Sexual orientation added to Equal Opportunity Program for soldiers
By Jim Tice
Gay, lesbian and trans-gender soldiers who experience in-service harassment or discrimination because of their sexual orientation can now seek redress through the Army’s Equal Opportunity Program.
A directive, No. (# 2015-39,) adding sexual orientation to the service’s military EO Program was issued Oct. 14 by John McHugh, the outgoing secretary of the Army.
A follow-on directive, No. 2015-40, providesing guidance and implementing procedures for civilian employee anti-harassment policy. It was issued by McHugh Oct. 30, just hours before his tenure as Army secretary SA expired.
Together the directives provide detailed guidance to soldiers, employees, commanders and supervisors for addressing unlawful discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex or sexual orientation, as well as race, color, national origin, religion or sex. or .
Under procedures now in effect, units are required to publish command policy statements on equal opportunity that indicate sexual orientation can be the basis of discrimination complaints.
The guidance calls for Procedures further require that discrimination complaints by soldiers to be promptly investigated in a fair, impartial manner, and are appropriately resolved without the complainants facing being the subject of reprisals, intimidation or retaliation.
Commanders also are required to make sure that complainants and the subjects of a complaint are provided feedback information about the status and outcome of the complaint.
The 10-page anti-harassment policy directive for civilian employees, and the commanders and supervisors of employees, is largely based on laws, many of them recently amended, dealing with equal employment opportunity in the federal government.
Key sections of the directive:
• Define harassing conduct.
• Establish a system of accountability for ensuring a workplace free of unlawful harassment.