EEO LAW AND LEGISLATION

Federal Laws Prohibiting Discrimination in Employment

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age of older by prohibiting age discrimination in hiring, discharge, pay, promotions, and other term and conditions of employment.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local government.

Sections 501, 502, 504, 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 makes it illegal to discriminate against federal employees and applicants for employment based on disability.  Federal agencies are required to make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of qualified employees or applicants with disabilities.

The Civil Rights Act of 1991 provides monetary damages in case of intentional employment discrimination.

These statues are covered by the Equal Employment Complaint Processing Regulations (29 CFR Part 1614)

For additional information on these federal laws, please go to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission web site at:

http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/qanda.html

COMPLAINT PROCESSING

TRADITIONAL COUNSELING                                                        ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints will generally be processed at the activity where the alleged discrimination occurred.  The complaint entering in to the Fort Myer Military Community Equal Employment Opportunity Office is processed at that location.  If processing is impractical at the activity where the alleged discrimination occurred, the complaint may be processed at a different location designated by the North East Region Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.

INFORMAL PHASE

The Aggrieved Employee starts the equal employment opportunity (EEO) process by meeting with an EEO official or EEO counselor within 45 calendar days of the alleged incident or personnel action.  This starts the first phase, the "Pre-complaint" process.  Usually, the initial contact made by an employee to an EEO official/counselor is either to seek general information concerning the EEO complaint process or to actually begin the EEO complaint process.
Once it is determined that the Aggrieved Employee wants to proceed with a matter of concern, the next phase starts, the "Pre-complaint Intake" process.  The pre-complaint intake interview will be recorded by the EEO official/counselor and he/she will determine as to whether or not the employee is alleging discrimination within the protection of 29 CFR 1614 (Title VII), and the proper venue for an individual to use to address his or her concern (s).  Once it has been determined that the matter presented by the employee is appropriate for processing under Title VII, the EEO official/counselor will define and record the date(s) and facts of the specific incident(s) or personnel action(s).  The EEO official then explains the activity's Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) - Mediation program, including the difference between ADR and traditional counseling and the right to choose participation in ADR or traditional counseling should an offer of ADR be made.
If the aggrieved employee elects traditional counseling, an EEO counselor will be assigned.  The counselor will conduct a 30-calendar day inquiry into the allegations raised and to attempt resolution of the complaint.  If the complaint is not resolved, the counselor will conduct a final interview and provide employee with management's response to alleged allegation and their reason for not reaching resolution and issue the aggrieved employee the notice of right to file a formal complaint and the final interview within the prescribed timeframe. 
If the EEO official determines that the complaint is suitable for ADR (Mediation), then an ADR Mediator is assigned and a mediation conference will be scheduled and conducted at the identified location.
If the dispute is resolved through the use of ADR-Mediation, the ADR Mediator will coordinate the proposed resolution with the EEO officer, designated Army representative, and appropriate civilian official prior to execution.  The pre-complaint resolution will be documented in the form of a negotiated settlement agreement (NSA).  The aggrieved employee will be provided with a copy of the NSA signed by all parties.
If the dispute is not resolved within the prescribed timeframe, the EEO official will document the record and issue the employee a notice of right to file a formal complaint and final interview.

