Equal Employment Opportunity Office (EEO)
Welcome to the Rock Island Arsenal U.S. Army Garrison Equal Employment Opportunity Office!
The Garrison Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Office at Rock Island Arsenal, (RIA) is a critical part of the RIA community. We strive to seek ways to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace and create an environment where all RIA employees are valued, respected, and free to develop and perform to their fullest potential.
US Army Garrison Rock Island Arsenal
EEO Office ATTN: AMIM-RIG-EE
1 Rock Island Arsenal
Rock Island, IL 61299-5000
EEO Specialist/Disability Program Manager
EEO Specialist/Complaints Manager
Who may file a complaint?
Any employee, former employee or applicant, including all Non-appropriated Fund employees, and some contractors who believe they have been discriminated against because of RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, NATIONAL ORIGIN, AGE, GENETICS, PHYSICAL OR MENTAL DISABILITY, and/or REPRISAL in an employment matter subject to the control of the Army, may file a complaint of discrimination.
The Informal Complaint Process
The Informal Pre-Complaint is the first stage of the federal EEO administrative complaints process. The purpose of the Informal stage is to provide individuals with information about their EEO rights and responsibilities and, when possible, to act as a vehicle for achieving informal resolution of the issues and/or concerns presented by the individual. The Informal Pre-Complaint is a prerequisite for filing a Formal EEO Complaint and cannot be waived. The informal process is completed within 30 days from the date the aggrieved determines they want to enter the EEO process (unless ADR is offered, see ADR).
Once an individual contacts the EEO Office, the Intake Manager will talk to the individual about their rights and responsibilities and request basic information about the individual’s situation. The individual will fill out the contact form and should be ready to explain their complaint with clarity and reasonable specificity.
In most cases, the individual will have the option for Traditional Counseling or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Regardless of the choice, the role of the Counselor is to conduct an informal, "limited inquiry" into the allegations contained within the Pre-complaint, to determine the allegations that are being raised by the Aggrieved Person, obtain management's response, and acquire information and documents.
If traditional counseling is chosen, the Counselor serves as a bridge between the individual and management officials in order to seek a mutual understanding of what may be causing the dispute or conflict, and to determine potential solutions to resolve the complaint. The key with traditional counseling is that the parties do not sit at the table with one another. The Counselor interacts with each separately in an attempt to help the parties resolve the dispute. If traditional counseling is elected, the Counselor has 30 calendar days to close out the Informal Complaint or up to 60 or 90 calendar days if the parties agree to extensions. Informal Complaints are closed out with the issuance of the Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint or the execution of the settlement agreement in those cases where the parties agree to mutually resolve the dispute.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
The purpose of ADR is to offer disputing parties an opportunity to openly express their positions and interests in resolving disputes in a mutually satisfactory fashion. The ADR process, especially when used at the earliest stage, restores working relationships and may serve as a preventative measure against future disputes. Additionally, the non-adversarial application of ADR reduces the costs incurred with the traditional administrative or adjudicative processes and affords use of activity resources for mission related programs and activities. The preferred method of ADR within the Department of Army is facilitated mediation with a qualified ADR neutral. The ADR program is not just for EEO matters, it is also available and an often an effective tool to assist in resolving workplace issues at the lowest level.
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process that can be used to resolve problems between individuals or groups. In this process, an impartial person referred to as a neutral or mediator, helps facilitate communication between the parties. During the mediation session, the mediator helps the parties discuss the problem, identify the real issues, and explore options to create a voluntary, mutually acceptable solution. The mediator helps the parties communicate but has no independent decision-making authority.
Mediation is recommended when:
- There is interest in resolving the dispute quickly.
- There is a need for a private setting to discuss the issues.
- The parties want someone not involved in the dispute to facilitate their communication.
- The parties want to either preserve their relationship or end the relationship in the least adversarial way.
- The parties are interested in retaining control of the outcome.
The ADR process is confidential. To promote open and frank discussions between the disputing parties, both parties and their representatives must agree, in writing, that any information disclosed during the ADR process, other than discoverable documentation, will remain confidential whether or not ADR is successful. However, any threat of physical harm or disclosure of waste, fraud, abuse, or any other illegal activity will be exempt from confidentiality and will be reported to the appropriate officials.
For mor information on ADR visit: Alternative Dispute Resolution
How do I file a formal complaint?
