Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Active Bystander Employee Resource Group

Active Bystander: Speak Up for a Respectful Workplace

Contact Us  

  • Chair
  • Courtney Perkins
  • 505 665 9071
  • Email

This employee resource group seeks to create a healthy culture at the Lab by transforming silence to dialogue around incivility, disrespect, and microaggressions through awareness and empowerment to speak up as an active bystander.

We hold shared values at LANL — this group strives to make this a great place to work through safety, security, diversity, inclusiveness, respect, civility, dignity, trust, support.

Mission: To empower all employees to speak up to reinforce positive behaviors and address negative behaviors.

Vision: To cultivate a workplace where all employees are safe to speak up as active bystanders and are accountable for creating healthy dialogue.

Why do we need this?

People need to feel that they are treated with dignity and respect.

There is significant data that shows people who experience consistent and repeated micro-aggressions express greater levels of loneliness, anger, depression, and anxiety. They feel less psychological wellbeing as well as poorer physical health.

In alignment with LANL values, when there is trust, respect, and diversity in a workplace, teamwork and creativity thrive. See the Laboratory’s Code of Conduct.

Who is a bystander?

A bystander is anyone who sees or otherwise becomes aware of behavior that appears worthy of comment or action. There may be one or more bystanders present who can influence the workplace climate.

Active bystanders can highlight positive acts that might otherwise be invisible or overlooked. They can redirect or de-escalate negative acts that might be problematic.

Bystanders might be colleagues, and they might be subordinate or senior to the person whose comment or behavior warrants reaction.

What can active bystanders do?

As an active bystander, you can encourage positive actions and characteristics to foster productive behavior from all managers, employees, and other members of the organization.

Bystanders can help to improve morale and collegiality, build community, and foster inclusion.

Active bystanders can also engage others to think about their actions and words, and the effect they may have on others.

With heightened awareness, we can all address our unconscious biases and use bystander skills to take appropriate action in the face of unacceptable and inflammatory behavior.

How to get involved

Meetings monthly on the first Thursday.

Laura McClellan, lstoltz@lanl.gov

Cristina Olds, colds@lanl.gov



Calendar of events/ongoing trainings

Active Bystander 101 | Participants will learn why the Lab needs an active bystander group, what an active bystander can do, who can be an active bystander, what are some examples of micro-affirmations and micro-aggressions, and how to redirect negative acts. This short introductory presentation is facilitated by members of the From Silence to Dialogue: Active Bystanders Supporting Healthy Culture group. 

Team Psychological Safety | Participants will learn about the main reason behind highly effective teams: psychological safety, the shared belief that the team is a safe place to take interpersonal risks. This 30-minute course defines what psychological safety involves, what the benefits are, and how to assess and foster it. A video is part of the presentation, so participants should have internet connectivity.