Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Harassment Policy (AM 711)

From Anonymous:

Could you post this please Doug? The Dir talks the talk does he walk the walk?

From/MS: Robert W. Kuckuck, DIR, MS A100
Phone/Fax: 7-5101/Fax 7-2997
Symbol: DIR-05-283
Date: August 24, 2005
Subject: Harassment Policy (AM 711)

We all have the right to work in a productive environment that is
free of harassment of any kind and I want to remind all of us of
the Laboratory’s harassment policy. Harassment, as defined under
Laboratory policy (AM 711), is prohibited and is in conflict with
the Guiding Principles of Workplace Conduct as described in our
Code of Ethics and in the Equal Employment and Diversity Policy
Statement issued by Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman. In each
directive, the guiding principal calls upon each of us to become a
personal leader in attaining a workplace of inclusion and creating
an environment where all workers are treated with respect and
common courtesy so that we all have an opportunity to reach our
full potential.

There are different forms of harassment, including sexual, racial,
ethnic, sexual orientation, and gender, that can create disruption
at work. Harassment is not tolerated at the Laboratory, it is
hurtful and demonstrates a lack of respect. It creates
interpersonal problems, results in lost productivity, contributes
to low morale, and may result in costly lawsuits.

Harassment continues to be a problem in today’s workplace across
the country and includes actions ranging from overt behaviors to
creating a hostile work environment. Federal and state laws, as
well as Laboratory policy (AM 711), prohibit harassment, and such
behavior will be dealt with quickly and appropriately, with
disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Managers and supervisors must immediately respond to and deal with
complaints of harassment or with behaviors that could be
harassing. Managers and supervisors must also inform employees
that harassment violates Laboratory policy. Employees and contract
workers who believe they have been harassed by any person on
Laboratory property should report the occurrence to their
immediate supervisor or to Staff Relations at 7-8730. The Ombuds
Office (5-2837) and the HR-Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity
(7-8695) are also available to all workers who believe they may
have experienced harassment.

I want to emphasize that treating each other with respect and
common courtesy is a Guiding Principle
in our Code of Ethics. We must all continue to strive to be an
employer of choice — from the research we conduct to the way we
treat each other.

Staff Relations? waste of time.
OMBUD? also a waste of time.
HR? what a laugh.
Managers? often the problem.

Get a lawyer and document everything. Do not forget the EEOC in ABQ.
I have heard several second-hand stories of LANL staffers being told to quit posting on this blog, or suffer the consequences. The posters had been using their real names. That sure sounds like LANL-sanctioned harassment to me.
I have posted this in the past. Our Group Leader searches the BLOG everday looking for familiar names.
He also tries to guess who is posting comments. To my knowledge, no one has been disciplined yet. Stay tuned.
Welcome to Los Alamos. If you listen long enough, you'll hear "second hand stories" about everyone. Don't believe what you hear, even if it's from an apparently reliable source.
You are right of course, 01:04:41. No one should ever believe any of those stories of harrasment at LANL. LANL managers would never harrass their employees.
A careful reading of the director's memo will reveal that the definition of harassment does not include First Ammendment rights. Sexual, racial,
ethnic, sexual orientation, and gender harassment are all referred to, but being allowed freedom of speech rights is specifically not mentioned.
Well, we may have actually caught our nice new interim director in his first "fib". I also have heard of managers "harassing" their staff over their contributions to the blog. So that leaves us with a couple of interpretations of the apparent discrepancy regarding the director's recent memo on harassment, and the actual facts of life at LANL.

