Equal Employment Opportunity
Promote equal employment opportunity (EEO), diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace through services, training communication, collaboration, compliance, prevention, and innovation for a diversified 21st Century workforce.
The Model employer with a diverse and effective workforce founded upon equality of opportunity.
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.
Affirmative Employment Programs
Affirmative Employment Programs
The Affirmative Employment Program is guided by The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Management Directive (MD) 715. This policy guidance is used to establish and maintain effective programs of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for all federal employees as required by Title VII and the Rehabilitation Act. The MD-715 requires the EEO Office to conduct periodic (annual) self-assessments of their EEO policies and practices to ensure free and open workplace competition. An important component of MD-715 is the establishment of six Essential Elements for structuring model EEO programs at federal agencies.
- Demonstrated commitment from agency leadership — WSMR EEO conducts semi-annual EEO Council meetings and seminars with all the Major Commands to discuss the state of their workforce and any EEO trends within their commands. Another demonstration of this commitment is by ensuring employees meet their annual EEO training requirements and letting MACOM Commanders know if they have any EEO deficiencies.
- Integration of EEO into the agency's strategic mission — EEOC looks to ensure that EEO is integrated into the Agency's Strategic Mission and that EEO issues are considered when establishing goals and objectives for the workforce. For instance, the WSMR EEO Manager serves as one of the garrison's goal champions for workforce environment and evaluates the WSMR workforce activities to ensure that EEO principles match with the WSMR strategic plan.
- Management and program accountability — EEOC looks at Program to ensure that managers are held accountable for the work environment and that the agency takes prompt action when wrongdoing is found.
- Proactive prevention of unlawful discrimination — EEOC ensures that the EEO Office is running a complaint process within regulatory guidelines and that through training, education, and leadership by example, we have a zero tolerance policy enforced.
- Efficiency — The EEO Office is evaluated on efficiency. EEOC ensures the EEO office meets all regulatory timeframes for activities through inspections and staff assistance visits.
- Responsiveness and legal compliance — The EEO Program is evaluated on how responsive the EEO leadership is to the Commission when they send out directives and mandate actions. EEOC ensures the EEO Office is in compliance with Negotiated Settlement Agreements and timeliness of processing EEO complaints.
These six elements serve as the foundation upon which each agency builds its program. Agencies are directed to evaluate managers based on their efforts to prevent discrimination and to track disciplinary actions taken against managers found guilty of violating EEO policies.
The success of an agency's EEO program ultimately depends on individual decisions made by individual agency managers. Therefore, agency managers constitute an integral part of the agency's EEO program. The EEO office serves as a resource to these managers by providing direction, guidance and monitoring of key activities to achieve a diverse workplace free of barriers to equal opportunity. To correct deficiencies identified in the self-assessment report, the EEO office creates program objectives to aide managers in their efforts to overcome the identified deficiencies. Typically, WSMR’s MD 715 report addresses objectives to improve the participation rates of women and minorities in higher-grade positions and improve the participation rates of individuals with disabilities in the workforce.
- EEOC Management Directive 715
It is the policy of the Department of Army (DA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) to provide equal employment opportunity for all of its employees, applicants and some contractors for employment in every aspect of their employment and working conditions.
Important aspects of an effective equal employment opportunity program are a vigorous affirmative action program and a discrimination processing system, which facilitates the early informal resolution of complaints, raised. This table provides specific information on how the administrative EEO process works.
Complaints of discrimination may be filed by any employee, applicant, former employee or some contractors who believes he/she has been discriminated against on the basis of:
- national origin
- sex (includes sexual harassment)
- age (40 and up)
- disability (physical and mental)
- genetic information
Filing: Complainant (employee or applicant) must contact an EEO Counselor within 45 calendar days of an alleged discriminatory action.
Counseling: The EEO Counselor will try to resolve the matter informally within 30 calendar days from the date of the initial interview with complainant. Counseling may be extended up to 60 additional days, upon agreement of aggrieved or complainant and EEO office, or if an established Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), procedure is utilized.
Formal Complaint Process
Filing: Complainant may file a written formal complaint with the EEO office, servicing EEO office or Agency Head, within 15 calendar days after the final interview with the EEO counselor.
Acceptance/Dismissal: If the complaint is accepted or partially accepted by the EEO officer, an investigator will be assigned to collect all relevant information pertaining to the complaint. If portions of the complaint are dismissed, the complainant will be provided, in writing, the reason(s) for dismissal and informed of his/her right to appeal the decision.
