New NSF policy addresses workplace harassment

The National Science Foundation is taking steps to ensure that its employees are protected from harassment and inappropriate conduct and relationships in the workplace.

NSF on Sept. 21 introduced a new policy for awardees' terms and conditions that requires organizations to report sexual harassment, and also establishes a secure online portal for submitting those claims.

As part if the new rule, awardee organizations must notify the agency of any findings or determinations that an NSF-funded principal investigator or co-principal investigator committed harassment, including sexual harassment or sexual assault; and the placement of the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on administrative leave, or of the imposition of any administrative action relating to a harassment or sexual assault finding or investigation.

This new policy is intended to provide targeted, serious consequences for harassers. It gives people tools to make harassment stop without disturbing others' careers and lives, “an NFS statement states.

NSF is committed to ensuring the safety and security of the people our awards support. When that safety is endangered through the actions of someone associated with an NSF award, the foundation will work to replace that person while preserving support for responsible members of the community. We will continue to work with awardee institutions to carefully consider each case,” the statement continued.

The rules are accepted to go in to effect by Oct 1. Read the full notice on the rule change here.

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