FORMAL STAGE

An employee should exhaust the pre-complaint stage before filing a formal complaint of discrimination, either by traditional counseling or through the use of ADR (Mediation).
A formal complaint must be filed within 15-calendar days of the date of the Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint of Discrimination letter.  The agency shall acknowledge receipt of a formal complaint in writing immediately upon receipt of the formal complaint.  Also, the agency shall notify the employee of the following:
§         §         It's obligation to investigate the complaint in a timely manner.  The investigation must be appropriate, impartial, and completed within 180 days of filing the complaint.
§         §         Inform employee of his/her rights and responsibilities.  This includes:
(1)                             The right to a hearing, except in mixed cases.  An employee
has a right to request a hearing before an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Administrative Judge after 180 calendar days from the filing of a formal complaint or after completion of the investigation, which ever comes first.
(2)                              The right to appeal if the agency dismisses his/her complaint, a
final action or a decision.  Partial dismissals are not immediately appealable.  The appeal must be filed within 30 days of receipt of the dismissal, final action or decision.  Appeal may be mailed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Federal Operations, P.O. Box 19848, Washington, DC 20036. 
(3)                             The right to file a civil action in a federal district court on claims
raised in the administrative process (pre-complaint stage):
a.         Within 90-calendar days of receipt of a final action on an individual or class complaint if no appeal has been filed;
b.         After 180-calendar days from the date of filing an individual or class complaint if an appeal has not been filed and a final action has not been taken;
c.         Within 90-calendar days of receipt of the Commission's final decision on appeal; or
d.         After 180-calendar days from the date of the filing of an appeal with the Commission if there has been no final decision by the Commission.

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

OVERVIEW

DEFINITIONS--

Equal Employment Opportunity is the right of all persons to work and advance on the basis of merit, ability, and potential, free from social, personal, or institutional barriers of prejudice and discrimination.
Discrimination is the intentional or unintentional denial of rights or opportunities to individuals based on real or implied characteristics such as race, color, national origin, genetic information, religion, sex, age, physical or mental disability and reprisal for filing a complaint of discrimination or participating as a witness in a complaint of discrimination.
Discrimination is prohibited on bases of race, age (over 40), sex (including sexual harassment), color, religion, national origin, disability (mental or physical), and/or retaliation/reprisal.
How Discrimination is Established - through application of legal doctrine known as the "shifting burden of proof."  Under this doctrine, the complainant must first establish a prima facie case.  This means, that the complainant must prove the existence of facts, which "at first view" would lead to an inference of discrimination unless otherwise explained.  Once the complainant has established this prima facie case, the burden shifts to management to offer non-discriminatory reasons for their action.  The burden of proof then shifts back to the complainant to establish management's reasons were a pretext.  This means showing that management was less than truthful or that there were other reasons not mentioned by management-reasons which were discriminatory.

THEORIES OF DISCRIMINATION:

- Disparate Treatment can occur when an agency intentionally denies individuals an employment opportunity on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, or age (40 years of age and over).  The basis of the disparate treatment theory is difference in treatment between similarly situated individuals.
Adverse Impact discrimination can result from neutral employment policies and practices which are applied even-handedly to all employees and applicants, but which have the effect of disproportionately excluding persons on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, and physical or mental disability.
Accommodation (Disability and Religious)           
      -- Disability - Employers must provide reasonable accommodation unless the agency can show accommodation would create an undue hardship.  A disabled individual must be qualified for the employment they seek.
      -- Religious - Employers should provide reasonable accommodation, which deals specifically with the individual religious belief.  There is no absolute obligation for an employer to accommodate an individual's religious practices.  However, the employer must show or prove why the accommodation is not provided as requested.
Retaliation/Reprisal is any act of restraint, interference, coercion, or discrimination against any person because the person has opposed the practices made unlawful by Title VII, the Rehabilitation Act and/or the ADEA or because the person participated in any stage of the administrative or judicial proceedings concerning a complaint.
Sexual Harassment is a form of sex discrimination but is unique in that it covers a range of behaviors deemed as harassment.  Sexual Harassment is defined as "Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment;
-  Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or
Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Sexual harassment falls into two categories:  (1) "Quid pro quo" harassment - "this for that", and (2) "hostile working environment" - conduct which is "sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the individual's employment and create an abusive working environment"
Leadership Principals:
-  Never make a management decision based on race, gender, color, national origin, religion, age, or disability
-  Treat all employees the same - apply the same rules to all employees
-  Do not tell or condone the telling of jokes based on ethnicity, race, sex or sexual orientation, religion, disability, or age in the workplace
-  Do not patronize employees of any particular group
-  Deal promptly and decisively with allegations of discrimination
-  Avoid assumptions about entire groups of people

