The primary goal of the equal employment opportunity 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. It is the right of all people to be protected from discrimination in employment regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin and age, mental or physical disability, or sexual orientation.
The EEO Office ensures equal employment opportunity for civilians under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30-day period.
This year’s winning theme is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Strong Nation.” The theme encourages us to ensure that all voices are represented and welcomed to help build stronger communities and a stronger nation.
Special Historical Information on Hispanics in the US Military: Hispanics have been part of the American military force since the Civil War and every war thereafter. Like other ethnic groups of Americans, Hispanics were divided in their loyalties, fighting heroically for both the Union and Confederate armies. Most Hispanics integrated into the regular Army or volunteer units, although some served in predominantly Hispanic units with their own officers. Hispanics were especially instrumental in protecting the Southwest against Confederate advances, most notably in California, Arizona and New Mexico. A very unusual historical figure was a woman named Loreta Janeta Velazquez, who was born in Cuba. During the Civil War, she masqueraded as a Confederate soldier using the name of Lt. Harry T Buford, enlisting in 1860 without her soldier-husband’s knowledge. She fought fearlessly at the Battles of Bull run, Ball’s Bluff and Fort Donelson, but was detected in New Orleans and discharged. Loreta Velasquez re-enlisted and fought at the Battle of Shiloh until she was rediscovered. She spied in both male and female disguises, and her bravery in the Civil War showed extraordinary courage and commitment.
The Spanish-American War was in 1898. The United States acquired Puerto Rico in the Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish-American War. By the following year, Congress had authorized raising a unit of volunteer Soldiers in the newly acquired territory. Several thousand Hispanic volunteers, mostly from the southwestern United States, fought with distinction in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War. Capt. Maximiliano Luna and others who comprised a portion of the famous 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry with Col. Theodore Roosevelt -- better known as the "Rough Riders" -- fought in Cuba. George Armijo, another Rough Rider, later became a member of Congress.
Now let us turn to World War I (WWI). In May 1917, two months after legislation granting the United States citizenship of individuals from Puerto Rico was signed into law, and one month after the United States entered WWI, the authorized unit of volunteer Soldiers were transferred to the Panama Canal Zone. U. S. Army policy at the time restricted most segregated units to noncombat roles, even though the regiment could have contributed to the fighting effort. An Act of Congress was passed in 1917 to obtain needed manpower and the Hispanic community was eager to serve its country. They included both native-born Soldiers, mostly of Mexican descent, and new immigrants from Latin America, Mexico and Spain. In June 1920, the unit was re-designated as the 65th Infantry Regiment and served as the U.S. military’s last segregated unit composed primarily of Hispanic Soldiers. Hispanic Soldiers like Nicholas Lucero and Marcelino Serna served with great distinction. Lucero received the French Croix de Guerre during WWI for destroying two German machine gun nests and maintaining constant fire for three hours. Serna received the Distinguished Service Cross for the single-handed capture of 24 enemy soldiers.
There are many more significant Hispanic figures through the United States history, especially military history that have helped shaped our country to what it is today. I hope that you take the time to look deeper into the stories of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, Nicholas Lucero, Marcelino Serna and other Hispanics that have left a lasting impression on the history of the United States.
By Kathy Bellinder, EEO Officer
Six Essential Elements of a Model EEO Program
When establishing a model EEO program, an agency should incorporate into the design a structure for effective management, accountability and self-analysis which will ensure program success and compliance with EEO MD-715. Agency personnel programs and policies should be evaluated regularly to ascertain whether such programs have any barriers that tend to limit or restrict equitable opportunities for open competition in the workplace.
The six essential elements for a model EEO program, as described in EEO-MD-715, at PART A, II. A-F, and PART B, III. A-F, are as follows:
1. Demonstrated commitment from agency leadership: Post EEO Policy Statements in all offices and on bulletin boards. Demonstrate the value of EEO to the agency and employees. Seek input (e.g., using employee surveys and focus groups, discussions with employee advisory groups, etc.) regarding the workplace environment. Provide/request EEO training as needed.
2. Integration of EEO into the agency's strategic mission: Encourage regular visits from the EEO Office to your work environment. The EEO team can assist leaders with evaluating workforce demographics and trends.
3. Management and program accountability: Make clear that all managers and supervisors share responsibility with EEO program and human resources officials for the successful implementation of EEO programs.
4. Proactive prevention of unlawful discrimination: Ensure all your employees attend EEO training (NEO, SHARP, EEO for Super-visors, Reasonable Accommodations) whether or not training is mandatory.
5. Efficiency: Ensure your approach to a situation is efficient, fair and impartial. Managers should always be receptive to resolving issues at the lowest level.
