Expands the main menu


Audit Reports

  • Image
    Sexual Harassment
Report Number:
Report Type:
Audit Reports
Category: Human Resources

U.S. Postal Service’s Response to Sexual Harassment Complaints


The mission of the U.S. Postal Service is to provide the American public with trusted, affordable, and universal mail service. The Postal Service employs 653,167 career and noncareer employees to carry out its mission. To ensure its employees are working in safe conditions and are compliant with applicable laws and regulations, the Postal Service has policies in place to promote safety and a workplace free of all harassment, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Postal Service has established several methods for employees to report sexual harassment complaints. The offices responsible for accepting and responding to employee sexual harassment complaints include Human Resources, Labor Relations, and Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance and Appeals.

What We Did

Our objective was to evaluate the Postal Service’s response to sexual harassment complaints involving Postal Service employees. Specifically, we assessed policies and procedures related to handling sexual harassment complaints and the quality of sexual harassment data and identified trends in the data for cases closed between fiscal year (FY) 2019 and FY 2021.

What We Found

We found that the Postal Service may not have a complete picture of the extent to which sexual harassment goes unreported to management or through the Equal Employment Opportunity process. We also found that data related to certain sexual harassment complaints is unreliable. Additionally, we found that while the Postal Service has made significant efforts to meet federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requirements for responding to sexual harassment, opportunities for improvement exist in how the agency reviews complaints submitted through its Equal Employment Opportunity complaint process. Further, we found that an overwhelming majority of managers who conducted the Initial Management Inquiry Process, used to respond to harassment complaints, had not completed required training. The same was true for personnel responsible for recording harassment data into the Workplace Environment Tracking System.


We made six recommendations, including that management periodically conduct an employee-wide survey to assess the extent to which sexual harassment is not reported to the Postal Service and evaluate the effectiveness of the Postal Service’s anti-harassment policies and procedures

Report Recommendations

# Recommendation Status Value Management Response OIG Response USPS Proposed Resolution

Conduct an employee-wide survey to assess the extent to which sexual harassment is not reported to the Postal Service and evaluate the effectiveness of the Postal Service's anti-harassment policies and procedures.

Open $0 Disagree

Develop a verifiable process for all sexual harassment complaints from multiple systems to be accurately collected, monitored, and analyzed in accordance with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requirements.

Open $0 Disagree

Implement system controls to require an issue code and issue description for cases processed in the Grievance and Arbitration Tracking System and issue guidance to staff to reiterate grievance case file retention requirements.

Open $0 Agree

Establish a process to refer sexual harassment complaints that are dismissed from the Equal Employment Opportunity complaint process for procedural reasons to Human Resources for management investigation.

Open $0 Disagree

Update Publication 552 to require validation that managers and supervisors have completed required training before they initiate an Initial Management Inquiry Process.

Open $0 Agree

Require all users who have access to Workplace Environment Tracking System to provide documentation they completed the required training and implement a process to validate the training has been completed before granting access to new users.

Open $0 Agree