Management's Role in the EEO Complaint Process:

-  Cooperate with the EEO counselor and investigator
-  Seek early and reasonable resolution
-  Take immediate corrective action as required
-  Keep your reactions under control - do not overreact
-  Keep complaints confidential
-  Do not retaliate
 Civilian Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy
It is the policy of this command to provide equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment regardless of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, physical and/or mental disability.  I am committed to EEO principles and will not tolerate discrimination in any form.  People are the cornerstone of readiness.  They must know they will be treated fairly and with dignity and respect in all aspects of performing the mission.  They have the right to work in an environment where there is the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.  I am committed to a vigorous program of equal opportunity training that will ensure that we better understand and are more considerate of each other.

Equal Employment Opportunity is the law and an essential element of good leadership.  I expect all managers and supervisors (military and civilian) to demonstrate the same dedication and involvement in achieving Department of Army EEO goals, as they have displayed in accomplishing other missions and objectives.

I strongly encourage supervisors and managers to consult EEO personnel when making employment decisions in the recruitment, selection, training, promotion, discipline, awarding or retention of civilian employees.  The EEO staff is responsible for advising and assisting you in implementing and supporting the principles and objectives of the EEO program.  When issues or systemic problems are identified, I expect prompt resolution and the lowest possible level of the chain of command.

Civilian employees or applicants who perceive they are victims of discrimination, including sexual harassment, assume responsibility to voice their opposition to these behaviors and to report incidents promptly to their chain of command or the EEO office.  Complaints will be quickly and thoroughly investigated, ensuring the rights of both the victim and the accused are protected.  Where necessary, swift, fair, and effective corrective action will be taken.

Prevention of Sexual Harassment Policy

It is the policy of this command and my professional commitment to ensure that all personnel are provided an environment free of sexual harassment.  Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when--

            a.  Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person's job, pay, or career.

            b.  Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by a person is used as a basis for career or employment decisions affecting that person.

            c.  Such conduct interferes with an individual's performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

Any person in a supervisory or command position who uses or condones implicit or explicit sexual behavior to control, influence, or affect the career, pay, or job of a soldier or civilian employee is engaging in sexual harassment.  Similarly, and soldier or civilian employee, who makes deliberate or repeated unwelcome verbal comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature is engaging in sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment violates those standards of professional conduct and integrity acceptable to this command and the Army.  Everyone in the chain of command is expected to be a positive role model and familiarize all members of the workforce with an understanding of these and the Army's policies regarding prevention of sexual harassment.  Supervisors, managers, and leaders are responsible for maintaining high standards of military conduct, honesty, impartiality and professional leadership to ensure a work environment free of sexual harassment.

Individuals who are subjected to acts of sexual harassment assume responsibility to voice their opposition to this offensive behavior, and report the incidents through the appropriate supervisory channel.  It is the responsibility of every supervisor and manager, military and civilian, to examine the reported incident and ensure swift, fair, and effective corrective action is taken when necessary.

To ensure that we exhibit the highest professional behavior, caring, and consideration of others, we must carry out a robust program of education, which allows individuals to talk about these issues.  Training in the Prevention of Sexual Harassment is mandatory for all soldiers and civilian employees.  Civilian employees on their first assignment with the federal government must receive training within 90 days of assignment.  Newly appointed supervisors, including military that supervise civilians must receive training within 180 days of appointment.  Refresher training is required for civilian employees or supervisors every 3 years.  Soldiers are required to receive training semi-annually.  Commanders, managers, and supervisors are responsible for ensuring all personnel receive the required training.

Complaints of sexual harassment not resolved within the chain of command may be filed with the Equal Opportunity Office (military) located in Building 203, telephone (703) 696-2976 or the Equal Employment Opportunity office (civilian), located in Building 203, Fort Myer, telephone (703) 696-6258.