Code of conduct
TTS is committed to building a safe, welcoming, harassment-free culture for everyone. We do not merely want a work environment that is free from hostility; we want one that is actively welcoming and inclusive. We want our team and our workplace culture to reflect and celebrate the diversity of the communities we serve.
This Code of Conduct summarizes federal anti-harassment law and General Services Administration policy. We intend the plain-language approach to promote a culture of inclusion and respect.
We expect everyone on the TTS team to exhibit these behaviors and abide by applicable federal laws and GSA policies. In addition, we expect everyone within TTS spaces to exhibit these behaviors and refrain from behavior prohibited by anti-harassment laws and GSA policies on harassment. These spaces include:
- TTS's physical offices,
- TTS events and meetings,
- All of our online forums and virtual collaboration tools, including:
- Office chat rooms, like Slack
- Mailing lists and email
- Code repositories, like GitHub
- Emoji, avatars, and other expressive reactions
What We Strive For
We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive culture that empowers people to provide outstanding public service. That kind of atmosphere requires an open exchange of ideas balanced by thoughtful guidelines. If we have only openness, colleagues who are on the receiving end of thoughtless or intentionally hurtful comments and behavior may reasonably withdraw. If we have overly intrusive guidelines, people may feel unwelcome.
It would be impossible to list everything staff can do to create a more welcoming space, and we know this team will find ways to include their colleagues that we haven't even thought of. But when in doubt, we encourage you to look to these principles for guidance:
- Practice empathy and humility.
- Assume competence in your colleagues, clients and the public.
- Assume that everyone we work with is doing their best work for the public.
- Listen carefully and actively.
- Ask questions, and seek to understand your partners' context.
- Encourage other people to listen as much as they speak.
- Treat other people's identities and cultures with respect. Make an effort to say people's names correctly and refer to them by their stated pronouns.
To help colleagues understand the kinds of behaviors that are illegal or run counter to the culture we seek to foster, we've listed below actions that violate federal law and GSA policy. We've also included steps to take if you encounter behavior that runs contrary to this policy.
Sexual and Non-Sexual Harassment
The GSA Policy Statement on Sexual and Non-Sexual Harassment forbids:
- Sexual and non-sexual harassment and misconduct, as defined in GSA Order ADM 2325.8 Section 3(a), (b) and (c).
- Unwelcome verbal or written comment or physical conduct based on:
- sex (with or without sexual conduct and including pregnancy and sexual orientation involving transgender status/gender identity, and sex-stereotyping)
- national origin,
- genetic information,
- sexual orientation,
- gender identity,
- parental status,
- marital status,
- or political affiliation.
- Retaliating against anyone who files a formal complaint that someone has violated GSA anti-harassment policies.
Conduct Unbecoming a Federal Employee
Federal employees can be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including removal, for conduct unbecoming a federal employee, which is conduct which is unattractive; unsuitable; detracting from one's character or reputation; or creates an unfavorable impression. Abusive and demeaning remarks to and about others in the workplace, and sexual remarks, which do not rise to the level of sexual harassment under the employment discrimination laws, nonetheless can be considered conduct unbecoming a federal employee.
Other Unacceptable Behavior
In addition, the following behaviors violate applicable laws and policies, or otherwise undermine the culture of respect and inclusion we seek to build within TTS:
- Touching people without their affirmative consent.
- Sustained disruption of meetings, talks, or discussions, including chat rooms.
- Mocking someone's real or perceived accent or first language.
- Repeatedly interrupting or talking over other people in meetings and discussions.
- Negative or offensive remarks based on gender expression, mental illness, socioeconomic status or background, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, or body size.
- Using emoji or creation of custom emoji for unacceptable behavior.
The process for reporting violations of GSA's Policy Statement on sexual and non-sexual harassment can be found in GSA Order ADM 2325.8 Section 3(d) and GSA Order HRM 9700.6. Depending on your complaint, you may have a 45-day window from the date of the incident to report it to the GSA. Please read the GSA Order carefully.
The behaviors listed in this section undermine the culture of inclusion and respect that we are trying to build within TTS. We encourage you to report violations to your supervisor, any management official, a Human Resources official, and/or the Office of Civil Rights, so that TTS can take any necessary steps to ensure that we have a safe and welcoming team.
TTS is greatly appreciative of the multiple sources that we drew from to build this Code of Conduct, including:
- Code for America Code of Conduct
- Ada Initiative: HOWTO design a code of conduct for your community
- Geek Feminism Code of Conduct
Laws and Policies Concerning Workplace Harassment:
- GSA's Policy Statement on sexual and non-sexual harassment
- Laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Types of Discrimination prohibited by law
- New and proposed regulations
Approved May 1, 2018
Published May 7, 2018