Alternative Dispute Resolution

Hubble Sombrero Galaxy

Differences of opinion happen and there are many expectations as to how conflicts should be addressed. With an effective conflict resolution mechanisms in place, we can continue to promote healthy working relationships and open communication among employees and managers to ensure unity and inclusion.

NASA’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program is designed to resolve EEO complaints at the Center level (as an informal EEO process) and at the Agency level (as a formal EEO process) through facilitation by a neutral third party.

NASA’s EEO ADR Program primarily uses mediation, one of the most common and effective methods of ADR, as one way to resolve EEO complaints at the lowest possible level.

NASA Anti-Harassment Campaign

NASA announced its ongoing Agency-wide Anti-Harassment Campaign on February 1, 2018 with a video from former Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot (accessible at, highlighting NASA’s strong commitment to a harassment-free workplace. As Administrator Jim Bridenstine stated at his first NASA Town Hall meeting, “This is an agency where we want to make sure that inclusion and diversity continue… as long as I’m at the helm of this agency, there will be no discrimination based on race, religion, sexual identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, or anything else.”

The Campaign, in the words of Steve Shih, the Agency’s Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity, is “to support the safety and success of NASA’s workforce and mission by maintaining a harassment-free workplace that provides Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity and Inclusion, where employees are fully empowered to be heard and to contribute to the Agency.”

The Campaign has two main strategic objectives, to proactively prevent harassment at NASA and to correct promptly harassment when it occurs. Employees can assist efforts to ensure a harassment-free workplace by familiarizing themselves with NASA’s Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedures (see the program FAQS at:;

“The success of NASA’s mission critically depends on having a safe and effective workforce,” says Mr. Shih. “A safe and workplace include familiarizing themselves with and following NASA’s Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedures.

An effective workforce requires a workplace with equal employment opportunity, diversity and inclusion. This will enable our employees to perform to the best of their ability and fully contribute to the success of their organizations and missions. This will empower our employees to feel safe and valued, and able to carry out their duties, voice their ideas about correction and innovation, and report risks, problems and wrongdoing.”

To learn more about the Agency’s Anti-Harassment Campaign and Program, visit the ODEO website at: To contact a NASA Center Anti-Harassment Coordinator, visit:

NASA Recognizes Conflict Resolution Day on October 18, 2018

Conflict Resolution Day, officially celebrated this year on October 18, 2018, is an internationally recognized event created by the Association for Conflict Resolution to promote awareness of the many creative and proactive methods for resolving and managing conflicts. At NASA, each Center holds commemorations and conducts educational awareness events throughout the month of October. These events highlight NASA’s commitment to resolving conflicts at the earliest possible stage.

Each Center leverages this time of the year to promote awareness and use of early and peaceful means of resolving workplace conflicts such as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Ombudsman Program, Conflict Resolution Program, Anti-Harassment Program, Process for Handling Dissenting Opinions, NASA Safety Reporting System, Employee Assistance Program, Negotiated Grievance Process, Administrative Grievance Process and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO).

For Conflict Resolution Month events at each Center, please visit:

Ames Research Center:
Telephone: (650) 604-0783

Armstrong Flight Research Center:
Telephone: (661) 276-3033

Glenn Research Center:
Telephone: (216) 433-2463

Goddard Space Flight Center:
Telephone: (301) 286-7348

Telephone: (202) 358-1228

Johnson Space Center:
Telephone: (281) 483-0603

Kennedy Space Center:
Telephone: (321) 867 9171

Langley Research Center:
Telephone: (757) 864-4240

Marshall Space Flight Center:
Telephone: (256) 544-6764

NASA Shared Services Center/Stennis Space Center:
Telephone: (228) 688-2210

NASA Title IX Reviews Assess Grantee Equal Opportunity

Did you know that NASA plays a key role in ensuring equal opportunity and promoting diversity and inclusion in university and college science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs nationwide? NASA provides technical assistance and legal compliance assessment to the STEM programs the Agency funds across the country.

These reviews are conducted under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and NASA’s implementing regulations and policy, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. NASA conducts Title IX compliance reviews on NASA grant recipients, such as university STEM departments, to ensure beneficiaries of NASA grants have equal opportunity without regard to sex to pursue, participate in, and benefit from academic research, career development opportunities, and educational activities.

NASA assesses the Title IX coordinator’s role and functioning, confirms the existence of Title IX policy and procedures and the quality of their dissemination, evaluates Title IX grievance procedures and the effectiveness of their implementation, and reviews Title IX self-evaluation efforts of the grant recipient.

NASA also evaluates the STEM department’s provision of equal opportunity regardless of gender—in student and faculty recruitment, outreach, admissions, enrollment, retention, academic advising, research participation, classroom and lab experiences, student experiences relating to parental/marital status, and physical safety of the program environment.

Promising practices associated with each of the compliance areas are also reported.

NASA’s Title IX review recommendations are designed to assist NASA grantees in furthering their efforts to ensure equal educational opportunities, regardless of gender.

To learn more about these and related efforts, visit the Agency’s MissionSTEM website at

To view NASA’s latest Title IX compliance report of a NASA-funded STEM program (University of California, Berkeley, Department of Astronomy) visit: .

NASA Administrator Anti-Discrimination Policy Statement

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine issued a policy statement [] today reaffirming the agency’s commitment to equal opportunity among the many educational and research institutions nationwide that receive NASA grant funding or that participate in agency-conducted programs.