If a resolution is not achieved during the Informal stage, upon completion of the Informal stage an individual may file a written Formal Complaint of discrimination. The Counselor will provide the individual a "Notice of Right to File a Discrimination Complaint and a DA Form 2590.” Formal Complaints must be filed within 15 calendar days from the date that individuals receive the Notice of Right to File a Discrimination Complaint.
The Formal Complaint Process
Once the EEO Office receives a Formal Complaint of Discrimination, the Specialist will process the complaint in accordance with AR 690-600, MD110 and 29 C.F.R 1614. The complainant will receive an acknowledgement letter of their formal complaint and within 15 calendar days from receipt the complainant will receive the decision letter with relevant information on the next steps in the process. If accepted, a request for Investigation is submitted and the investigation will be completed within 180 days from the date the formal complaint was received.
Upon completion of the investigation, a copy of the Report of Investigation (ROI) will be provided to the complainant and they will have the election between a hearing before an administrative judge of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a Final Agency Decision (FAD) which is a written decision based on the ROI and case file.
To request an EEOC hearing: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Public Portal
When prompted to choose an EEOC Office you can type in the zip code 60604 for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Chicago District Office, JCK Federal Building, 230 S Dearborn Street, Suite 1866, Chicago, Illinois 60604. Agency: DOD AR RIA - USAG Rock Island Arsenal.
Since All EEO complaints on RIA are processed by the Garrison EEO Office all request for hearing must select the correct agency otherwise the Garrison EEO office will not have visibility of the hearing and will not be able to upload the required documents in the required timeframe.
Note: The complainant is also required to submit (email or mail) the request for Hearing or FAD form to the Garrison EEO Office.
During the EEO Process, individuals have the following rights:
- Right to a representative of his or her choice, as long as the identified representative does not create a conflict of interest or the appearance thereof. Representatives may be attorneys or non-attorneys.
- Right to a reasonable amount of official time to present the complaint and to respond to requests for information.
- Right to request to participate in the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process.
- Right to amend the original Formal Complaint at any time prior to the conclusion of the investigation to include issues or claims that are like and related to those alleged in the original complaint.
- Right to request a Final Agency Decision or request a hearing before an EEOC administrative judge.
- Right to file a motion with the EEOC administrative judge to amend the complaint at the hearing stage.
- Right to appeal the outcome of the Final Agency Decision to the EEOC; or, in the case of a hearing the right to appeal the Agency’s final order.
- Right to bypass the administrative EEO complaint processing under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and pursue a civil action in an appropriate U.S. District Court after providing written notice to the EEOC at least 30 calendar days before filing a civil action.
- Right to bypass the administrative EEO complaint process under the Equal Pay Act to pursue a civil action in U.S. District Court.
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.
Supervisors and managers of Army civilian employees will promptly address allegations of harassment with the employees directly involved in the incident, along with any witnesses who might have firsthand information. Managers must take prompt preventive and corrective action, including discipline, as appropriate, in consultation with the servicing staff judge advocate and the Labor Management Employee Relations (LMER) staff.
Unlawful harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome conduct, intimidation, ridicule, insult, offensive comments or jokes, or physical conduct based on race, color, religion, sex (whether or not of a sexual nature), national origin, age (over 40), disability, genetic information, or reprisal when an employee's acceptance or rejection of such conduct explicitly or implicitly forms the basis for a tangible employment action affecting the employee, or the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive as to alter the terms, conditions, or privileges of the employee's employment or otherwise create a hostile or abusive work environment. Even if a single utterance, joke or act does not rise to the level of actionable harassment under the law, such conduct is contrary to Army values.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination based on mental and physical disability and requires Federal agencies to make a reasonable accommodation for the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified disabled employee or applicant.
A Reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities, unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship to the agency.
You can request an accommodation at any time during the application process or while you are employed. The request for a reasonable accommodation begins with an interactive and flexible discussion between the requester and the supervisor. In general, you should request an accommodation when you know that there is a workplace barrier that is preventing you, due to a disability, from competing for a job, performing a job, or gaining equal access to a benefit of employment. It is better to request an accommodation before your job performance suffers or conduct problems occur because employers do not have to rescind discipline that occurred before they knew about your disability.
The Disability Program Manager will assist in walking personnel through the RA process and track the disposition date and accommodation provided per AR 690-12, Appendix C.
