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My Coast Guard
Commentary | March 1, 2023

New working group aims to cultivate a harassment-free workplace 

By Annie Sheehan, MyCG Staff Writer 

Combating all forms of harassment and hate within the workplace is one of the Coast Guard’s top priorities. Dignity, respect, and trust are more than words – they are important values integral to our service’s mission success.
To this end, the Commandant directed the Deputy Commandant for Mission Support (DCMS) to charter the Harassing Behavior Accountability Working Group (HBAWG), to develop guidance to better identify, investigate, and correct harassing behaviors.  
The HBAWG updated the Coast Guard’s Harassing Behaviors Prevention, Response, and Accountability (HBPRA) instruction. This new policy outlines expectations for leaders and the workforce. The instruction consolidates prevention and response for all harassing behaviors into one document. The instruction standardizes corrective actions and consequences for incidents that have been substantiated through proper investigations and creates clear paths for accountability for military members and civilian employees who fail to fulfill their obligations under this policy. 

The policy change and instruction does not take the place of filing an Equal Opportunity (EO) or an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint of discriminatory harassment. Instead, both this new policy and these legacy tools work together to lay out executable guidance, a governance structure, and systemic processes to eliminate harassing behaviors.  

Data from surveys such as the voluntary Workforce and Gender Relations Survey (WGRS) for active and reserve members will inform our progress. Results of the all services 2021 WGRS can be found here. 

All of the armed services will administer the WGRS in 2023, and we thank you in advance for your participation. The greater number of our members who take the time to complete the survey, the better our data. We will use this data to inform our progress, develop necessary policy updates, and provide resources to further this mission.
“Everyone deserves to work in a supportive environment,” said Capt. Monique Roebuck, chief of Office of Military Personnel Policy. “This new instruction and guidance will give us the tools we need for eliminating harassing behaviors in our workforce. This includes eliminating hazing, bullying, sexual harassment, and retaliation. These behaviors go against the Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty. They have no place in our service.” 
“Systematic change starts with each of us,” Roebuck said. “It is our responsibility to own this policy and apply it. As leaders, we all need to understand what harassment is and speak up when we witness wrongdoing. We all need to advocate to be the change we wish to see.”

Promulgation of Harassing Behavior Prevention, Response, and Accountability Instruction ALCOAST 083/23