Investigation: The OCI (Office of Complaints Investigation) is required to complete the investigation within 180 days from the filing of the formal complaint, with a possible extension of 90 additional days, upon mutual agreement. After the investigation, complainant may request a Final Agency Decision or a hearing by EEOC. (Complainant may also request a hearing after 180 days has elapsed from the filing of the complaint, if the investigation has not been completed.)
Agency Final Decision: If complainant requests a Final Agency Decision, the DA Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance and Complaints Review Agency (EEOCCRA) or the applicable DOD Agency head will issue the Department’s decision on the complaint. The decision, based on information in the investigative file, is issued within 60 days.
EEOC Hearing: If complainant requests a hearing by EEOC, an EEOC Administrative Judge (AJ) conducts a hearing and submits his/her findings and conclusions, within 180 days of the request. If the agency does not issue a final order within 40 days of receipt of the AJ’s decision, the AJ's decision shall become the final action of the agency.
Appeals: Complainant, if dissatisfied with the Agency’s Final Decision, may appeal to EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) or file a civil action in a U.S. District Court.
Right to file a civil action: Complainant, if dissatisfied with OFO’s decision, may request reopening and reconsideration by EEOC or may file a civil action in a U.S. District Court. Complainants who raise a claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act may bypass the administrative process by filing a notice of intent to sue with EEOC at least 30 days before filing a civil action in court
EEO Process vs. Union Process: Employees covered by bargaining agreements (e.g. the Local 2049, NFFE; Local 2049, NAF; or Firefighters Association) may use the union grievance procedures or the EEO complaint process as applicable, but cannot pursue both at the same time for the same issue.
Class Complaints: The EEO office will provide counseling in "class" complaints. The EEO officer will designate a counselor for "class" complaints as in the informal process.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
This policy outlines the procedures and establishes responsibility of personnel of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, WSMR Garrison and Tenant Activities under this ADR or early resolution process for EEO pre-complaints. IMCOM Garrison offers mediation as the alternative dispute resolution process to resolve EEO complaints.
- Early resolution of EEO pre-complaints.
- Establish a fair, non-adversarial process for such resolutions.
- Offer an alternative to potential litigation.
- Avoid potentially huge outlays of resources.
- Improve work relationships through open communication and understanding.
Mediation Frequently Asked Questions
What is Mediation?
Mediation is the intervention into a dispute by an impartial and neutral third party who assists the disputing parties in voluntarily reaching a settlement. This third party, called the mediator, assists in clarifying issues, identifying underlying causes, and arriving at appropriate remedies to resolve disputes. The mediator does not impose resolution on the parties, but works to improve communications to guide the parties toward voluntary resolution.
Who May Participate in Mediation?
Department of Defense employees, applicants for employment, former employees and some contractors who allege discrimination on matters concerning their employment may be offered or may request mediation. Participation is voluntary.
When is Mediation Initiated?
Mediation is usually offered within 20 days of the initiation of EEO counseling. The aggrieved will be allowed a brief time in which to accept or reject the offer of mediation. If mediation is rejected, the EEO counseling process will continue. If mediation is accepted, the EEO counseling will be held in abeyance to allow the mediation process to take place.
How Does Mediation Work?
During mediation, parties will be provided the opportunity for joint discussion, as well as individual and confidential discussion, with the mediator. With the exception of the settlement agreement, the mediator will not retain records of the mediation. The mediator will not willingly testify for or against either party in an administrative or court proceeding regarding information unique to the mediation conference. Unless obligated by law, such as in criminal activity, the mediator will not divulge information conveyed in confidence by either party.
What Happens When Mediation is Completed?
If a dispute is resolved through mediation, both parties will sign a written settlement agreement and EEO counseling will be terminated. If a dispute is not resolved, EEO counseling will continue and the aggrieved will be provided the right to file a formal complaint.
How Does Mediation Benefit Me?
- MEDIATION utilizes an impartial third party to assist the involved parties in resolving the dispute.
- MEDIATION encourages open communication, often improving or mending broken working relationships.
- MEDIATION allows parties to resolve disputes themselves, thereby avoiding lengthy and expensive litigation or administrative procedures.
- MEDIATION results in a win/win situation, especially where it results in a mutual and voluntary settlement to a dispute. Even if mediation does not result in resolution, open discussion often results in better understanding and better working relationships.