EEO and MEO join forces to fight harassment, discrimination

PETERSON AFB, Colo. -- Two offices are joining forces Air Force wide in an effort to more effectively fight harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

The Air Force has two separate offices for managing unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment programs; the Equal Employment Opportunity office, charged with handling the civilian population on base, and the Military Equal Opportunity office, which serves active duty and retired military members and their families.

This month, the two offices at Peterson, as well as MEO and EEO offices throughout the Air Force, are expected to merge into a single office: Equal Opportunity. Tech. Sgt. Rodney Reed, former NCOIC of MEO, said "We are expecting AF/A1 to release a guidance memorandum in the near future which will provide more detailed instructions on our way ahead."

"We will still provide the same services to our military and civilian community," Sergeant Reed said. "The only difference is that we're becoming a single EO office. We're still located in the same area and just as easy to find as before."

An Air Force review of both the MEO and EEO management processes, using Air Force Smart Operations-21 provided the reasoning behind the change. The report determined that integrating the two workforces into a single program combines the proactive approach of MEO in complaint prevention with the effectiveness of EEO in complaint processing and resolution, yielding a significant benefit to the base. Also, with the impact of Presidential Budget Decision, or 'PBD-720,' this change became a necessity as military authorizations will be reduced by almost one third. The Air Force is the first service to combine these two functions.

With the exception of a name and office symbol change, the impact of this merger will be seamless to the Peterson complex. The location, phone number and even people from the two offices remain unchanged. However, both offices are currently undergoing an aggressive, in-house training program. In time, there will be four, full-time EO counselors versed in both military and civilian processes. This will increase accessibility and outreach for EO throughout the complex.

For information on the services EO provides or for assistance, call 556-7693. The EO office can also provide training and information at unit commanders calls.

Thanks to Capt Brian Humphrey, DEOMI Curriculum and Faculty Programs, for his contribution to this article.