The primary goal of the equal employment opportunity (EEO) program is to manage workforce diversity and to maintain a discrimination-free workplace. This is high on the list of critical functions performed by federal managers and supervisors. Equal Employment is the law of the land. Army employees and applicants are entitled to EEO regardless of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender-identity and sexual harassment), national origin, age, physical and mental disability, or genetic information. Further, they are entitled to a workplace free from discrimination, harassment or reprisal initiating or participating in the EEO process.
The EEO Office ensures equal employment opportunity for civilians under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Maintaining a Discrimination-Free Workplace
Supervisors and managers, both civilian and military supervisors of Army employees, have a responsibility to maintain a workplace free of harassment. Supervisors will make reasonable efforts to prevent and promptly correct harassing behavior in the workplace.
Requires supervisors and managers to perform a variety of tasks and functions. Included among them are:
- Promptly address allegations of harassment with employees directly involved in the incident, along with any witnesses who might have firsthand information.
- Take prompt preventive and corrective action, including discipline, as appropriate.
- Ensure that non-supervisory employees complete the Army's "EEO, Anti-harassment and No FEAR Act training, annually.
- Be aware of the anti-harassment policy and procedures and their role in the complaint process.
- Remaining aware of EEO responsibilities in the course of assigning and rating work, developing employees, and taking personnel action.
- Working closely with EEO and HR officials to resolve disputes promptly.
Managing diversity refers to an inter-related set of responsibilities and functions. Included among them are:
- Actively seeking to recruit and develop a diverse workforce; that is, one which includes a range of employees representing a variety of ethnic, racial, and age groups.
- Recognize and value the differences that a diverse array of people bring to the accomplishment of organizational tasks.
- Promote acceptance, cooperation, and positive attitudes towards all members of the work-group among employees.
EEO Complaint Process
EEO Office processes complaints of employment discrimination in accordance with 29 CFR 1614, EEOC Management Directive 110 and Army Regulation (AR) 690-600 (Equal Employment Opportunity Discrimination Complaints). If an USAG-DTA, TACOM or any other tenant organization employee, former employee or applicant believes discrimination has occurred and wishes to initiate the EEO complaint process, the Garrison EEO office must be contacted within 45 calendar days of the date the discriminatory act or the date in which the discrimination was realized or made aware. EEO complaints must be based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability (mental and physical), age (40+), genetic information, or reprisal. *The "sex" basis also includes pregnancy and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) and sexual orientation.
During the complaints process, the role of management is to cooperate with the EEO counselor and investigator; seek early and reasonable resolution; take immediate corrective action as required; keep reactions under control-do not overreact; keep complaints confidential; and do not retaliate/reprise.
Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Alternate dispute resolution is a process in which a third party neutral assists the disputants in reaching an amicable resolution through the use of various techniques. ADR is offered at the earliest stage. Keep in mind that resolution is not admitting wrong doing. Most complaints are a result of miscommunication. It is always good to attempt to resolve at the lowest level; resolutions save the Agency time and money. The Agency is not required to conduct ADR in every EEO case. (Some cases are not suited for ADR) Complainants may not file a new complaint based on the Agency's refusal to offer or schedule ADR. ADR may be offered at both the informal and formal stages.
The ADR technique USAG-DTA uses is mediation. Mediation is a form of ADR which uses a mediator (neutral, objective third party) to bring the aggrieved and management together in an attempt to reach a mutually satisfactory solution to the employment matter. The benefits of mediation include confidentiality; less stress for all parties; quicker resolution of disputes; a third party neutral mediates; maintains a more productive work environment; cost efficient; and the EEO process continues if no agreement is reached. Should management have questions regarding the process, contact the EEO Officer or Complaints Manager.
Reasonable Accommodation Process
Religious accommodation - Religious beliefs include theistic beliefs (i.e. those that include a belief in God) as well as non-theistic "moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views." An accommodation would pose an undue hardship if it would cause more than de minimis cost on the operation of USAG-DTA's mission. Factors relevant to undue hardship may include the type of workplace, the nature of the employee's duties, the identifiable cost of the accommodation in relation to the size of operating costs of the employer, and the number of employees who will in fact need a particular accommodation. If unsure, seek assistance from the EEO Officer or Disability Program Manager.
Executive Order 11478, as amended (1971) states it is policy of the federal government to provide employment opportunity on the basis of merit and fitness without discrimination because of race, color, religion, age, sex, disability (mental/physical), national origin or genetic information. The EEO requires that agencies establish a "continuing affirmative programs" to ensure that equal employment opportunity is an "integral part of every aspect of personnel policies and practices in the employment, development, advancement, and treatment of civilian employees in the Federal Government." In a nutshell, Affirmative Employment is a formal program developed and implemented to identify underrepresentation of women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities, including disabled veterans; also establishes plans and objectives to eliminate the underrepresentation.
In support of the Affirmative Employment Program, the Agency will manage Special Emphasis programs (SEP). SEPs ensure women, minorities and people with disabilities are employed and advanced on a non-discriminatory basis. Such programs include: Federal Women's Program, Hispanic Employment Program, and Individuals with Disabilities Programs. Any questions reference affirmative employment programs, contact the Affirmative Employment Program Manager.