1. A manager impeding an employee's First Amendment rights by threatening retaliation is not covered under the official LANL definition of harassment,

2. The interim director "was not aware" that such harassment was occurring, or

3. He was aware; impeding an employee's First Amendment rights is harassment, but he just hopes we haven't noticed the inconsistancy.
Let me discuss sexual harrassment. I was sexually harassed my entire time at LANL. I would be a millionaire three times over by now with lawsuits if I had filed them. Ombuds sucked at helping, it's a farce. My group and division just branded any woman that every said anything, especially if your HR person and her husband are in the same division. If a woman says anything at the Lab, you will be retaliated against. No one will speak to you again, men anyway. It finally came down to just shutting up because I suffered in raises and reclasses. It's a good ole boy business in DX- (M)Division when it comes to harrassment. Just hide what God gave you in baggy clothes or get used to men talking to your chest.
This is horsecrap. Everytime someone who is a lousy worker gets passed over for promotions and raises, they scream discrimination and harassment. Maybe it is time to accept that you are not as good as you think you are.
You're absolutly correct, 8/24/2005 05:27:24 PM. There is no, repeat no harassment at LANL.

Just ask Baghdad Bob, he'll tell you.
According to written Sandia corporate policy, an employee of Sandia may not engage in any public communication of any kind relating to their employment experiences if they identify themselves and their employment relationship at Sandia....unless the public communication is cleared by the Sandia office responsible. If LM takes over LANL, I am sure the same will apply. Thus any entry in this blog by a LANL employee who uses their name would be in violation of the policy. If you do not believe me, ask a friend of yours at Sandia to print you out a copy of the Corporate Policy document...oh wait! That is prohibited as it is not for public release. I shall report myself immediately for termination when LM takes over. I am not worthy!
05:49:20 PM, not that I doubt your understanding of LM's policy, but let's see what another ex Sandia employee has to say about this:

Regarding Anonymous : 8/24/2005 04:17:37 PM:

The idea of having the HR Person and spouse in the same division is an embarrassment. HR has no clue on the concept of conflict of interest. Just the appearance of a conflict of interest in HR matters is unacceptable.

And, for along time HR Division has had a very bad reputation for retaliation against lower level employees. Of course, HR is a female dominated division and a man would be a fool to consider working there.
oh, but it's much more fun to blame "management" for all of your personal failings. Or women or men or whites or latinos or whatever.
I think that the statement about the SANDIA policy is typical of what one finds in industry. I suspect that is what we will see at LANL regardless of whether it is LM/UT or the UC consortium.

So, we need to keep the anonymous posts.
Yes, the previous comment is correct: under the new contractor, people like Holian will walk the plank. To challenge management in an international forum will be grounds for termination.
My, my. Anonymous ignorance still abounds on this blog.

I refer of course, to anonymouse 6:03:57 PM's brave expostulation.

I repeat, let's see what someone who might actually know what he is talking about (and is not afraid to let people know who he is) express his views on this subject:

Doug, the information in that post is a little incomplete, in that it does not relate the specific prohibition against content of speech concerning the employees experiences relating to Sandia employment. Yes, the employee may speak in public, but if the speech contains content relating to Sandia, and the employee identifies themselves as a Sandian, their speech is not authorized, and they are subject to management response. So even if you say "This is not an official communication from Sandia, but I work at Sandia", you are not in the clear. I would like to cut and paste the exact text from the relevant corporate document, but it is restricted from public release. I assure you, if I were not concerned about reprisal, I would place my name here.
Paul Robinson is a nice guy, but a little fuzzy on the details of SNL policy. I'm sure he means what he says but the legal staff might have a bit to add as well. It is always a good idea to be fuzzy on details at that level. The section of the SNL policy has actually has some crude typos and wording, and looks like a recent rush job to address some free speech issues they were or might be anticipating. Bottom line, any time you put your name on anything in public, anyone up your management chain can get back at you in subtle but painful ways. Like moving you to the office with no window next to the restrooms, or dropping a few percentiles per year in the salary chart...nothing major but pain enough to make speaking out in public less hassle than it is worth, except when human life and health is at stake...which might be more often than people think or know...
09:01:10 PM:

The official (but not written down anywhere that I know about except in an email from the LANL Public Affairs Office to me) LANL policy is similar. It goes something like this:

A LANL staffer has the right to exercise his/her first ammendment rights, to include talking to reporters or blogging to express personal opinions so long as

1) it is not done during work hours,
2) it is not done using government equipment, and
3) the individual does not pass him/her self off as an official LANL spokesperson.

