Listed below are frequently asked questions relating to EEOD.
- What is EEOD?
The acronym stands for Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity. The mission of the Office of EEOD is to foster an inclusive and respectful workplace environment that allows all personnel to succeed as they support the defense of our nation. Our strategic goals complement the strategic goals of DA&M.
- What are the strategic goals of the Office of EEOD?
Workforce Inclusion, Workplace Equity, Accountability, Educate the Workforce, Early Resolution, and Effective Administration of the EEOC Complaints Process.
- What is Workforce Inclusion?
Monitor recruitment of qualified applicant, focusing on groups with lower participation and representation rates to create a high-performing workforce drawn from all segments of American society.
- What is Workplace Equity?
Cultivate and encourage a culture of collaboration, flexibility, and fairness to enable all employees to reach their full potential and maximize retention.
- What is Accountability?
Develop strategies to equip leaders to manage robust Affirmative Employment Programs (AEPs) that measure results and promote a culture of inclusion.
- What does "Educate the Workforce" mean?
Promote a discrimination-free workplace by leveraging all forms of educational media and training to improve communication skills and conflict management in the workplace, creating a culture of inclusion at WHS.
- What does "Early Resolution" mean?
Promote the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) during the informal and formal stages of the EEO complaints process, and encourage the early resolution of all workplace disputes.
- Are settlement agreements confidential?
The details of the resolution must be given to specific offices with a need to have that information, such as those offices that will implement the settlement.
- What is the "Partnership in Education"?
The Partnership in Education (PIE) Program was adopted by the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 1984 as part of President Reagan's initiative to revitalize the Nation's schools. Volunteers from throughout the Office of the Secretary of Defense responded by adopting classrooms from John Tyler Elementary School and have periodically provided opportunities for students to visit the Pentagon and obtain a wider perspective of what military and civilian members of the defense team do within their respective roles. Those experiences provide students with an exclusive look at how DoD accomplishes its mission, and gives them a vision of potential and achievable career choices in their future.
- What are the various protected classes against discrimination?
Race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment, pregnancy, gender stereotyping), national origin, age (40 and older), disability (mental or physical), genetic information or reprisal against individuals engaged in EEO activity, and those opposing discriminatory behavior.
- What populations are served by the WHS Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity?
Over 6,500 civilian and military personnel within the following organizations receive mission support through the EEOD.
- Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)
- Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)
- Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
- Defense Legal Services Agency (DLSA)
- Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA)
- Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA)
- Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO)
- Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA)
- DoD Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA)
- DoD Test Resources Management Center (TRMC)
- Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA)
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (USCAAF)
- Washington Headquarters Services (WHS)
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
- What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Each federal agency is supposed to develop and offer an alternative to the existing EEO complaint process. Its primary aim is to assist parties at dispute in achieving timely informal resolution at the lowest level possible within the organization, and in an atmosphere under their joint control. The ADR initiative goes beyond Mediation.
- Who is eligible for Alternative Dispute Resolution?
The ADR program is available to all organizations serviced by WHS for both EEO and non-EEO workplace disputes.
- Why choose the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program?
Mediation gives the parties control over the outcome of their dispute. ADR provides the parties with an opportunity for each side to define settlement terms that are more equitable than the "all or nothing" outcomes of formal dispute resolution processes.
- Who may use the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program?
All civilian and military employees within the organizational entities of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Defense Agencies, and the DoD Field Activities serviced by Washington Headquarters Services (WHS). The ADR has been successful in facilitating resolution between employees, managers, senior leaders, working groups and full organizations.
- Are all cases appropriate for Alternative Dispute Resolution?
No. Mediation is generally not appropriate in cases when 1) A decision to set precedence is required, 2) The matter involves significant policy questions, 3) Rights of third parties cannot be addressed using ADR, 4) Full public participation is important, and 5) the issue requires continuous oversight and adjustment. The ADR Specialist will recommend whether the case is appropriate or not, and refer cases as needed to the appropriate forum.
