DOE Policies Prohibiting Discrimination & Harassment

The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science is strongly committed to upholding federal laws and DOE policies, regulations, and procedures for the prevention of discrimination and harassment. Discrimination and harassment undermine the Office of Science’s ability to achieve its mission by reducing productivity, discouraging or inhibiting talent retention and career advancement, and weakening the overall integrity of the Office of Science’s science and innovation enterprise.

While the mechanisms for oversight and compliance with federal laws and DOE regulations may vary for financial assistance recipients, DOE national laboratory contractors, and Federal employees, all entities conducting business on behalf of DOE are strictly prohibited from discriminatory behavior and harassment of any kind. Additional information on the policies and regulations that apply by entity are provided below.

Recipients of DOE Federal Financial Assistance
DOE National Laboratories
DOE Federal Employees

Recipients of DOE Federal Financial Assistance

Institutions receiving DOE grants and cooperative agreements

The DOE is required by law to ensure that institutions to which it provides financial assistance (grants and cooperative agreements) operate their programs in a manner that is free from discrimination and harassment. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin by educational institutions receiving federal funds or federal financial assistance. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination, including harassment, by educational institutions receiving federal financial assistance. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination on the basis of age.

Scientists, engineers, students, support staff, and others participating in research and development activities funded under DOE financial assistance awards must be able to perform their work without unnecessary barriers. Recipients of DOE financial assistance awards are prohibited from engaging in discrimination on any basis prohibited by law, including harassment (sexual or non-sexual), as required under DOE’s implementing regulations, Title 10 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 1040 and 1042.

DOE’s Office of Civil Rights and Diversity (OCRD) has the primary responsibility for DOE’s civil rights enforcement activities under Title VI and Title IX, which apply to all institutions receiving DOE financial assistance. At the time of award, DOE conducts pre-award assurances, and recipient institutions must certify that they currently meet the requirements of applicable laws and DOE regulations. DOE’s OCRD also conducts post-award, onsite compliance reviews of academic institutions receiving DOE financial assistance, and provides related technical assistance and guidance to financial assistance recipients. Recipients of DOE financial assistance may contact the DOE OCRD for technical assistance in meeting their institutional requirements under these regulations, including assistance in addressing complaints of discrimination or harassment.

OCRD Title IX website.

OCRD Title VI website.

DOE National Laboratories

DOE requires its 17 national laboratories to meet all requirements set forth by civil rights laws and regulations for equal employment opportunity (EEO) and for maintaining workplace environments that are free from discrimination and harassment. DOE holds its laboratories to high standards for meeting these requirements through several mechanisms. DOE expects its national laboratories to foster work environments that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion to best harness the diverse talents, experience, and perspective of their employees to advance science and innovation and deliver on the DOE mission.

DOE’s 17 national laboratories are delivering on DOE’s mission in discovery science, energy security and independence, national security, and economic prosperity and global competitiveness by performing forefront research using multidisciplinary research capabilities and world-leading large-scale scientific tools. Collectively the DOE national laboratories employ over 50,000 people and host over 45,000 visiting scientists and facility users each year.

Sixteen of the 17 DOE national laboratories are managed under management and operating (M&O) contracts on behalf of DOE. The DOE laboratories’ M&O contractors are subject to Title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 60 (41 CFR 60), which sets forth obligations and guidelines for federal contractors and subcontractors for meeting requirements and responsibilities set forth in civils rights laws and Executive Order 11246, as amended, as well as to DOE directives. The DOE laboratories receive direct oversight by DOE’s Field Site Offices (federal site managers and contracting officers), who ensure that the laboratories: are meeting federal EEO requirements; have established policies and procedures for preventing discrimination and harassment; communicate the avenues through which laboratory employees and visiting scientists can raise concerns or report complaints without fear of retaliation; and have established policies and procedures for addressing complaints as they arise.

The 16 DOE national laboratories management by federal M&O contracts, as well as their subcontractors, are also subject to oversight by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The OFCCP conducts compliance evaluations of federal contractors and subcontractors personnel policies and procedures; they also conduct complaint investigations.

The DOE laboratories are required to maintain workplace environments that are free from discrimination and harassment, including prohibiting harassment and discriminatory behavior on the part of guests and visiting researchers to their facilities. Each of the DOE laboratories maintains one or more options for reporting complaints of discrimination or harassment. Those include, but are not limited to, the laboratory’s Employee Concerns Program, the human resources department, the laboratory’s legal department, or an ethics hotline. Laboratory line managers are required to report complaints that have been brought to their attention. Laboratory employees may also report a complaint to the OFCCP or contact the DOE Office of Civil Rights and Diversity for guidance regarding reporting options.

The remaining DOE laboratory, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), is a federally operated laboratory where policies and procedures for DOE federal employees apply (see above).

DOE Federal Employees

The DOE is committed to equal employment opportunity (EEO) and to ensuring that the Department maintains a workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment (sexual and non-sexual). By law and DOE regulations, no applicant to the DOE or DOE employee will be subjected to discrimination in any aspect of employment on the basis of race, color, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), religion, national origin, age, disability (physical or mental), genetic information, or retaliation for participation in protected EEO activity. DOE employment-related decisions must be based on merit and not on discriminatory factors. No applicant or employee will be subject to harassment. The DOE Office of Civil Rights and Diversity (OCRD) administers DOE’s policies and procedures related to internal civils rights. More information about DOE’s policies and procedures can be found here.

DOE federal employees are encouraged to promptly report discrimination or harassment to any management official or directly to their EEO office. DOE headquarters employees may report a complaint through the DOE OCRD. DOE Field Site employees should contact their local EEO office.

DOE Office of Science Field Site employees can find contact information for their respective EEO managers and additional information on the SC Consolidated Services Center EEO site.

DOE employees and applicants for employment have the right to report incidents of discrimination or harassment without fear of retaliation. Managers who have knowledge of an act of possible discrimination or harassment should contact their local EEO or Human Capital Office, or the DOE Office of the Ombudsman, for guidance. Managers are expected to act promptly and appropriately to eliminate and prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

FY 2018 DOE Policy Statement on Equal Employment Opportunity, Harassment, and Retaliation