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Respectful Workplace Principle

Principle Statement:

Everyone is entitled to respectful treatment in the 3M workplace. Being respected means being treated honestly and professionally, with each person’s unique talents, background, and perspectives valued. A respectful workplace is free from unlawful discrimination and harassment, but it involves more than compliance with the law. It is a work environment that is free of inappropriate or unprofessional behavior and consistent with 3M’s ethics and values – a place where everyone can do his or her best, and where people are free to report workplace concerns without fear of retaliation or reprisal.


This Principle helps to ensure that people are treated with dignity and respect in the 3M workplace. It also reinforces 3M’s commitment to compliance with laws prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and reprisal.

This Principle applies globally to all employees and may apply to those acting on behalf of 3M. See the Compliance Principle for information on when a third party might be covered by the Code of Conduct Principles. This Principle applies to all locations and situations where 3M business is conducted.

Additional Guidance:

What it means

Respectful Work Environment

3M’s goal is to have a work environment that reflects and values the best in everyone, where people treat each other respectfully and professionally, and where individual differences are valued. Any harassment or unprofessional or inappropriate behavior, even if not illegal, interferes with that goal and will not be tolerated. Unlawful discrimination is also prohibited. This Principle applies in the workplace and to outside activities and interactions that can affect the workplace, such as work events and other 3M-sponsored activities.

Global Company, Global Standard

As a global company, 3M operates in a complex and varied global environment. But wherever 3M does business, the Company operates under the Ethical Business Conduct Principle to ensure the highest standards of ethics and integrity and protect 3M’s reputation. That Principle provides a common set of values to guide actions and decisions not covered by a specific policy or rule. That Principle asks three questions:

  • Is this action consistent with 3M’s corporate values of uncompromising honesty and integrity?
  • Can this action withstand public scrutiny?
  • Will this action protect 3M’s reputation as an ethical company?

Employees should consider these questions when deciding whether an action meets the standards of this Principle.

Policy Against Unlawful Discrimination

3M prohibits all forms of illegal discrimination against applicants, employees, contractors, or anyone doing business with 3M. The discrimination laws vary by country, but may prohibit discrimination based on race, color, age, gender, national origin, disability, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, or genetic information, as well as other protected classifications.

Policy Against Harassment

Harassment is prohibited by this Principle. Harassment is unwelcome conduct toward an individual that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment and that:

  • Is due to personal traits such as age, disability, marital status, national origin, race or color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity; and
  • Causes work performance to suffer or negatively affects job opportunities.

Harassment is against the law in the United States and many other countries. Examples of harassment that may violate the law and will violate this Principle include:

  • Oral or written communications that contain offensive name-calling, jokes, slurs, negative stereotyping, or threats. This includes comments or jokes that are distasteful or targeted at individuals or groups based on personal traits such as age, disability, marital status, national origin, race or color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
  • Nonverbal conduct, such as staring, leering, and giving inappropriate gifts.
  • Physical conduct, such as assault or unwanted touching.
  • Visual images, such as offensive pictures, cartoons, drawings, or gestures.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of harassment that is based on a person’s gender or that involves a request or demand for sexual favors by someone in authority, where the demand is tied to hiring, promotion, termination, or any other condition of employment. Although having a consensual romantic relationship with another 3M employee is not harassment, harassment may occur if either person in the relationship engages in workplace conduct that is inappropriate or unwelcome. Employees in consensual romantic relationships must also comply with the 3M Conflict of Interest Principle.

Every 3M employee has a role to play in achieving a respectful workplace

A respectful workplace requires the participation of all employees. Remember:

  • 3M expects respectful and professional behavior at all times, no matter the situation. Be sensitive to how others may perceive your actions and remember that your actions reflect on you and 3M.
  • This Principle applies to activities and interactions outside of work that can affect the workplace, including business entertainment, team building outings, conferences, and other meetings and activities relating to 3M business. Venues and activities where 3M business is conducted should be professional, appropriate, and consistent with 3M’s values and reputation.
  • We are all human, and sometimes we make mistakes. In some cases, a person may make a comment or do something that was not intended to offend, but it has that effect. Treating each other with respect means being honest and open enough to let a colleague know if you have been hurt or offended. Respect also means that if a colleague tells you that you have done something to offend, you should respond in a respectful fashion and treat that colleague respectfully in the future. That type of respectful dialogue may address many situations, but if you need help dealing with inappropriate workplace behavior, you should contact 3M Human Resources for assistance.

How to Report a Violation

Most reports of suspected violations of this Principle are made to 3M Human Resources. Employees can contact their assigned Human Resources Manager, or go to someone higher in the Human Resources organization. Employees can also use any of the additional reporting options listed in the “Report Concerns or Ask Questions” section of the Compliance & Business Conduct website or the Reporting Employee Concerns Policy, if they prefer.

How 3M Will Respond

Investigation and Response

For any report or complaint of discrimination, harassment, or other violation of this Principle, 3M will review the concerns and may conduct an investigation. Where there has been a violation of the Principle, 3M will take appropriate action to correct the situation and try to avoid future violations. In appropriate cases, 3M may take disciplinary action, up to and including termination, against those violating this Principle.

3M will inform parties about the status of review of their complaints. To respect the privacy and confidentiality of all people involved, 3M may not share specific details of the discipline or other action taken.

3M Management Responsibility

Every 3M supervisor and manager is responsible for ensuring that 3M provides a respectful workplace. This includes ensuring that complaints of discrimination, harassment, or inappropriate or unprofessional behavior are handled properly and effectively, in partnership with Human Resources. See the Employee Obligation and Reporting Principle for information on resources for making such reports.

Retaliation is Prohibited

This Principle strictly prohibits any retaliation against anyone who reports a concern about discrimination, harassment, or other violation of this Principle.