6. Responsiveness and legal compliance: Ensure all final Negotiated Settlement Agreements (NSA) are monitored for compliance and timeliness.
**Don't wait for a complaint to be filed to do something! **
Special Emphasis Programs
Special Emphasis Programs are implemented and observed primarily to ensure that minorities, women and people with various disabilities are provided an equal opportunity in employment and program delivery activities.
These programs improve the workplace environment by promoting and fostering diversity in the workplace through awareness and educating employees and others to appreciate, value, understand, and celebrate social and cultural similarities and differences.
The Minority College Relations Program is responsible for policy development, technical assistance and direction concerning employment and liaison efforts of Army personnel in the minority college relations arena.
Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs): Donnelly College, Kansas City, KS
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs): Harris Stowe State University, St. Louis, MO; Lincoln University, Jefferson, MO; Langston, Langston, OK
Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs): Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, KS.
Programs: Black Employment Program; Federal Women’s Program; Hispanic Employment Program; Asian/Pacific Islander American Program; American Indian/Alaskan Native Program; Individuals with Disabilities Program (Workforce Recruiting Program for College Students w/Disabilities).
Hostile Work Environment
The EEOC affirmed the decision of an Administrative Judge who found that the plaintiff had established a claim of hostile work environment harassment on the basis of her sex. The AJ found that while her accused supervisor behaved inappropriately and unprofessionally towards both men and women, he treated women worse.
The AJ noted that the supervisor's conduct towards women included: 1) speaking to them in curt and rude tones; 2) making derogatory comments about women; 3) screaming and yelling at them; 4) repeatedly criticizing them in public and in private; 5) micromanaging them more than men when their performance did not merit increased supervision; 6) circumventing the chain of command and undermining her supervisory authority over her subordinates; and 7) displaying physically intimidating behavior such as aggressive body language, slamming doors and slamming his fists on the desk.
On appeal, the agency argued that the AJ had erred in crediting the testimony of the plaintiff and her witnesses over the agency's witnesses. In its decision, the EEOC declined to reweigh the parties' credibility on appeal and noted that the agency had not pointed to any objective documentary evidence contradicting the testimony of the plaintiff and her witnesses. The EEOC affirmed the AJ's award of $125,000 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages and more than $103,000 in attorney fees. The EEOC noted that the plaintiff had experienced a stress breakdown which necessitated her eventual separation from the agency and that she still suffers the effects of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The EEOC found that substantial evidence in the record supported the AJ's award of $125,000, which was not "monstrously excessive" "nor the product of passion or prejudice." The EEOC also held that the AJ's reduction in requested attorney fees was appropriate based on the fact that the fee petitions contained many excessive, redundant, unnecessary, or inadequately documented expenditures. In its order, the EEOC ordered the agency to consider appropriate disciplinary action against the responsible management officials and specifically noted that training is not considered disciplinary action.
Advises all levels of management regarding EEO related issues. Includes providing program overview, conducting assessments, recommending courses of action to supervisors, participating in strategic planning and special committees, presenting briefings, researching special problems, and conducting sensing session.
Personal Assistive Services
- Notify supervisor.*
* Guests and visitors should contact the EEO Disability
Program Manager (DPM) directly.
- Complete Reasonable Accommodation Request Form.
(Contact EEO DPM for required forms if necessary.)
- Provide request form to supervisor.
- Supervisor will forward request form to EEO Disability Program Manager
- (785) 239-3261
- DPM will provide assistance and help with locating resources as needed.
LGBTQ Commonly used Acronyms
The four letters of LGBT have been used since the 1990s, but the acronym has come to be an evolving abbreviation following an increased awareness of the need to be inclusive of other sexual identities and offer better representation. In honor of Pride Month, we have compiled a list of commonly used acronyms for your awareness. The terms themselves can be overwhelming to some and may even overlap, which may confuse those who are not a part of the LGBTQ community. How do I address this individual? What should they be called? Why so many acronyms? A good approach/start is to familiarize yourself with the substantial list of labels under the LGBTQ umbrella.
First the basics, LGBT:
- L (Lesbian): A lesbian is a woman/woman-aligned person who is attracted to other women.
- G (Gay): Gay is usually a term used to refer to men/men-aligned individuals who are only attracted to other men. Lesbians can also be referred to as gay. Today, bisexual and pansexual people sometimes use gay to casually refer to themselves when they talk about their similar gender attraction.
- B (Bisexual): Bisexual indicates an attraction to more than one gender. The recognition of bisexual individuals is important, since there have been periods when people who identify as bisexual have been misunderstood as being gay. This used to mean attraction to both men and women, but recently the term refers to someone who is attracted to two or more genders out of all the gender identities. Bisexuality has included transgender, binary and non-binary individuals.
- T (Transgender): Transgender is a term which indicates that a person's gender identity is different from the gender associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. This term can be associated with Trans, Trans* and Trans+, which acts as a more inclusive term for gender non-conforming and non-binary individuals.
- Q (Queer or Questioning): Queer is an umbrella term for anyone who is non-cisgender or not heterosexual. Initially queer was used as a slur, but has been reclaimed by LGBTQ communities. Some still find the term offensive and it should not be placed on all members of the community. Questioning refers to people who may be unsure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
From the basic LGBTQ acronym, it expands to LGBTQIA:
- I (Intersex): Refers to people who naturally have biological traits which do not match what is typically identified as male or female. There are many different variations (e.g., XXY chromosomes, ambiguous genitalia or internal sex organs). This term is not linked to sexual orientation or gender identity; Intersex individuals can have different sexual orientations, gender identities and/or expressions.
- A (Asexual): An umbrella term used for individuals who do not experience, or experience only a low level, of sexual desire. This identity can include those who are interested in having romantic relationships, and those who are not. Also referred to as “Ace,” a person who does not identify with any sexual orientation.
- A (Ally): People who identify as cisgender and straight, but believe in social and legal equality for LGBTIQ+ people, are referred to as allies.
In many contexts, the “A” in LGBTQIA will only refer to Asexual individuals. The “A” is more likely to be short for both Ally and Asexual when LGBTQIA is being used to talk about a broader community that believes in the human rights of LGBTIQ people.
And finally, adding on a + (plus) making it LGBTQIA+:
- + (Plus): The 'plus' is used to signify all of the gender identities and sexual orientations which are not specifically covered by the other five initials. The term could indicate other gender identities on the spectrum that have not been defined yet.
Below are some additional “+ (plus)” identities in no particular order:
- Cisgender: One whose gender identity and expression matches the sex they were assigned at birth. Also referred to as heterosexual or straight.
- Pansexual: A term used to describe a person who is sexually, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to people regardless of their sex or gender identity; can be referred as ‘Pan.” There is some overlap of this term with Bisexual.
- Polysexual: People who have romantic, sexual, or affectional desire for more than one gender. This term has some overlap with bisexuality and pansexuality.
- Gender Non-conforming (or G.N.C.): One who expresses gender outside traditional norms associated with masculinity or femininity. Not all gender-nonconforming people are transgender, and some transgender people express gender in conventionally masculine or feminine ways.
- Gender Fluid: A term used by people whose identity shifts or fluctuates. Sometimes these individuals may identify or express themselves as more masculine on some days, and more feminine on others.
- Gender-Neutral: Someone who prefers not to be described by a specific gender, but prefers “they” as a singular pronoun.
- Non-Binary: A person who identifies as neither male nor female and sees themselves outside the gender binary.
- Gender Queer: Another term often used to describe someone whose gender identity is outside the strict male/female binary. They may exhibit both traditionally masculine and feminine qualities or neither.
- Androgyne: A person with a gender that is both masculine and feminine or in between masculine and feminine.
- M.A.A.B. /F.A.A.B. /U.A.A.B.: Male-assigned at birth/female-assigned at birth/unassigned at birth.
- Two-Spirit or 2-Sprit: A tradition from Indigenous Native American identity that encompasses both male and female spirits. There are a variety of definitions and feelings about the term “two spirit” — and this term does not resonate for everyone; it is a cultural term reserved for those who identify as Indigenous Native American.
Keep in mind, this list may not include all acronyms as it is always growing and represents a diverse range of sexual orientations. It is important to know that the terms serve as an effort to be more inclusive and represent gender identity. Gender identity is defined as an individual’s personal sense of their own gender and how a person labels themselves. Gender identity is changing and some individuals are no longer limiting themselves to society’s standards. These labels help build community and encourage self-expression. It could be a complex topic and some may find it sensitive to discuss; therefore, it is normal to feel like you do not know where to start. When asking or inquiring, it is important to be open-mined and respectful — especially if you are not familiar with an acronym. This is new to a lot of people and it is also important for members in the LGBTQIA+ community to be understanding, open-minded and patient.
Reasonable Accommodations are a form of assistance that would allow an employee who has an underlying medical condition to perform the essential function of their position without causing an undue hardship. The Reasonable Accommodation process is interactive between employees and their supervisor with recommendations from the EEO office. Employees are entitled to an effective Reasonable Accommodation. If the employee's underlying medical condition is not obvious, medical documentation needs to have the diagnosis, prognosis,and how the requested accommodation would assist the employee with performing the essential functions of their position.