Within those constraints, the individual is allowed to talk about anything desired, to include LANL (or Sandia).

LANL has a similar unwritten policy in effect, 09:08:53 PM. The last major practitioner of that policy, Nanos, got blogged, however.

More to follow.
I see...yet the crucial difference in SNL policy is this: if you don't get the speech approved, you cannot speak in public about any matter that occurs at Sandia while identifying yourself as a Sandia employee without facing consequences. I am sure this does not apply to innocent things like public interest stories and "positive" Sandia media mentions, but if you say something like "I work at Sandia, and the bad conditions are X, Y, and Z" you can face consequences up to termination, as I read the policy. I hope they go back and read the policy and realize it is not what they intended, but that is what I read it to say. It is pretty clear.
This is standard boiler-plate that must be released every year under the EEOC regs. If you can locate an older copy, you'll probably find that the wording wasn't much different under Nanos or Browne or Hecker or...

The lawyers wrote it.

But I agree, it would be nice for the management to come out with a statement that was more persuasive, which would mean it wouldn't sound like the lawyers wrote it in response to requirements.

Cheryl Rofer
Having read the Sandia CPR's on this.. it is pretty much standard Corporate agreement. They state that you may not talk about internal items and you agree that you will not in return for your employment. If you do talk and they dont like it, they have the right to fire you for breach of agreement. Pretty much every corporation and some universities (for non-tenured professors) have this language in your rules you promise to abide to for your check.

Now LM/Paul do not have to fire someone who breaches the contract, but they can do so if they wish. So Paul may not fire someone for posting to the blog about internal matters.. but he has the right to. [And from what I can tell, it has been exercised here at SNL for people who have put internal memos in emails to people who didnt have a need to know about them.]
The first blogger is right. Staff Relations and Ombuds aren't just a waste of time, they are spies for management. Their job is to find out about the problem, discredit the accuser and cover the whole business up. The ombuds office "feels your pain" while doing the above. Staff Relations will probably investigate then tell you it was your own fault no matter how egregious the behavior of the harasser.
The best thing to do is to collect evidence then take it to a lawyer. If you are being harassed because you witnessed or reported a safety incident or waste, fraud, or abuse by someone in management, you can sue for retaliation and usually recover your attorney's fees and protect your job.
A good way to get out of the situation is to keep someone with you at all times, if at all possible. Most harassers are smart enough not to harass you in front of a witness. Harassment is no joke, however. It is really the same thing as bullying and harassers who are in a position to do so won't hesitate to fire you.
And don't fall for the old malarkey that LANL never fires anyone. They do it all the time and it is usually due to the fact that the boss chooses a victim to pick on. If you can get out, do, but be sure you aren't going to a worse place than where you are. There are lots of nasty places to work at LANL and lots of immature bosses who like to show off by bullying someone.
10:04:36 PM, you know, it might not be that simple. A corporation does not own the space/time/information continuum (STIC) you experience/generate at work each day. A corporation can terminate your employment at will, thinking that it does, and face the consequences. If a corporation does own the totality of your experience while at work (as the Sandia policy infers), then it would follow logically that you would be liable to pay a royalty to your former company for any thought or idea you had while employed later...since your brain state is a continuous progression of brain states originating necessarily from those generated at Employer A. Of course, this would be ridiculous. Corporate lawyers write such absurd policies to intimidate employees, not to assert rights in law that they know would not stand in court. They want to establish processes that get all bad news to them first. They do not want to be surprised in the media or the blogosphere! Forwarding an "internal memo" marked as such is a different matter, and obviously prohibited legitimately. Writing a letter to a newspaper or blog editor saying "I work at Company A, and I think condition Z there is dangerous, and I reported it to the authorities" is quite another, protected by free speech (assuming no security restrictions)...indeed, reporting is required by DOE/NNSA regulations placing obligations on employees to protect health and safety...of fellow workers and the public.
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