Equal Opportunity in the Air National Guard
By 2nd Lt. Larissa Richards, 130th Airlift Wing MEO Office
/ Published March 11, 2009
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- What does the base Equal Opportunity (EO) office do? What exactly is their purpose and who are they? The base Equal Opportunity Office is staffed by Capt. Spickler, 1st Lt. Frye, 2nd Lt. Richards, and Master Sgt. Smith. Their goal is to enforce and manage the commander's commitment to an environment free from unlawful discrimination (discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, and gender) and sexual harassment. It is proven that people are more productive when they enjoy coming to work and when they feel that they are a viable part of the Air National Guard team.
Air Force leaders take equal opportunity very seriously; they want to have a diverse workforce free from unlawful discrimination and harassment. They also want the right people for the job, regardless of race, gender or beliefs. End goal? Improve mission effectiveness! How? By promoting the following: respect for each other, awareness of issues, diversity and the strengths that come from our differences, and endorse our shared values and goals as an Air Force.
The Wing's EO team works to communicate and maintain a presence with the base populace. You will see members of the EO office in your work sections doing "Out and Abouts". The "Out and About Program" is an EO tool for evaluating how people are getting along in the work force. They visit and talk to Airmen to get a grasp on the conditions of human relations within the Unit concerning topics such as the physical work environment, accessibility to the chain of command, the merit program, and social environment.
This program coupled with the Unit Climate Assessments (UCAs) helps ensure commanders are aware of issues in their units and provide them a way to address those issues. However, the process is a two-way street, and Airmen are encouraged to be honest. If your unit commander doesn't know about a problem, how can he or she address it? Remember, all responses are kept confidential.
You will also see members of the EO office once every two years for Human Relations Education, an Air Force requirement, as well as annual sexual harassment training.
It is also EO's job to engage those who create barriers for other people. When an unfair discrimination or harassment complaint is filed with EO, a fact-finding inquiry is initiated to gather all of the facts surrounding the accusation. The wing commander is notified of all complaints. Once the investigation has been completed, the information is analyzed and the findings are provided to the appropriate commander for possible action.
(If you need to contact the 130th AW's EO office, the telephone number is: DSN 366.6132 and COMM 304.341.6132)