At Facebook, we believe it’s essential to provide all employees with a respectful and safe working environment. As a result, we don’t tolerate harassment or any mistreatment of employees in the workplace or work-related situations, including unlawful harassment on the basis of the following protected categories:
- race, color, ethnic or national origin;
- religion or religious creed (or belief, where applicable);
- sex, including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions;
- sexual orientation;
- gender, gender identity, gender expression, transgender status, or sexual stereotypes;
- nationality, immigration status, citizenship, or ancestry;
- marital status;
- protected military or veteran status;
- physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information or characteristics (or those of a family member);
- political views or activity;
- status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking; or
- any other basis prohibited under federal, state, or local law.
Harassment under this Harassment Policy (Policy) may include conduct that creates a disrespectful, intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for an employee. Engaging in such conduct is a violation of this Policy.
If Facebook determines that an employee’s conduct has violated this Policy, we will take steps to ensure the conduct is effectively addressed, and any employee found to have engaged in harassing conduct may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.
Because the intent of this Policy is to deter conduct that is unwanted, unreasonable, and demeaning, Facebook may consider an employee’s conduct to be in violation of this Policy even if it falls short of unlawful harassment under applicable law. When determining whether conduct violates this Policy, we consider whether a reasonable person could conclude that the conduct created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, or demeaning environment.
This Policy applies to everyone who works for Facebook and any of its subsidiaries. Everyone—including individual contributors, managers, and contingent workers—is responsible for following and upholding this Policy. Additionally, we don’t tolerate harassment of employees by non-employees (e.g., contingent workers, guests, vendors, clients, and agency partners), nor do we tolerate harassment of non-employees by employees.
All Facebook managers globally are required to attend our mandatory sexual harassment training, which includes a comprehensive review of our Policy and applicable law.
Who’s It For?
This outline applies to Facebook’s US offices. Outside the US, the investigations process varies depending on local law. Contact the Employment Law Team if you have region-specific questions.
Why Do We Conduct Workplace Investigations?
When we learn about a potential violation of Facebook policy or law, it’s our job and obligation to investigate, and when a violation of Facebook policy or law is found, to stop the misconduct. Our goal is to create a safe and respectful environment where everyone can come and do their best work.
What Do We Investigate?
A few examples of the types of matters we investigate include complaints about harassment and discrimination, disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, improper conflicts of interest, and abuse of company resources.
Some of these topics are sensitive, and we want people to feel as comfortable as possible coming to us with concerns. To that end, we try to keep matters as confidential as possible.
How Do I Report a Potential Violation of Law or Policy?
If you see or hear of something that might be a violation of Facebook policy or law, we encourage you to speak up. If you are a manager, you are required to report any potential violations to HR. Facebook provides a variety of channels for people to report concerns:
- Any Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) or Employee Relations Partner (ERP)
- Employment Law
- Anonymous Whistleblower Hotline
Should I Be Concerned About Retaliation?
No. The law protects employees from retaliation for reporting or participating in an investigation, as does Facebook policy. We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to unlawful retaliation. Specifically, Facebook’s Harassment Policy encourages employees to come forward with their concerns and participate in the investigations process, all without fear of retaliation.
Who Conducts the Investigation?
Once a concern has been raised, our Investigations Team, an independent and impartial function within the People Team, conducts a prompt and thorough investigation to determine facts. Each investigation is tailored to the specific issues being investigated and is also documented and tracked to ensure reasonable progress and timely closure of the investigation. Findings are then shared with a very small group of people, generally folks in HR and Legal, on a need-to-know basis. The Investigations Team is not the decision maker, but simply a fact finder tasked with reaching reasonable conclusions.
How are employees involved in investigations?
If you’re asked to participate in an investigation, here’s what you can expect:
- Prior to the meeting: A member of the Investigations Team will reach out to you by email to schedule a meeting. You do not need to prepare for the meeting unless specifically requested to do so. Given the sensitive nature of an investigation, you will be asked to keep this information as confidential as possible. Our Investigations Team generally does not provide context for the meeting at this stage of the process. If you experience stress as a result of being invited to this meeting and need someone to talk to, reach out to your HR Business Partner or ER Partner.
- During the meeting: There will likely be two people from the Investigations Team in the room during the meeting. One will be there to take notes. You’ll be asked a variety of questions about a particular topic. It’s important that you be open and honest in your responses. The Investigations Team is committed to being respectful, impartial, and professional during the meeting.
- Following the meeting: To protect confidentiality and to ensure fairness to everyone involved, we may not be able to answer specific questions about an investigation, but the Investigations Team will reach out to you to inform you that the matter has been addressed and closed. Contact the lead investigator or your HR Business Partner or ER Partner if you have follow up questions or need help.
Do I Have to Participate in an Investigation if Asked?
Yes. Our people have an obligation to participate in an investigation.
Do I Have to Report a Facebook Policy Violation?
We ask everyone who works for Facebook to report a potential violation of policy or law, but if you are a manager, you are required to report anything that comes to your attention. If you have questions about what that might look like, refer to our Corporate Policies, which includes our Code of Conduct and Harassment Policy. You can also ask your HR Business Partner or ER Partner.
Will My Manager Find Out if I’m Meeting With the Investigations Team?
Not necessarily. Information regarding the investigation is shared on a need-to-know basis. There are many instances where a manager doesn’t need to know that you are participating in an investigation.
Will This Meeting Be Recorded?
No, but notes may be taken.
Who Can I Talk to About This Investigation?
Contact the lead investigator who reached out to you initially or your HR Business Partner or ER Partner. To protect the confidentiality of the investigation, you should not speak to anyone else, including your manager, about this investigation. As a result we may not be able to answer specific questions about an investigation but are happy to talk to you about the process.
What Are the Outcomes of an Investigation?
Outcomes range from no action to education, coaching or counseling, warnings, and other disciplinary actions up to and including termination. Outcomes are usually determined by business leaders with input from HR and Legal.
Why Do You Ask That I Keep the Investigation Confidential?
In order to preserve the integrity of the investigation while it is ongoing, to ensure fairness to all involved, and to protect the privacy of employees who have brought complaints or are accused of misconduct. Additionally, keeping things confidential helps minimize retaliation against participants and minimizes disruption in the workplace. Our request for confidentiality is not meant or intended to curtail your rights under the law to discuss work-related matters.
Below are tips and guidelines from Facebook’s Employment Law Team on how to run successful anti-harassment training:
Training managers and supervisors on the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation is key to making sure supervisors understand your company’s policies, the law, and what’s expected and required of them to root out bad behavior. For all but the smallest employers in California, training supervisors is required by law.
The required training is intended to accomplish the following goals:
- assist employers in changing or modifying workplace behaviors that create or contribute to sexual harassment;
- provide participants with information related to the negative effects of bullying; and
- develop, foster, and encourage a set of values in supervisory employees that will assist them in preventing, effectively responding to incidents of sexual harassment, and implementing mechanisms to promptly address and correct wrongful behavior.
And the training is required to address the following topics:
- information regarding the federal and state statutory provisions concerning the prohibition against and the prevention and correction of sexual harassment;
- the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment in employment;
- information about the prevention of bullying in the workplace;
- harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation; and
- practical guidance and examples aimed at instructing supervisors in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
Below is an outline of what’s required to be included in the training and who can lead the training. For additional detail and before you launch your training, it’s recommended that you review the legal requirements (here and here) and the resources provided by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (here). This overview is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not replace your review of the legal requirements.