This policy statement reflects a core component of the NASA mission and values that touch every state in the nation, as the agency currently awards more than $1 billion annually in grants to some 750 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs at universities and colleges, science centers and museums, research institutes, and other organizations.

Under federal civil rights laws, recipient institutions of NASA grant awards and cooperative agreements must ensure equal opportunity to their program beneficiaries. These beneficiaries include, but are not limited to, STEM faculty, staff and students and visitors to science museums and centers.

As the Administrator states:

“At the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), we are committed to achieving our missions and realizing our vision to discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity. To accomplish our missions and vision, we invest in programs and activities involving non-Federal institutions. As authorized by Federal laws and NASA civil rights regulations and policies, we are also fully committed to helping these partner organizations – that participate in NASA-conducted programs or receive funding from NASA – adhere to all applicable civil rights authorities, and refrain from discrimination on the bases of race, color, and national origin, sex (including sexual harassment), disability, and age.”

This is an especially timely statement of NASA’s commitment to equal opportunity as we witness, in many professions across the country, the impact of harassment on individuals, institutions and entire industries.

At NASA, we understand that diversity and inclusion drive innovation and mission success. The barriers created by harassment can have a negative impact on mission-critical work and the development of our nation’s current and future STEM talent pipeline. For this reason, and because it’s right, NASA is dedicated working with our grantees to prevent and effectively address harassment.

For more information on NASA’s efforts to ensure equal opportunity and promote diversity and inclusion among the agency’s grant recipient institutions, visit NASA’s MissionSTEM Web site at and

Workplace Harassment: Information and Resources

Workplace Harassment: Information and Resources

EEOC Webpage on Harassment:

NASA Policies and Procedures on Anti-Harassment and Diversity and Inclusion:

NASA Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity:

NASA’s Center EEO Offices:

EEOC Reconvenes Select Task Force to Study Harassment in the Workplace

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace reconvened in June 2018 to continue the effort to prevent workplace harassment. The Commission heard from expert witnesses on “Transforming #MeToo into Harassment-Free Workplaces” at a meeting open to the public. A second panel was devoted to innovative strategies to promote workplaces free of harassing conduct.

The Select Task Force released a report in June 2016, which includes recommendations regarding leadership, accountability, policies and procedures, training, and developing a sense of collective responsibility:
As a result of the report, the EEOC developed an innovative training program called Respectful Workplaces provided in over 200 training sessions to over 5,200 employees and supervisors in 18 states. Since the report’s released, the EEOC has conducted about 2,700 outreach events related to harassment, reaching approximately 300,000 individuals.

The EEOC has also identified a number of promising practices, as a result of the task force, to enhance employers’ compliance efforts:

NASA is Working Proactively to Prevent Harassment

Thank you for tuning in for ODEO’s blog regarding NASA’s anti-harassment efforts! In February, NASA embarked on an Anti-Harassment Campaign for 2018. NASA seeks to proactively prevent harassment at NASA and promptly correct harassment when it occurs, as this effort dovetails with our goals to assure the safety and effectiveness of NASA’s workforce and mission.

NASA defines harassment as any unwelcome conduct, verbal or physical based on an individual’s race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, status as a parent, genetic information, or gender identity, or retaliation for making reports or allegations of harassment or providing information related to such allegations when: the behavior can reasonably be considered to adversely affect the work environment, or an employment decision affecting the employee is based upon the employee’s acceptance or rejection of such conduct.

What focus would you like to see NASA consider, as we move forward on this initiative? What challenges do you believe we face, in attaining this mutual goal? What alliances can be fashioned or strengthened to ensure mission success?

Thank you, in advance, for your ideas on these and other issues.

Steve Shih, Esq.
Associate Administrator
Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity

NASA’s Anti-Harassment Stance is Inextricably Linked to Mission

Thank you for tuning in for the first-of-several blog posts regarding NASA’s anti-harassment philosophy and efforts! As Administrator Jim Bridenstine stated at his first NASA Town Hall meeting, “This is an agency where we want to make sure that inclusion and diversity continue… as long as I’m at the helm of this agency, there will be no discrimination based on race, religion, sexual identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, or anything else.” In that vein, ODEO held an Agency-wide Anti-Harassment Forum on May 15-17 at Johnson Space Center in Houston. The Forum, a key part of the NASA Anti-Harassment Campaign, brought together the Agency’s anti-harassment community of practice, including all 10 Center Anti-Harassment Coordinators, as well as legal, HR, and EEO leaders from across the Agency. The Forum was designed primarily to provide participants with an opportunity to raise current issues and concerns, share promising practices, and contribute to the continuous improvement of the program at their Centers and potentially Agency-wide.

Program highlights included a keynote address by Dr. Lilia Cortina, one of the Nation’s preeminent researchers on sexual harassment in the workplace, who recently served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Study of Sexual Harassment in the Sciences, as well as a presentation by D&I thought leader and author of The Loudest Duck, Laura Liswood. The Forum group also heard from a number of senior leaders including Krista Paquin, former Deputy Associate Administrator, and Melanie Saunders, Acting Deputy Associate Administrator, and myself, among others.

As a safety culture, NASA takes anti-harassment seriously; when any among our workforce feel unsafe, there exists the potential to detrimentally affect NASA’s mission.

What are your thoughts on anti-harassment? It’s nexus with our mission? Are there additional areas you would like to see NASA address?
I invite you to join the conversation!

Steve Shih, Esq.
Associate Administrator
Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity