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. 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. Although federal employees were not originally covered under Title VII, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 extended Title VII’s anti-discrimination protections to federal executive branch employees.
If you are a federal employee or job applicant, the law protects you from discrimination because of your race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability (mental and physical), and/or genetic information
The law also protects you from retaliation if you oppose employment discrimination, file a complaint of discrimination, or participate in the EEO complaint process (even if the complaint is not yours.)
Maintaining a Discrimination-Free Workplace
Requires supervisors and managers to perform a variety of tasks and functions. Included among them are:
- Clearly communicating a belief in and adherence to the principles of equal opportunity for all employees.
- Taking prompt action to prevent or halt discrimination or harassment based on race, sex, age, national origin, disability or sexual preference.
- Making an overt effort to recruit a diverse workforce; that is, one which includes employees drawn from both sexes, as well as different racial, ethnic and age groups.
- 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 develop a diverse workforce; that is, one which includes a range of employees representing a variety of ethnic, racial, and age groups.
- Recognizing and valuing the differences that a diverse array of people bring to the accomplishment of organizational tasks.
- Promoting acceptance, cooperation, and positive attitudes towards all members of the work-group among employees.
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 employees attend EEO training, (EEO Overview for new employees, EEO for Supervisors, and EEO for Civilians) all of which are mandatory, prescheduled classes.
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! **
The EEO Office on Fort Leonard Wood conducts several different types of training. This training includes an EEO Overview for new employees, EEO for Supervisors, and EEO for Civilians, all of which are mandatory, prescheduled classes. The EEO Office can also develop and deliver specific training by request.
If you are interested in scheduling a class for your directorate, section, work group, or unit, please call (573) 596-0602
It is the policy of the DA to provide equal opportunity to all qualified individuals with disabilities in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and to fully comply with all other legal and regulatory requirements.
No qualified individual with a disability may be denied the benefits of a program, training, or activity conducted, sponsored, funded, or promoted by the DA, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination.
Definition of Disability:
An Individual with a Disability is:
1. Someone with an actual disability which is a “qualified individual with a disability” is someone with a physical or mental impairment that “substantially limits” a “major life activity”; or
2. An individual with a record of such impairment; or
3. An individual who is “regarded as” having such an impairment.
Under the EEOC’s definition, major life activities include but are not limited to:
Caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
Under Title VII, an agency has the duty of reasonable accommodation for sincerely held religious beliefs and practices unless to do so would cause an undue hardship.
Examples of religious accommodations:
· Work schedules - The most likely accommodation to be requested is flexibility in the regular work schedule to participate in some religious practice
· Allowing employee to make up hours
· Granting leave for religious observances Granting time or place to pray
· Allowing religious dress
· Not scheduling or holding meetings on religious days of observance
· Honoring dietary requirements at meetings or trainings
The EEO Office on Fort Leonard Wood processes accommodation requests and can facilitate the accommodation process upon request.
For more information, please call (573) 596-8048.
It is your right to file an EEO Complaint. However, EEO laws only protect you against EMPLOYMENT ACTIONS when it involves unfair treatment/harassment because of your race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability (mental and physical), genetic information, and reprisal because you complained about job discrimination, or engaged in the EEO discrimination complaint administrative process, investigation, or lawsuit.
Our office operates as a neutral office. We do not take sides in your dispute. Our sole purpose is to assist in resolving your dispute as quickly as possible at the lowest level possible. Therefore, our office will always inform and counsel you on the various options (Workplace ADR, Administrative Grievance, Union Grievance, Merit System Protection Board (MSPB), or direct communication with normally inaccessible managers) to resolve your dispute quickly and at the lowest level.
Please note: Allegations of discrimination must be brought to the attention of an EEO official within 45 calendar days of the alleged action or within 45 calendar days of becoming aware of the dispute being discriminatory. If you are interested in making an appointment to see an EEO Specialist, or if you want to ask some questions, please call (573) 596-7564.
Alternate Dispute Resolution
Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes are alternative methods of helping people resolve problems before the issues lead to legal processing. ADR involves an independent mediator who tries to resolve or narrow the areas of conflict. The use of ADR early in a complaint can result in the more efficient, cost-effective resolution of disputes with greater satisfaction for both parties.
Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) administers the DoD Roster of Neutrals, which provides collateral duty neutrals for Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) proceedings, primarily mediation of EEO disputes and facilitation of non-EEO workplace disputes. These services are available, without charge, to the Military Departments and the DoD Components and their employees. DOHA Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution also acts as a clearinghouse for ADR information, facilitating and providing ADR education and awareness training within the DoD.
The EEO Office on Fort Leonard Wood can facilitate ADR depending on several factors. Not all issues are found to be appropriate for ADR, but requesting resolution through this process is highly recommended.
If you are interested in discussing ADR options and the process, please call (573) 596-7564.