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EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

Posted 11/30/2011 Printable Fact Sheet



Air Force Equal Opportunity Policy
The Air Force will conduct its affairs free from unlawful discrimination. It provides Equal Opportunity and Treatment for all members irrespective of their race, color, religion, national origin, and sex. In addition, DoD civilians are also protected against unequal treatment on the basis of age, physical or mental disabilities.

Equal Opportunity Mission Statement
Deliver world-class Equal Opportunity and Human Relations services through balanced Equal Opportunity compliance, Human Relations Education, Organizational Climate Assessments, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Affirmative Employment to attract and propagate a diverse corporate culture that enables the total force the opportunity to attain the highest levels of achievement commensurate with individual talent and performance.

Defining Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment is defined as:

Quid Pro Quo:
This term simply means "this for that." If you do this for me, I'll do that for you. Something of value for something of value. Usually involves supervisor and subordinate. (Note: Quid Pro Quo now known as Tangible Employment Action).

Intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment: This involves the impact, or effect, behaviors have on an individual. With this condition, the intent of the behavior is not necessarily an element of determining sexual harassment. While the intent of the alleged offender is given consideration, the effect (impact) of that person's behavior sometimes causes the intent to be irrelevant.

Further, any person in a supervisory or command position who uses or condones any form of sexual behavior to control, influence, or affect the career, pay, or job of a Military member or civilian employee is engaging in sexual harassment.

And, any Military member or civilian employee who makes deliberate or repeated unwelcome verbal comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature in the workplace is also engaging in sexual harassment.

Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) consists of a variety of approaches to early intervention and dispute resolution. Many of these approaches include the use of a neutral individual. ADR increases the parties' opportunities to resolve disputes prior to or during the use of formal administrative procedures and litigation. Three forms of ADR used at Mildenhall are mediation, facilitation and early neutral evaluation. The most common at Mildenhall is mediation.

Why look at ADR?
It is inevitable that some workplace disputes cannot resolve themselves. Sometimes we need to work through official channels. As an employee, supervisor, manager or union official, you may have participated in workplace dispute resolution processes at some time during your federal career. Many have concluded that traditional Equal Employment Opportunity, grievance and litigation procedures to resolve workplace disputes are:
  • Long and drawn out, sometimes lasting for years
  • Costly in terms of time spent and money required
  • Too formal
  • Obstacles to good working relationships
  • Decided by "outsiders" who do not fully understand the situation
  • Impedes mission accomplishment
Many years of experience with the traditional methods of dispute resolution have led several federal agencies and private industry to design alternative, new and creative means for handling workplace disputes. The Air Force has developed its own Alternative Dispute Resolution program to resolve workplace problems. The program encourages open communication and discussion between the parties, who use their own creative ideas to resolve disputes.

What's in it for me?
The benefits of resolving issues under the ADR program:
  • Promoting a healthy employment relationship by including the parties directly in designing a resolution to their workplace problems
  • Reaching a solution quickly, before the situation worsens
  • Reducing costs in terms of money and time spent reaching resolution
  • Focusing on the interests of the parties and their long term relationship, rather than their legal position
  • Improving future work relationships
  • Encouraging the parties to speak directly to each other rather than to a judge
  • Creating a Win-Win situation
How does the ADR program work?

  • The employee or management official identifies a workplace problem.
  • The employee is encouraged to raise the problem through the chain of command/supervision.
  • The employee/management official may contact his/her supervisor, the EO Office, Civilian Personnel (CPO), Inspector General, Union, Chaplain, Employee Assistance Program Office or the Alternative Dispute Program Office.
  • The official contacted refers the issue either to the appropriate office or the ADR office.
  • The ADR office may discuss the matter with the employee/management official to determine the feasibility of using ADR to resolve the matter.
  • The ADR office determines whether to offer one of the methods of ADR for dispute resolution (mediation, facilitation or early neutral evaluation).
  • The parties agree to use the method offered or to use traditional dispute resolution procedures.
  • If the parties choose ADR, they attempt to resolve the disputed issue(s) in good faith and by full and open communication, respecting the rights of each party to present his/her perspective.
Who can participate in ADR?

Any employee with a workplace related dispute could be offered the opportunity to participate in ADR. Participation by the employee is voluntary.

Do I have a choice to participate in ADR?

Yes! If you are offered the choice to resolve your problem through ADR, it is up to you whether or not to use it. Employee participation in ADR is strictly voluntary. You may choose ADR or have your problem addressed under traditional procedures applicable to the issue. In order to make an informed decision concerning participation in ADR, you will be provided all the information you need. Every question you have will be answered.

Does the program work?

Yes! The ADR Program resulted in significant benefits to both the employer and employees. The manager and employee communicate directly and participate in designing a solution that makes sense to them. Issues are raised early and resolved quickly.

Equal Opportunity Services

  • Out and About visits
  • Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
  • Unit Climate Assessments
  • Process Informal and Formal Military Complaints
  • Human Relations Education
  • Team Building
  • Process Civilian EEO complaints
  • Counseling
Equal Employment Opportunity
Any civilian employee (Appropriated or Non-Appropriated fund) or applicant who believes he or she has been discriminated against must discuss the matter with a counselor before a formal complaint can be accepted for investigation. Forms of discrimination include:
  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National origin
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sexual harassment
  • Reprisal for opposing unlawful discrimination or participating in the Equal Employment Opportunity complaint process

The complainant must contact the counselor within 45 calendar days of the alleged offense or personnel action. The Holloman EO counselors are key to the program's success because they work to resolve complaints.

Complaints procedures
Informal Complaints

The EO counselor, when contacted by the complainant, will make whatever inquiry is necessary into the matter. The counselor will seek a resolution on an informal basis via a facilitation effort with management and the complainant.

The aggrieved will receive counseling information concerning the issues presented; and on their rights and procedures to process the complaint formally if not satisfied with the attempt at informal resolution. The complainant's identity may not be revealed to anyone unless the complainant authorizes it in writing, or until after a formal complaint has been accepted for processing at the formal stage.

The complainant has the right to be accompanied, represented or advised by a representative of his or her choice during any stage of the complaint process. The representative must be designated in writing. Persons who take part in presenting or processing discrimination complaints are to be free from any type restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal; they are given full due process.

Formal Complaints
If the complaint is not resolved informally, and the complainant decides to file a formal complaint, the formal complaint must be filed within 15 calendar days after the final interview with the EO counselor. The formal complaint must be in writing all information and materials will be given to clients by Holloman EO Counselors. The EO Director will ensure proper and timely processing of formal complaints in accordance with 29 C.F.R Part 1614 provisions.

For more information, contact the 49th Wing Equal Opportunity office at 575-572-3032.







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