Equal Opportunity: maintaining an equal and inclusive force

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Imani West
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The Department of the Air Force is committed to ensuring all Airmen and Guardians are treated with dignity, respect and are afforded equal opportunities and the right to a prejudice-free environment. Ensuring the U.S. Air Force and Space Force can recruit and retain diverse talent to support a lethal force and mission readiness.

The 52nd Fighter Wing Equal Opportunity Office meets those standards by providing timely, fair and impartial services to the base population to support the movement of a nondiscriminatory workforce and equal opportunities for all.

“Our goal is to make sure everyone has equal opportunities,” said Master Sgt. Kristofer Snedecor, 52nd FW EO superintendent. “More specifically, everyone deserves the same opportunity as the person sitting next to them - regardless of race, color, religion, nationality, sex and disability.” “No matter what your differences are, you deserve to be afforded the same opportunities to succeed. That’s ultimately what our office and unit commanders are responsible for.”

The EO program provides services such as complaint processing, outreach, EO related training and education, assistance through alternative dispute resolution and other related services. Depending on the report and the complaint, EO can work with commanders, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team, inspector generals, judge advocates, and other units to provide their members with the right services and information they need.

“We want to get our message out there regarding how important it is for people to utilize us before it becomes a complaint,” said Tech. Sgt. Baso Harper, 52nd FW EO noncommissioned officer in charge. “We want members to feel heard and know they’re taken care of.”

There are different resources and options provided to members that are seeking to file complaints and reports. In-depth information about the policies and Military Equal Opportunity complaint processes and timelines are outlined in DAFI 36-2710, Equal Opportunity Program. Additional expectations for EO and nondiscrimination can be found in the Secretary of the Air Force’s EO and Nondiscrimination Policy Memorandum.

“We’re just gatherers. That's the biggest thing people often misconstrue. When someone comes into our office and files a complaint, they drive the process of what they want to do,” said Snedecor. “If it gets to the point where it’s become a formal complaint, we’re doing the clarification or interviewing people, collecting data and documents, and reading the alleged offender their rights, the whole nine yards. We’re the objective, neutral, third-party person. That’s what we are.”

In cases of sexual harassment, victims have several different reporting options.

Service members can make a restricted report with the SAPR program to receive victim advocacy services and may also file a separate Military Equal Opportunity complaint through the EO office.

With an unrestricted report, members can report sexual harassment to a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator or SAPR Victim Advocate and receive victim advocacy from that office. This option will result in SARC or SAPR VA notifying the victim’s commander and the EO office. They will initiate an investigation of the sexual harassment allegation or a clarification report via EO complaint processes.

Members also have the option of going directly to the EO office without having to go through their supervisory or chain of command channels.

Sexual harassment victim advocacy services through the SAPR office do not replace the Military EO informal and formal complaint processes. Sexual harassment informal complaints filed with the EO office or reported directly to a military member’s chain of command will not automatically result in a commander directed investigation.

The Department of the Air Force has continued to express the importance of coming together as a force to cultivate and sustain inclusive environments, promoting equal opportunity throughout all organizational levels. Airmen and Guardians are expected to maintain personal and professional conduct of the highest standard to play an integral role in eradicating discrimination within the workplace.

For more information please contact the Equal Opportunities office at 314-452-6392 / 06565-61-6392 or the Air Force Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Hotline at 1-888-231-4058.

For information on the DAF’s policies and resources for Equal Employment Opportunities/Military Employment Opportunities, Click Here.

Spangdahlem AB’s SAPR team can be reached at DSN: 452- 7272 or Comm: 06565-61-7272.