Updated for March 2016
The mission of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to protect the health of all Americans and provide essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. Fundamental to our mission is our obligation to honor the diversity of our workforce and ensure all employees are treated with respect and dignity.
I fully understand and support the value of diversity in improving organizational efficiency and effectiveness. I continue to promote a climate of innovation, opportunity, and success within the Department that capitalizes on the cultural, professional, and personal diversity of our workforce. Additionally, I am equally committed to the full and meaningful implementation of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policies for all HHS employees and applicants. My aim is to ensure HHS embodies a model organization committed to preventing, stopping and remedying all forms of discrimination or harassment that occur in our workplace.
I expect an environment across HHS, free of discrimination and any form of harassment, where all employees may work without fear of reprisal; where qualified employees and applicants with 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.
HHS employees are protected by federal laws, Presidential Executive Orders, and other directives and policies banning discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 years of age or over), disability (physical or mental), family medical history or genetic information. It also is HHS policy to prohibit discrimination based on political affiliation, status as a parent, marital status, military service or any other non-merit based factor. These protections extend to all management practices and decisions, including recruitment and hiring practices, appraisal systems, promotions, training and career development programs.
All employees, including supervisors and other management personnel, are expected to respond appropriately to allegations of harassment and are required to uphold governing laws and our policy. To that end, managers and supervisors will complete periodic required training to ensure they clearly understand their role and responsibility in addressing and eliminating all forms of 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. All employees and applicants must be able to exercise their right to elect the EEO process, oppose discriminatory practices, and engage in whistleblowing or exercise any other appeal right provided by law without fear of retaliation.
I fully expect all employees and supervisors to abide by this policy and to strive to meet our overarching goal to be a model organization committed to innovation, opportunity, and success. With your support and participation, we can ensure that workforce diversity and equal opportunity are two of our greatest strengths.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, HHS Secretary