Berkeley Lab

Follow up message on the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision – July 12, 2022

Dear colleagues,

When we communicated a few weeks ago, many were experiencing strong reactions to the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs to reverse Roe v. Wade, which fundamentally alters the landscape of access to reproductive and maternal healthcare across the nation. We understand that these changes may affect you, your loved ones, and your colleagues deeply and personally. We also recognize that the ambiguity produced by this decision has evoked confusion and unease for many. We are writing to you today, as a unified leadership team, to share our commitment to helping you navigate the consequences of this change whenever it is possible for us to do so.

In addition to its emotional impacts, the Supreme Court decision and subsequent state abortion bans may have other broad impacts. You might have questions about how our systems and policies will be affected, such as employee benefits, health services, human resources, and data privacy. Like the rest of the country we do not yet understand the full range of these implications, for those residing in California or those working from other states. We can promise that as our understanding evolves, we will continue to share what we learn so that you can make informed choices.

Some members of our community also wonder whether other protected liberties might be challenged in the courts in the future, and we share these concerns. Regardless of what unfolds, we want you to know that we will continue to honor our commitments to IDEA, including gender, racial, and sexual orientation protections in our workplace.

During this time of uncertainty, we offer you some reminders of existing support systems in place. Our IDEA and HR teams have put together this collection of resources you might find helpful. You can always take advantage of confidential counseling services offered through UC’s Employee Assistance Program, should you need it. The EAP program, in partnership with the Lab’s IDEA Office, is hosting a forum on Friday, July 15 at 2 p.m., open to all Lab employees, to create a space for connection and to share resources and practices that support individual and collective well-being; add the session to your calendar.

It’s especially important to recognize that in a diverse community such as ours, our people will hold differing and often strong viewpoints on these issues. Regardless of how you personally feel about the Supreme Court decision, we can all agree that it is yet another significant moment that we are living through together. As colleagues in this special community, we ask you to exercise compassion and extend grace, understanding, and respect to one another, even if you have differing opinions.

Berkeley Lab is an institution driven by our values of stewardship and our commitment to science, progress, and innovation. Now more than ever, we must depend on one another for support as we navigate these uncertain times. Thank you for fostering a culture that values psychological safety and promotes belonging and dignity for all.

Best regards,

Mike Witherell, Laboratory Director
Carol Burns, Deputy Lab Director for Research and CRO
Michael Brandt, Deputy Lab Director for Operations and COO
Aditi Chakravarty, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer
Michelle Lee, Chief Human Resources Officer
Therese Leone, Chief Lab Counsel