Federal Workers & Workplaces

Workplaces Respond regularly works with U.S. federal agencies to build resilient workplace communities that can both recover from incidents of violence and better support workers who experience domestic violence, sexual harassment & violence, and stalking at home or on the job. In 2019 and 2020, Workplaces Respond has actively engaged with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Department of Justice, and the Corporation for National and Community Service to review and offer best practices on policies and trainings to equip supervisors and coworkers with the tools to recognize, respond and refer to workplace violence. If you are a specific federal agency that would like to request this type of training or technical assistance, please visit our Technical Assistance page to submit a request.

“GBV in the world of work deeply impacts survivors’ safety and economic security, and can negatively impact other workers.”

U.S. National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence: Strategies for Action

Technical Assistance for Federal Agencies in Developing Frameworks to Promote Safe and Inclusive Workplaces.

A key element of a safer and more inclusive workplace is a comprehensive and trauma-informed prevention and response program to better support colleagues who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, or stalking – no matter where incidents may occur.

Safe and inclusive workplaces are a priority of the whole-of-government approach to cultivate diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) across all aspects of federal employment, as required by President Biden’s Executive Order 14035, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce (Executive Order).

The Government-wide Strategic Plan to Advance Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce (Strategic Plan), the Executive Order’s roadmap, requires all federal agencies to develop an agency-specific DEIA plan by March 23, 2022.

With respect to enhancing supports for federal employees who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the Strategic Plan requires that all agency-specific strategic plans incorporate and anticipate:

  • Comprehensive reviews and updates of agency policies and processes for… supporting federal employees who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
    • These reviews may include research reports, focus groups, and scenario-based exercises to so that responsible offices provide consistent guidance to supervisors and offer support for federal employees.
    • Key partners may include offices of security, human resources, EEO offices, legal counsel, anti-harassment coordinators, and workplace safety organizations.
  • 120 days after submission of the Agency DEIA Strategic Plans, where necessary, agencies will update their policies, climate surveys, trainings, systems of investigation and accountability, and support services. These updates will include a renewed effort to center and communicate the leadership commitment and agency vision for promoting a respectful, inclusive, and safe workplace.
  • Agencies will take steps to update and provide relevant educational resources to supervisors, bystanders, and federal employees, and make resources readily available through multiple channels such as hotlines, onsite staff, and employee assistance services.
  • Agency heads will promote employee assistance programs, work-life programs, and available on-site mental health experts and/or referral services.
  • In an effort to encourage and reduce the stigma of reporting, investigators will be trained to communicate with employees in a trauma-informed manner.

With the introduction of the U.S. National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence: Strategies for Action (the National Action Plan) in 2023, the focus on Federal Agencies was codified through Pillar 3, Goal 1, Objective 1.2. This objective aims to establish the Federal Government as a model employer for preventing and resonding to GBV in the workplace. The listed strategies for action include:

  • 1.2.1 Pursuant to Executive Order 14035 and each agency’s DEIA plan (which applies to civilian personnel), agencies are reviewing and updating their workplace antiharassment policies and other best practices on workplace responses to GBV, consulting, as needed, with OPM, OVW, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This includes making both prevention and best practices priorities (e.g., regular climate surveys), focusing on anti-harassment trainings and initiatives, developing readily available and accessible complaint systems that include anonymous reporting options, providing effective education for supervisors, and ensuring leadership engagement.
  • 1.2.2 Issue updated guidance on agency policies to address the impacts of GBV on the federal workforce, including guidelines addressing support for employee victims, such as leave policies and accommodations; disciplinary action against employees who commit or threaten acts of GBV; and measures to improve workplace safety related to GBV.

Finally, in April 2024 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), released their Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace and the Office of Personnel Management released a memo and factsheet aimed at Maximizing Access to Leave to Seek Safety and Recover from Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Related Forms of Abuse or Harassment (Safe Leave) in May 2024.

Resources

Policy Development
Training Development
  • Model Federal Training: Preventing & Responding to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking (DVSAS)
  • Video: Supervisors Can Make A Difference
Toolkits
  • These toolkits include resources that will help build capacity for federal employees and agencies to identify gender-based violence and harassment, provide resources to coworkers and supervisees who are experiencing harm, and develop prevention materials for intra-agency education and training. Materials include:
    • Information on raising awareness;
    • An infographic with prevalence statistics;
    • Tools to identify and respond to harmful behaviors;
    • Links to resources, tips, modelf policies and trainings, and videos; and,
    • Suggestions for creating trauma-informed workplaces.
  • Domestic Violence Toolkit
  • Stalking Toolkit
Tipsheets
Stalking Resources
Previous Webinars
  • Trauma-Informed Conversations & Investigations [Part 1] [Part 2]

Technical Assistance Contact

workplacesrespond@futureswithoutviolence.org