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Equal Opportunity assists units to ensure readiness

Equal Opportunity assists units to ensure readiness

Story by TSgt Heather Redman on 03/11/2019

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii A hostile work environment, or at least the perception of one, can cause a ripple that affects Airmen both at work and at home. Thankfully one office’s mission is to ensure all Airmen and their families can rise above discrimination and meet their fullest potential.

The 647th Air Base Group equal opportunity office assists commanders at all levels, conduct equal opportunity and human relations education to promote unit cohesiveness and military readiness.

“EO boils down to providing avenues for individuals who feel they are being unlawfully discriminated against based on a protected category,” said Staff Sgt. Brianna Smith, 647th ABG equal opportunity office. “We inform individuals of their rights and explain to them the complaint process so they can make informed decisions.”

To support Airmen the EO staff provides complaint resolution, management consultation, and referral services to active-duty members, their families, retirees, and federal employees.

The EO office maintains a trusted channel for Airmen to present allegations of unlawful discrimination that is based on their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, sexual harassment, bullying and hazing for military members. Civilians are also protected from discrimination based on their age, genetic information, disability, and reprisal.

“While we are all Airmen who serve, at the end of the day we are human and at some point have to take off our uniforms,” said Smith. “So it’s important to remember that we all have feelings, and if a person is feeling attacked, that can bleed over into their personal life and effect their overall duty performance.”

While the EO office can handle Airmen complaints to ensure equal treatment for all, they also have a number of services to help foster understanding and communication within a unit.

“Some of our biggest unit success stories steam from our mediation and outreach programs,” said Smith. “Through these two programs we help individuals and their units develop communication skills with one another.”

With over 23 years of experience between them, the EO office can help units develop teambuilding, facilitate conflict resolution, deliver human relations education, provide commander’s call briefings, as well as conduct climate surveys, focus groups, and counseling sessions.

Ultimately the EO office’s goals is to ensure individuals receive an opportunity to fully use their abilities and talents to accomplish the mission.

For more information contact the 647th ABG Equal Opportunity office at 647abg.eo@us.af.mil.

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