NPS Fundamentals Essentials: Preventing & Addressing Workplace Harassment


“Harassment has no place in the National Park Service, and our leadership is committed to a new approach to harassment that emphasizes accountability and respect in the workplace,”  – Acting Director Michael T. Reynolds

The culture of harassment has been pervasive in the NPS. Reports by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) show the behavior was tolerated or concealed for years.  Courageous, dedicated employees took the first step to make a culture change by reporting instances of sexual harassment and bullying.  As a response, the NPS sought information from employees regarding harassment and similar behavior and implemented a strategy to eliminate it from the Service.

The Secretary of Interior and Acting Director have outlined an action plan to combat harassment in the workplace.  This includes a Director’s Order and draft Reference Manual.

Director’s Order #16E and Reference Manual

Director’s Order #16E: National Park Service Anti-Harassment Policy was signed on October 12, 2017. The purpose of the Director’s Order is to ensure that the NPS takes immediate and appropriate corrective action, including appropriate disciplinary action, to eliminate harassing conduct regardless of whether the conduct rises to the level of a violation of law.

The draft Director’s Order #16E Reference Manual details the procedures and instructions proposed to implement the new Director’s Order. The Reference Manual includes information such as roles and responsibilities of managers, supervisors, and anti-harassment points of contact; interim measures to protect those who report; guidelines for investigations;  and other important information.

Additional Resources

For additional resources, employees can reference The Employee Support Options page on InsideNPS.  This page offers resources not just for people who seek information and assistance reporting harassment, but also provides links to the Employee Assistance Program, conflict resolution information, a link to the Ombuds program, and information on reporting fraud, waste, or abuse.

“The National Park Service is a mission-driven organization, with an outstanding workforce, dedicated to the places and programs in our care. Harassment hurts our people and damages our mission. When people don’t have safe and respectful work environments, it diminishes our work and makes everyone less productive. If we pour all of our passion into the places and programs we serve, but we fail to take care of one another, we cannot achieve our mission.

It is time for this to change. It will take time and persistence, but I know that if the National Park Service family commits to this, we will create workplaces worthy of the mission we serve.”

– Acting Director Mike Reynolds

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