sexual Harassment
The Internal Revenue Service is committed to preventing and
eliminating sexual harassment from the workplace. Sexual harassment,
whether it is committed by executives, managers, supervisors,
employees, or non-employees (i.e., contractors, taxpayers, or
visitors to the workplace) is specifically prohibited. Under agency
guidelines, all allegations of sexual harassment are dealt with
promptly and impartially, and employees who report such incidents do
not suffer any form of reprisal or retaliation.
Any employee who engages in improper conduct will be subject to
appropriate disciplinary action. Supervisors who either condone or
fail to act promptly to correct inappropriate conduct brought to
their attention will also be subject to disciplinary action.
Over the past several years, IRS has conducted a vigorous
campaign to publicize this policy and ensure that all employees feel
free and know how to report violations. Each year since 1993, the
agency has issued a reminder to every employee about the IRS Policy
Against Sexual Harassment. The reminder reviews prohibited behavior
and warns that offenders will be held responsible if such behavior
occurs. It also outlines the many ways that employees can report
problems. For example, in addition to reporting violations through
any level of management, employees can contact a special hotline for
reporting sexual harassment and can also use the EEO discrimination
The IRS has some 100,000 employees subject to this policy.
Although it may be impossible in an organization this size to
prevent all incidences of sexual harassment, this has been and
remains its goal. Data from extensive employee surveys held in 1995
and 1997, as well as records of actual complaints in its EEO system,
paint a positive picture of the impact of its Policy. Trend data
from the surveys show a significant reduction in the number of
employees who responded that they had been subject to sexual
harassment of any kind. During the three years 1995-1997,
allegations received through the EEO complaint system, the Hotline,
and the Inspection Service totaled 476.
The IRS will continue to highlight the prohibition against
sexual harassment to bring this number down to zero. Where there
appear to be problems, the IRS is committed to taking aggressive
action to address those problems.
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