TO: IRS Chapter Presidents
RE: IRS Anti-Harassment Training for Managers
SUMMARY: The IRS has issued a training document for managers regarding the Anti-Harassment Policy.
During negotiations over the 2016 National Agreement (2016 NA), NTEU obtained new language in Article 5, Section 7 to address bullying in the workplace. Bullying was a widely reported issue that chapters asked NTEU to address during the term negotiations. The new language in Article 5, Section 7 requires managers to treat employees respectfully and “in a business-like, courteous and tactful manner.” If they fail to do so, the employee or the union can file a grievance at Step 2 of the negotiated grievance procedure. In addition, the parties agreed to a Side Letter (at the time the 2016 NA was implemented) that the IRS would be obligated to train managers on the new process that addresses bullying in the workplace. (See chapter presidents’ memorandum dated October 5, 2015.) Specifically, the Side Letter states the agency “shall provide anti-harassment, anti-bullying, and mutual respect training concurrent with the implementation of the 2016 NA to all managers by December 30, 2015 or as soon as practicable thereafter.”
We requested evidence of the “training” the IRS gave to managers in fulfillment of its obligations under the Side Letter, and the agency has now provided it. The attached training document explains to managers the reasons for the agency’s anti-harassment policy, what constitutes “harassment,” and how to process a harassment allegation. Managers are informed that, under the anti-harassment policy, they are to take immediate and appropriate corrective action, including the use of disciplinary action, to eliminate harassing conduct. Under the anti-harassment policy, “harassment” includes the EEO-based definition of harassment, but may also be based on factors outside of those identified by law, including bullying and cyber-harassment. The training document details managers’ roles in the harassment allegation process, from the initial reporting of an allegation through the investigatory process. Finally, it goes through management’s responsibilities, including monitoring the workplace environment and ensuring that their offices are in full compliance with the requirements of the anti-harassment policy.
Bullying and harassment in the workplace are unacceptable and is an issue that NTEU takes very seriously. Please discuss with your National Field Representative any instances of bullying or harassment of bargaining unit employees that you or a steward become aware of.
If you have any questions or comments about the attached training document, please contact Tim Seidman via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone at (202) 572-5500, extension 7013.
Anthony M. Reardon