- Can an employee who has elected Alternative Dispute Resolution withdraw from the process?
Yes. The ADR process is voluntary and either participant, employee or the supervisor/ manager representing the agency, may withdraw at any time.
- Does the Alternative Dispute Resolution neutral help me come up with solutions to the problem?
Yes. A Neutral is trained to help the parties think outside the box, and pinpoint interests versus positions.
- In EEO cases, what role does the responsible management official have in Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Once the agency has determined that a matter is appropriate for ADR, it can decide who should represent the agency and can require the responsible management official, or the agency official directly involved in the case, to cooperate in the ADR process. The agency may also appoint another official, such as the second level supervisor or office Director to represent the agency in mediation.
Collaborative Resolution Program (CRP)
- What is the Collaborative Resolution Program?
The WHS program for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the Collaborative Resolution Program (CRP) and is guided by WHS Administrative Instruction 106, Collaborative Resolution Program. The CRP is available to help resolve a broad range of workplace issues, primarily through the use of mediation, facilitation, and climate surveys. This program is a valuable resource for informal dispute resolution and a means for effective human capital management. Participation in the CRP is voluntary for all parties involved in the dispute. Active engagement in this process enables personnel to settle their differences in a confidential and respectful manner.
- Nothing I've done is resolving a problem between my two employees. How can the Collaborative Resolution Program help?
The presence of a neutral third party can have a profound impact on the dynamics. It removes power imbalances and puts all parties on the same playing field. Communication and understanding is often maximized because of this balanced and structured environment.
- Is mediation effective?
Every case is unique, but Federal statistics show that when parties come to the table in good faith, mediation helps resolve approximately 70% of workplace disputes.
- The other party will probably dominate and won't listen. Why should I even bother?
More often than not, the other party feels the same way. The reality is that an experienced, professional neutral controls the process and flow of communication and creates a fair and balanced climate. This allows for respectful conversation and dialogue.
- Who serves as the mediator?
The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Manager or other neutrals acquired from external sources in a cost-effective manner, to include the DoD Sharing Neutrals (administered by the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals), the Health and Human Services Sharing Neutrals Program, and/or the mediators from DoDs Civilian Personnel Management Service Investigations and Resolutions Division (IRD).
- How long does mediation take?
The length of the mediation session depends upon the complexity of the case and willingness of the parties to resolve the dispute. Most mediation sessions are completed in eight hours or less. We recommend parties set aside a minimum of 4 hours to dedicate to the resolution process. A follow up session can be scheduled if more time is required.
- Do I lose my right to formal procedures if mediation doesn't work?
No. You have nothing to lose by attempting mediation. You retain the right to pursue formal avenues if settlement does not occur.
- I know that mediation works, but how can I convince my employees to use it?
We recommend that you simply explain that mediation is a viable option with a proven success rate. Describe how it works and its benefits. Provide all informational materials and the ADR specialist's contact information. Parties must voluntarily choose to participate in mediation. If they are forced to the table, there is a lower likelihood of a successful outcome.
- May I bring a representative to mediation?
While it is not always necessary, both parties may bring a representative of their choosing to the mediation table. Since ADR neutrals do not provide opinions or advice about the merits of the case, a representative can often serve as a valuable feedback mechanism.
- Are mediation and facilitation the only services offered by the Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Mediation and facilitation are most applicable to workplace disputes involving specific individuals; they do not fit every situation. The ADR Manager is available to discuss and help develop other customized conflict resolution processes, such as sensing sessions, as needed.
- What does "Effective Administration of the EEOD Complaints Process" mean?
Incorporate process improvements and standard operating procedures, monitor timelines and performance metrics, in order to improve the efficiency of the process.
- Can EEO complaints be mediated?
Yes, both in the informal and formal stage. Mediation is the most common ADR technique in EEO cases because it has been shown to be effective in resolving workplace-related disputes quickly, economically, and fairly. Mediation is a viable alternative to lengthy and often expensive administrative process of agency investigation, hearing, and appeal to the EEOC, or possible litigation in the courts. Parties are highly encouraged to consider mediation in EEO cases.
