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Library > Fact Sheets > Military EO Complaints & EOTIs


Posted 5/21/2008 Printable Fact Sheet

Military Equal Opportunity Complaints & Equal Opportunity & Treatment Incidents (EOTI)
Resolving MEO Concerns at the Unit Level 

*These procedures apply to military personnel, their family members, and retirees.
  **For procedures concerning AF or DoD civilians, see the civilian portion of our website. 

According to AFI 36-2706, our office must receive a memo for all Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) issues worked within the unit. We will maintain the memo at our office to document unit leadership's efforts to resolve the issue in case it is raised later in a formal MEO complaint. It's imperative that when an MEO concern is raised in a unit, appropriate actions are taken to resolve it. MEO does not need to work all of the Equal Opportunity (EO) concerns that arise within a unit, but we should be contacted before an attempt is made to resolve the issue; our staff can provide valuable expertise. 

Reporting this information to us ensures all MEO issues are documented and that accurate information is passed up the chain of command. It also assures Congress and our military leadership that members have faith in and trust their chain of command. 

The information listed below must be reported to MEO for all MEO issues that are worked by the unit or when an informal complaint is referred back to the unit. Provide the names and demographics (rank, sex, race, unit and AFSC) of the person making the complaint and the person(s) or circumstance complained against.  

Summarize the complaint or concern that was raised (normally only a few paragraphs are needed). State actions that were taken to resolve the complaint or concern, such as facts that were discovered, investigations conducted etc. Include command actions such as counseling, reprimands, removals, ART 15s, restatement of AF MEO policies etc. Some cases may not require corrective actions, especially if the complaint cannot be validated or there was only a misunderstanding.  

The memo should note the complainant was informed they could contact MEO for assistance. Also mention if a "follow-up" was conducted with the complainant, or why a "follow-up" was not conducted. The memo must be indorsed by the commander. Statements, internal reports or other documents can be sent as attachments, but are not required by AFI 36-2706. 

Keep in mind that the unit documentation requirements are the same for Informal MEO complaints that are turned over to the unit as they are for MEO concerns that originate and are resolved within the unit. The difference is if a person comes to MEO and files an MEO complaint, but is willing to allow the unit/commander to work it, this is reported as an Informal MEO complaint. If the person goes directly to a supervisor, first sergeant or commander, this would be reported as an MEO concern resolved at the unit level. When a person brings a concern to unit management, we strongly advise the unit contact MEO for advice before working the case.
Filing Informal Complaint of Unlawful Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
* These procedures apply to military personnel, their family members, and retirees.  **For procedures concerning AF or DoD civilians, see the civilian portion of our website. 

If you feel offended, you may orally address or prepare written correspondence to the individual whose behavior is offensive, describe the offensive behavior, tell the person why it is offensive, inform them that you consider the behavior to be a violation of Air Force Equal Opportunity and Treatment policy, and ask the person to stop. No outside intervention or documentation is required; however, a memo for record is advisable. 

Request assistance from the chain-of-command (supervisor, first sergeant, commander) or from the Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) office. If the member needing assistance comes into the office, the MEO staff will document the issue on AF Form 1587-1 (Informal Complaint Form) and place it on file. If the MEO office is contacted by phone by the individual needing assistance, or a party representing the member needing assistance, the MEO office will document the assistance on an AF Form 1271 (Record of Assistance). 

All documentation kept at the MEO office, the AF From 1271, AF Form 1587-1, or AF Form 1587 (Formal Complaint Form) are disposed of after two years. The chain-of-command or MEO official may assist in one of the following ways: Help prepare oral remarks or written correspondence to convey to the individual whose behavior is offensive the inappropriateness of their remarks or actions. Also, inform the individual that any further inappropriate behavior may, or will, result in formal complaint action. 

Facilitate intervention by a co-worker who is familiar with Air Force Equal Opportunity and Treatment policy. (MEO can brief the co-worker how best to intervene.) 

Commanders must insure individuals have the right to bring forward allegations of unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment without the fear of reprisal. 

Currently, the MEO mediation program is now authorized for any issue involving military personnel and equal opportunity and treatment policies. Many conflicts occur because of a lack of communication between the parties involved; therefore, mediation may be a good way to resolve some disputes. Contact the Military Equal Opportunity personnel for up-to-date guidance.
Filing Formal Complaint of Unlawful Discrimination and Sexual Harassment 

* These procedures apply to military personnel, their family members, and retirees.  **For procedures concerning AF or DoD civilians, see the civilian portion of our website. 

If the informal complaint process does not resolve the situation, or if the complainant desires to file a formal complaint, the individual should contact their chain of command (supervisor, first sergeant, commander) or MEO. 

Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) first informs all customers that we do not have total confidentiality, only protected communication. All Equal Opportunity and Treatment (EOT) personnel have a responsibility to the Air Force to address allegations of unlawful behavior. Even if the complainant does not wish to file a complaint, MEO will address appropriate issues. This normally involves contacting the commander with authority over the alleged offender or discriminatory process. After this, we listen to what the complainant has to say. If the complaint does not involve, in some manner, an EOT violation regarding race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, then we refer the individual to the appropriate agency to address their issues. 

If their complaint does involve unlawful behaviors in violation of Air Force EOT policy, MEO asks if the individual has used the chain of command. At the complainant' s request, Commanders may handle the complaint or refer the complaint to MEO to conduct a complaint clarification. If the complaint is handled internally, then the commander should contact the Military Equal Opportunity office for up-to-date guidance on procedures and policies. 

Avenues to resolve the issues are discussed, including mediation, the informal complaint process, and the formal complaint process. It is up to the complainant to determine how he or she would like to have their issues alleging EOT violations addressed. If, after filing a complaint, an individual wishes to withdraw it, they must receive approval from the Director of EO. 

If the complainant files a formal complaint on AF Form 1587, then EO performs a complaint clarification. The purpose of a clarification is to determine whether a formal EOT complaint is supported by a preponderance of credible evidence. The process includes interviewing all relevant parties--complainant(s), witness(es), and alleged offender(s), as well as gathering information from any relevant records or documents. The timeline for the process is 20 duty days: 

EO: 9 duty days
Legal Review: 6 duty days
Commander' s action: 5 duty days
Cases of sexual harassment filed by active duty military members have a timeline of 14 duty days. 

If any of the offices cannot meet their timeline, the Director EO may grant 5 duty day extensions for each, total extensions not to exceed 15 duty days. Following the initial extension, EO will apprise the Installation Commander(IC) every 14 days on the status of the case. The IC will also be notified of all additional and subsequent requests for extensions.

All complaints involving allegations of suspected criminal activity, such as assault, sexual assault, rape, child abuse or molestation, or incest shall be immediately coordinated with the servicing Staff Judge Advocate and referred, as appropriate, to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations or Security Forces. 

All complaints involving allegations of homosexual conduct shall be immediately referred to the subject's military commander for appropriate action. See AFI 36-3206, Administrative Discharge Procedures for Commissioned Officers, and AFI 36-3208, Administrative Separation of Airmen. Such complaints are not within the purview of the Air Force Military Equal Opportunity and Treatment Program. 

All complaints of unlawful discrimination that are not within the authority of the EOT complaints process will be immediately referred to the appropriate agency authorized to resolve such complaints, e.g., Army and Air Force Exchange Services, Non-appropriated Fund, or Housing Referral Office. Commanders may serve as a referral service for addressing allegations of unlawful discrimination. Cases Involving Senior Officials (0-6 and above), Colonels and Colonels Select: There are special reporting and complaint processing requirements for EOT complaints involving senior officials, colonels, and colonels select. 

ICs will notify SAF/IGS of complaints involving senior officials. ICs will notify MAJCOM IGQs and DP SAF/IGQ of EOT complaints involving colonels or colonels select. 

Equal Opportunity will refer all EOT complaints involving senior officials to SAF/IGS. 

Military Equal Opportunity will handle EOT complaints involving colonels and colonels select. 

Base level EOT technicians should consult their MAJCOM Assistant for Military Equal Opportunity prior to conducting complaint clarifications in cases involving colonels and colonels select to determine the most appropriate complaint resolution avenue (i.e., clarification, inquiry, or investigation).
Equal Opportunity & Treatment Incidents (EOTI) 

An overt act, occurring on or off base, which is directed toward an individual, group, or institution that is motivated by, or has overtones, of unlawful discrimination on the basis of color, national origin, race, religion or sex.

EOT incidents often involve racial, ethnic or sexual slurs, or disparaging terms, sometimes followed by an altercation or fight. Typically, they occur at "entertainment" facilities when one or more of the parties are intoxicated.

All incidents, as defined above, must be reported to the Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) office as soon as possible. If incidents occur after duty hours, Security Police should be notified, and they will notify us. Prompt notification facilitates MEO completing the evaluation, clarification, coordination, and reporting of these incidents to the wing commander and HQ AFMC within the time frames established in AFI 36-2706. 

If you have any doubts about whether or not an incident should be reported, call us. The purpose of an EOT incident clarification is twofold. The first is to gather information for the appropriate commander to determine whether unlawful discrimination occurred. The second is to determine if the incident negatively affected the base human relations climate and meets the reporting criteria.

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