Taking a firm stand against workplace harassment, NASA has launched a new campaign for its employees saying that the space agency will not tolerate any kind of harassment. “Harassment, including sexual harassment, has no place here at NASA and will not be tolerated. It’s not consistent with our values, our employee engagement, and our high-performance culture. It’s wrong and it’s not acceptable,” Robert Lightfoot, Acting NASA Administrator, was quoted as saying in a video message released at the space agency’s YouTube channel this week. Lightfoot outlined the procedures for all NASA employees and contractors to report harassment of any kind. He also encouraged all NASA members to be “vigilant and immediately report any inappropriate conduct” in helping towards preventing and stopping workplace harassment.
“All reports will be treated appropriately, with a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation. Individuals reporting harassment will have their identity kept confidential,” Lightfoot said. The new campaign requires all current and new members of NASA to undergo anti-harassment training by the end of 2018. Besides, NASA will also partner with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to learn about current developments in anti-harassment. “We need to provide a safe workplace so that our workforce is effective,” Lightfoot said.
In October 2017, media reports emerged about Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s numerous sexual misconduct accusations, following which several victims of harassment worldwide united and shared their stories under the social media hashtag #MeToo. According to space.com, Lightfoot’s message comes after the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology requested that the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigate anti-harassment practices at science-based federal agencies.
The GAO letter, signed by Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member Eddie Johnson, asked several agencies (including NASA) to report how many cases of harassment were there at each agency, what anti-harassment policies existed and how grant recipients learn about anti-harassment policies, among other requests.