- What is the deadline for filing a discrimination complaint?
Employees, former employees and/or applicants for employment who believe they have been discriminated against based on the above protected classes must contact the EEOD within 45 calendar days of the date the alleged discriminatory act occurred or within 45 calendar days of the effective date of an alleged discriminatory personnel action.
- Is there anything I have to do before I can file a discrimination complaint?
Prior to filing a formal complaint, aggrieved persons who believe they have been discriminated against must first meet with an EEO Counselor for counseling and attempt an informal resolution. As an alternative to traditional EEO counseling, parties may choose to participate in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program, which offers informal, neutral, voluntary, and confidential methods for early dispute resolution, such as mediation.
- I am in the armed services but I am stationed at a WHS-run facility. How do I handle a discrimination situation?
The Office of EEOD also provides uniformed Service Members, working within WHS, information and referral in pursuing Military Equal Opportunity (EO) processes within their respective service component. Service Members who believe they have been discriminated against must contact the EEOD Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) Officer or notify their immediate Chain of Command within 60 calendar days of the date of the alleged discriminatory action occurred or within 60 calendar days of the effective date of the alleged discriminatory action.
- What training do Alternative Dispute Resolution neutrals have?
Individuals serving as mediators/facilitators have completed approved professional training as a neutral third party and agree to abide by established ethical standards. If the case is complex, a neutral with advanced training, specialized knowledge and significant experience would be assigned.
- What training is required for the No FEAR Act?
All personnel are required to receive training in the rights and remedies available under discrimination and whistleblower protection laws (to include harassment of all forms), managing a diverse workforce, dispute resolution, and communication skills. New employees are required to receive No FEAR Act training within 90 calendar days of entering on duty. Additionally, all employees are required to complete refresher training every two years to ensure continued understanding of their rights and responsibilities.
- Where do I sign up for No FEAR Act training?
For your convenience, No FEAR Act training is available online at the WHS Learning Center (/a> (CAC required). The training will be placed in the employee's learning plan and completion of the training will be recorded in each individual's learning history. The Equal Employment Opportunity Programs (EEOP) Office also offers comprehensive classroom training that satisfies the No FEAR Act's requirements. Completions will be verified by reports 'generated from the system.
- What is conflict resolution skills training?
This course allows employees, supervisors and managers to learn essential skills for better dealing with workplace conflict.
- What skills does conflict resolution skills training teach?
The trainee will learn to:
- Understand costs, types and catalysts of conflict
- Examine the dynamic impact of culture on perception
- Reduce fear of conflict by learning "resolution behaviors"
- Assess personal approaches and styles of conflict resolution
- Learn/Review/Practice in-depth communication skills
No FEAR Act
- What is the No FEAR Act?
On May 15, 2002, Congress enacted the "Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002," which is commonly known as the No FEAR Act. The Act imposes specific duties upon Federal agency employers intended to reinvigorate their longstanding obligation to provide a work environment free of discrimination and retaliation.
- What duties does the No FEAR Act impose?
- A Federal agency must reimburse the Judgment Fund for payments made to employees, former employees, or applicants for Federal employment because of actual or alleged violations of Federal employment discrimination laws, Federal whistleblower protection laws, and retaliation claims arising from the assertion of rights under those laws.
- An agency must provide annual notice to its employees, former employees, and applicants for Federal employment concerning the rights and remedies applicable to them under the employment discrimination and whistleblower protection laws.
- At least every two years, an agency must provide training to its employees, including managers, regarding the rights and remedies available under the employment discrimination and whistleblower protection laws.
- An agency must submit to Congress, EEOC, the Department of Justice, and OPM, an annual report setting forth information about the agency's efforts to improve compliance with the employment discrimination and whistleblower protection laws and detailing the status of complaints brought against the agency under these laws.
- An agency must post quarterly on its public Web site summary statistical data pertaining to EEO complaints filed with the agency.