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I am aware that over the last few years, many Customs employees have come to consider me as a "law enforcement oriented" Commissioner. I am proud to have earned that reputation, because enforcement of Customs laws is a responsibility that I, along with thousands of dedicated Customs officers, take very seriously.

But, there are other kinds of laws which I believe must be vigorously enforced - these are the Civil Service laws designed to protect employees in the work place, specifically, the laws and regulations which set fourth merit system principles. Although merit system principles cover over a broad range of matters, one area deserves particular attention, and that is the area of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is sometimes more difficult to detect than other merit system violations, and is considered by some to represent a controversial issue.

For me, sexual harassment is not an ambiguous or "taboo" subject. cannot and will not be tolerated in the U.S. Customs Service.


It is the policy of the U.s. Customs Service that sexual
harassment is unacceptable conduct in the workplace and
will not be condoned. Personnel Management within the u.s.
Customs Service shall be implemented free from prohibited
personnel practices, and consistent with merit system

Sexual harassment covers a range of behaviors. It is defined by the Office of Personnel Management as:

Deliberate or repeated unsolicited verbal comments, gestures, or physical contact of sexual nature which are unwelcome and/or interfere with work productivity; use of implicit or explicit coercive sexual behavior to control, influence, or affect the career, salary, or job of an employee.


A key to the understanding of sexual harassment is the word "unwelcome". It is not the intention of the Customs Service to regulate the social interaction or relationships entered into freely by Federal employees. However, such relationships are very different and should not be compared with sexual harassment, which is unwanted. Relationships that are initated through sexual harassment are not entered into freely. Furthermore, sexual harassment is a form of discrimination, and as such, constitutes a prohibited personnel practice. All employees, including supervisors and managers, who commit acts of sexual harassment are subject to discriplinary action.

Each of us, as a Federal employee, has a grave responsiblity under the Federal Code of Conduct and Ethics for maintaining a high standard of honesty, integrity, impartiality, and conduct to assure proper performance of the Government's business, and the maintenance of public confidence. Any employee conduct which violates the Code cannot be condoned.

Employees who belive that they are the victims of sexual harassment have several avenues available to them to pursue related allegations, including the filing of an EEO complaint. I would also like to stress the availability of our Customs Hotline, which was established to deal specifically with integrity matters. If you feel that sexual harassment has occurred, you may contact the Customs Hotline, or any office of Internal Affairs, with the assurance that there will be a swift, thorough and confidential investigation.

You may call or write the Customs Hotline at:



FTS 566-2220
Commerical (202) 566-2220

Customs Hotline
P.O. Box 486
Washington, D.C. 20044

I fully endorse the principle that all employees have a right to work in an environment free of sexual pressures. It is my personal commitment that sexual harassment or intimidation will not be tolerated in the U.S. Customs Service.

With a Rod


Adverse Impact (Effect)

A substantially different rate of selection in hiring, promotion or other employment decisions that works to the disadvantage of members of a race, gender or ethnic group. Also, the uniform application to all applicants or employees of certain personnel policies (such as, wordof-mouth recruiting) that have the effect of denying employment or advancement to members of protected classes. Business necessity is the only justification for adverse impact.

Affirmative Action

A legal concept that requires the employer to do more than ensure employment neutrality with regard to race, color, sex, national origin and handicapping condition. The employers must make additional efforts to recruit, employ and promote qualified members of groups formerly excluded. The premise of the affirmative action concept is that unless positive action is undertaken to overcome the effects of systemic institutional forms of exclusion and discrimination, the status quo will be perpetuated indefinitely.

Affirmative Action Plan

A plan whose execution will assure measurable, yearly improvements in hiring, training and promotion of minorities and females in all parts of an organization. The effectiveness of the plan is measured by the results it actually achieves rather than by those it is intended to achieve. A written affirmative action plan is required of all federal agencies and all sub-units of agencies that have more than 500 employees.

Alleged Discriminating Official (ADO)

Person(s) whom a complainant identifies as responsible for the action or matter which gave rise to the complaint of discrimination.

Applicant and Candidate

An applicant is a person who has indicated an interest in being considered for hiring, promotion or other employment opportunities. A candidate is a current employee who is being considered for promotion, training or other employment opportunities but has not been invited to submit an application.

Barrier Analysis

A review and analysis of selection procedures and practices to determine which ones impede agency efforts to eliminate underrepresentation or to offer equal employment opportunities to underrepresented groups.

Business Necessity

Proof required of an employer that his/her employment practices or policies, which tend to adversely affect members of a protected class, effectively carry out the business purposes they are alleged to serve and that no alternative, nondiscriminatory practices can achieve safe and efficient operation.

Civilian Labor Force (CLF)

The number of persons 16 years-of-age and older, except those in the armed forces, who are employed or seeking employment. There are a number of separate CLF statistics: national, and by locality and PATCO category. The acronym PATCO stands for professional, administrative, technical, clerical and other.

Determination of Underrepresentation

A comparison between the percent of a particular race/national origin group by gender in a category of federal employment and the percentage of the same group in the appropriate civilian labor force.

Differential Treatment

An inconsistent or unfair application of a rule, policy, or practice. Discrimination, even though unintentional, may result when rules, policies or practices are applied differently.

Disparate Effect

A situation in which a rule, policy or practice that is applied equally to all employees and applicants has a limiting or screen-out effect on the employment of protected classes. The rule, policy or practice may be alowed, if the employer can prove that it is necessary for the performance of the job.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The administration of all terms and conditions of employment without regard to age, color, handicapping condition, national origin, race, religion or sex.

EEOC Guidelines

Interpretations of Title VII expressed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that do not have the force of law, but tend to be supported by the courts.


Part of an affirmative action program that is required to eliminate employment discrimination and the effects of past discrimination. The long-range goal is representation of each race and gender group in reasonable relations to its availability in each member job classifica

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