Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Acting Regional Director Charlie Wooley. Photo by USFWS.
Acting Regional Director Charlie Wooley. Photo by USFWS.

September 2018

The damages from harassment and
inappropriate activities spread to many

Harassment and inappropriate activities in the workplace cause widespread damage to individuals directly involved and also to the organizations involved in a person’s wrongdoing.

When we learned of the extremely inappropriate actions of one of our employees recently toward students working at one of our facilities, we moved to make sure the individual students and any others in our facility were protected from harm. That includes my terminating that employee for their inappropriate behavior and apologizing to several student interns for this behavior. Eliminating harassment and harm of individuals is a responsibility I take seriously.

Sadly, this recent real-life regional example demonstrates how inappropriate actions of an individual spread beyond the suffering and harm to individuals and can damage the reputation of the Service and its employees as a whole. As a result of this event, I made a trip to the university one of the students attended - a major university in our region - to apologize. I explained how we  addressed the problem and reassured the university that we will do everything in our power to make sure any future students coming to work with us are protected from harassment of any kind and are provided a safe work environment.

There are severe consequences for inappropriate behavior. For the employee who harassed the students, the cost to them was their job. This was the second person this year that I terminated from government employment due to inappropriate behavior.

I’ve said it before, but we need to say it again: there is a Zero Tolerance policy for any form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace and I expect each of us to abide by that policy. This means when managers hear about violations of this essential policy we must act, as the manager did in the situation I described above.

The Zero Tolerance Policy applies to everyone: Midwest Region employees, interns, contractors, partners as well as our visiting public. We all deserve to work in a supportive environment, free from harassment. Period.

It’s imperative that you speak up if you are aware that someone is being harassed, because we can only act when we know about it. I understand it can be hard to say something but it’s crucial that you speak up. Supervisors and managers need to create a culture where staff are comfortable coming forward when they need to.

You have several options for reporting harassment. Talk to a colleague, or someone you trust.  You can speak directly with your supervisor, a project leader, anyone on the Regional Directorate Team or call our Harassment Hotline (844-437-6578). You can also contact me directly if you have concerns. Another option is to use the Your Voice tool linked on your computer’s desktop.

I’d also like to again share the video message from Secretary Zinke about harassment and discrimination and the Department’s policy on prevention and elimination of harassing conduct. Please take some time to watch this video and review our policy. Maintaining a safe and supportive work environment free from harassment and discrimination will always be a priority and I thank each of you for doing your part.

I can assure you, we won’t be talking about harassment in each Inside Region 3; however, we all need to take responsibility to continue to improve our working culture. Working together in a supportive, collaborative and inclusive way that leverages our diverse talents and skills is the only way we will successfully accomplish our mission.

Enjoy this month’s Inside Region 3 which has some great articles about the positive impacts we continue to have in conservation in this region. Some of this month’s highlights include:

 

Charlie

 


Navigating Inside Region 3

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Last updated: September 12, 2018