What to Look For |
What to Do |
What to Avoid
What to Expect |
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment directly attacks the self- esteem of the individual and undermines unit readiness, affects morale, and the war fighting capability of a unit. Required command intervention includes taking claims of sexual harassment seriously, and conducting preliminary inquiries into sexual harassment complaints. This supports the notion that the command is committed to resolving sexual harassment issues and will not tolerate this behavior.
- Leaders need to be aware of what is going on. Unfortunately, sexual harassment and other negative behaviors are not so obvious that there is a set rule of things to look for.
- Changes in the victim's behavior may lend some insight if increased tardiness, absences, or withdrawal from unit activities become more the norm than the exception. - More than likely, the commander will learn of the sexual harassment only if the victim comes forward or through second-hand reports.
- Consult with an Equal Opportunity Advisor or Equal Opportunity
- When a victim files a complaint of sexual harassment, the victim determines if they want to file an informal complaint or a formal complaint.
- If an informal complaint is filed:
- Resolve it at the lowest level possible,
using the Informal Resolution System, generally
with the two individuals talking about the
incident to resolution.
- If a formal complaint is filed:
- Be available and responsive to potential victims.
- Ensure the victim that you are there to help and to protect the rights of both parties.
- Actively follow the complainant's performance and evaluation to ensure the individual has not been subjected to reprisals.
- When faced with a sexual harassment complaint, do not ignore it or discount the complainant's statement. Investigate it and take appropriate action.
Once the initial complaint is forwarded to the local commander and the investigation begins, the expectation of a smooth process is anticipated.
The complaint is forwarded up the chain of command and an investigator is assigned.
The investigation is initiated and then the initial complaint is forwarded to the first commander in the chain of command that has General Court-Martial (GCM) convening authority.
The commander shall inform the complainant when the investigation has commenced and make every effort to ensure the investigation is completed within 14 days.
- Upon completion of the investigation, the investigating officer shall ensure a legal sufficiency review and an EO review is conducted. The Staff Judge Advocate will conduct the legal review.
- The investigating officer will then submit the investigation to
the commander, and the commander will provide the
investigation to the Equal Opportunity Advisor (EOA). This enables
the EOA to advise the commander on the Equal Opportunity sufficiency
of the investigation as well.
- The commander has 6 days upon completion of the investigation and review to forward a written report to the first person in the chain of command that has GCM convening authority. The report will include a statement from the complainant that indicates their satisfaction with the resolution.
- Headquarters Marine Corps is notified, and the administrative details are documented.
The process is not foolproof and only works as well as those administering it. Documenting the assignment of the investigating officer, and ensuring the complaint timelines are met are the most important in terms of documenting a complaint. In the case of reprisal for filing the complaint or worsening behavior, the recipient has the option of discussing these dynamics with their chain of command if they occur.
Be attentive to the potential risk of violence if the harassment continues to worsen.
An intentionally false complaint of sexual harassment may be, among other things, chargeable as a “false official statement” in violation of Article 107, UCMJ, or a “false swearing” under Article 134, UCMJ. A Marine who makes an intentionally false complaint may be subject to adverse administrative or disciplinary action.
- A complaint not substantiated does not automatically constitute an intentionally false complaint.