The mission of the U.S. Postal Service is to provide the American public with trusted, affordable, and universal mail service. The Postal Service employs 653,167 career and noncareer employees to carry out its mission. To ensure its employees are working in safe conditions and are compliant with applicable laws and regulations, the Postal Service has policies in place to promote safety and a workplace free of all harassment, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Postal Service has established several methods for employees to report sexual harassment complaints. The offices responsible for accepting and responding to employee sexual harassment complaints include Human Resources, Labor Relations, and Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance and Appeals.
What We Did
Our objective was to evaluate the Postal Service’s response to sexual harassment complaints involving Postal Service employees. Specifically, we assessed policies and procedures related to handling sexual harassment complaints and the quality of sexual harassment data and identified trends in the data for cases closed between fiscal year (FY) 2019 and FY 2021.
What We Found
We found that the Postal Service may not have a complete picture of the extent to which sexual harassment goes unreported to management or through the Equal Employment Opportunity process. We also found that data related to certain sexual harassment complaints is unreliable. Additionally, we found that while the Postal Service has made significant efforts to meet federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requirements for responding to sexual harassment, opportunities for improvement exist in how the agency reviews complaints submitted through its Equal Employment Opportunity complaint process. Further, we found that an overwhelming majority of managers who conducted the Initial Management Inquiry Process, used to respond to harassment complaints, had not completed required training. The same was true for personnel responsible for recording harassment data into the Workplace Environment Tracking System.
We made six recommendations, including that management periodically conduct an employee-wide survey to assess the extent to which sexual harassment is not reported to the Postal Service and evaluate the effectiveness of the Postal Service’s anti-harassment policies and procedures.
Source: USPS OIG