Undue Hardship - an accommodation would be unduly costly, extensive, substantial or disruptive, or would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the department.
Essential Functions of a job - Those job duties that are so fundamental to the position that the individual holds or desires that the individual cannot do the job without performing them. A function can be “essential” if, among other things:
- The position exists specifically to perform that function,
- There are a limited number of other employees who could perform the function, or
- The function is specialized and the individual is hired based on their ability to perform it.
Determination of the essential functions of a position must be done on a case-by-case basis so that it reflects the job as actually performed, and not simply the components of a generic position description.
Personal Assistant Services
Personal Assistance Services (PAS) allow individuals to perform activities of daily living that an individual would typically perform if they did not have a disability. PAS are services that are provided to people who require assistance to perform basic activities of daily living, such as assistance with removing and putting on clothing, eating, using the restroom, pushing a wheelchair or assistance with getting into or out of a vehicle at the work site.
Personal Assistant Services do not help individuals with disabilities perform their specific job functions, such as reviewing documents or answering questions that come through a call-in center. PAS differ from services that help an individual to perform job-related tasks, such as sign language interpreters who enable individuals who are deaf to communicate with coworkers, and readers who enable individuals who are blind or have learning disabilities to read printed text.
A person is qualified for PAS if they:
- Are an employee of the agency
- Require PAS because of a targeted disability
- Will be able to perform the essential functions of their job, without posing a direct threat to safety, once PAS and any required reasonable accommodations have been provided.
- In addition, providing PAS must not impose an undue hardship.
The procedure to request PAS is the same as for requesting a Reasonable Accommodation.
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) is a new law that requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an undue hardship. The PWFA does not replace federal, state, or local laws that are more protective of workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Covered employers cannot:
- Require an employee to accept an accommodation without a discussion about the accommodation between the worker and the employer;
- Deny a job or other employment opportunities to a qualified employee or applicant based on the person's need for a reasonable accommodation;
- Require an employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided that would let the employee keep working;
- Retaliate against an individual for reporting or opposing unlawful discrimination under the PWFA or participating in a PWFA proceeding (such as an investigation); or
- Interfere with any individual’s rights under the PWFA.
Other laws that apply to workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, include:
- Title VII (enforced by the EEOC), which:
- Protects an employee from discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and
- Requires covered employers to treat a worker affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions the same as other workers similar in their ability or inability to work;
- The ADA (enforced by the EEOC), which:
- Protects an employee from discrimination based on disability; and
- Requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to a person with a disability if the reasonable accommodation would not cause an undue hardship for the employer.
- While pregnancy is not a disability under the ADA, some pregnancy-related conditions may be disabilities under the law.
- The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor), which provides covered employees with unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons; and
- The PUMP Act (Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act) (enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor), which broadens workplace protections for employees to express breast milk at work.
Providing Urgent Paternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act
On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 into law. The law includes the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act (“PUMP Act”), which extends to more nursing employees the rights to receive break time to pump and a private place to pump at work and may impact some of the other information provided below.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for their nursing child for one year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express the milk. Employees are entitled to a place to pump at work, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.
Break Time to Pump Breast Milk
The frequency and duration of breaks needed to express milk will likely vary depending on factors related to the nursing employee and the child.
Factors such as the location of the space and the steps reasonably necessary to express breast milk, such as pump setup, can also affect the duration of time an employee will need to express milk.
Employees who telework are eligible to take pump breaks under the FLSA on the same basis as other employees.
Under the FLSA, when an employee is using break time at work to express breast milk they either:
- Must be completely relieved from duty; or
- Must be paid for the break time.
Further, when employers provide paid breaks, an employee who uses such break time to pump breast milk must be compensated in the same way that other employees are compensated for break time.
Private Space to Pump Breast Milk
Covered employees must be provided with “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” Under the FLSA, a bathroom, even if private, is not a permissible location for the employer to provide for pumping breast milk.
The location provided must be functional as a space for expressing breast milk. If the space is not dedicated to the nursing employee’s use, it must be available when needed by the employee in order to meet the statutory requirement. A space temporarily created or converted into a space for expressing breast milk or made available when needed by the nursing employee is sufficient provided that the space is shielded from view and free from any intrusion from co-workers and the public.
Workers who telework must also be free from observation by any employer-provided or required video system, including computer camera, security camera, or web conferencing platform.