Equal Employment Opportunity and Anti-Harassment Measures

I’ve copied some of the information from my annual EEO (Equal Employment Opportunities) Anti-Harassment Training below.  I have some observations to make along the way.

The Army is committed to developing and maintaining a professional workplace in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.  This includes ensuring an environment for Army civilian employees free of discrimination in employment on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy)
  • National origin
  • Age (forty and over)
  • Disability
  • Genetic information (individual or family medical history)
  • Reprisal for participating in discrimination complaint activities, such as being a witness for another employee

***  The attempted ban against gay, lesbian and transgender individuals in the Armed Forces is an obvious contradiction.

Federal anti-discrimination laws protect employees from illegal discrimination in the terms, conditions, and benefits of their employment. Some examples of these are:

  • Hiring
  • Promotion
  • Reassignments
  • Pay
  • Leave
  • Awards
  • Performance Evaluations
  • Training
  • Job Classification
  • Reprimands
  • Suspensions
  • Terminations

The Federal laws enforced by the EEOC that protect employees from employment discrimination are:  

  • Equal Pay Act of 1963
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008

Workplace harassment based on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, reprisal or any other impermissible basis is not acceptable in either the military or civilian ranks.    

Harassment includes, but is not limited to, any offensive conduct such as slurs, jokes or other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, offensive or hostile 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.

– Does the individual who never indicates something bothers them, being harassed?
– Someone is intimidated into hiding a particular characteristic. If nobody knows they’re associating with someone having those characteristics, is that discrimination?
– If men assert themselves more in the workplace, is their quicker advancement discrimination?
– Are common cultural behaviors, if unchallenged, discrimination?  What about micro-cultures such as the set of Saturday Night Live?
– If you fail to speak out because you don’t think it’ll make an immediate difference, how will things change?  If you don’t speak out when you see things happening around you, whether to you or to people you associate with, are you complicit?