Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Sexual Harrassment Policy
headline bar

September 28, 2010



SUBJECT:  Mid South Area Sexual Harassment Policy Statement


           TO:  Mid South Area Employees


     FROM:  Edgar G. King  /s/  Edgar G. King

                   Area Director



Eliminating discrimination and sexual harassment and fostering a respectful environment requires an ongoing, demonstrated commitment from all employees of the Mid South Area. The official Mid South Area Policy concerning sexual harassment in the Workplace is “Zero Tolerance”.  Sexual Harassment is by law a form of sex discrimination that clearly violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

All managers/supervisors are directed to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring.  They should clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in any form.  If such harassment happens to occur, it is the responsibility of all parties involved to be helpful and to inform the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop.  Any employee who feels that their rights have been violated should contact your supervisor, Research Leader, and/or Center Director/Laboratory Director.  My office also is open to your complaints/grievances and can be contacted at 662-686-5265.

The U.S. Supreme Court has simplified matters somewhat by explaining that there are two basic types of unlawful sexual harassment.

The first type involves harassment that results in a tangible employment action.  An example would be a supervisor who tells a subordinate that he or she must be sexually cooperative with the supervisor or he or she will be adversely affected.  This imposition often is referred to as quid pro quo.

A second type of unlawful sexual harassment results in creation of a hostile environment.  Unlike a quid pro quo, which is usually imposed by a supervisor, a hostile environment can result from the gender-based unwelcome conduct of supervisors, co-workers, customers, vendors, or anyone else with whom the victimized employee interacts on the job.  Behaviors that have contributed to a hostile environment have included some of the following:

  • unfulfilled threats to impose a sexual quid pro quo;
  • discussing sexual activities;
  • telling off-color jokes;
  • unnecessary touching;
  • commenting on physical attributes;
  • displaying sexually suggestive pictures.

Any Mid South Area employee who believes that they have been subjected to conduct that violates this policy may seek assistance from their supervisor, human resource manager, or other managers at their location.  The Area Administration strictly prohibits any employee to be subjected to any form of retaliation or reprisal for reporting alleged violations of this policy by the Federal Employee Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No Fear Act 107-174).


Please provide this memorandum to all employees of the Mid South Area and prominently display in all offices.


Last Modified: 2/13/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page