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Library > Fact Sheets > Sexual Harassment


Posted 4/29/2013 Printable Fact Sheet

Sexual Harassment Checklist

1. Overview

AFI 36-2706, Equal Opportunity Program, Military and Civilian, defines sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
● Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person's job, pay, or career or quid pro quo harassment
● Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person is used as a basis for career or employment decisions affecting that person, or quid pro quo harassment
● Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment

This definition emphasizes that workplace conduct, to be actionable as "abusive work environment" harassment, need not result in concrete psychological harm to the victim, but rather need only be so severe or pervasive that a reasonable person would perceive, and the victim does perceive, the work environment as hostile or offensive. ("Workplace" is an expansive term for military members and may include conduct on and off duty, 24 hours a day).

Any person in a supervisory or command position who uses or condones any form of sexual behavior to control, influence, or affect the career, pay, or job of a military member or civilian employee is engaging in sexual harassment. Similarly, any military member or civilian employee who makes deliberate or repeated unwelcome verbal comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature in the workplace is also engaging in sexual harassment.

Individuals subject to sexual harassment may display a variety of symptoms of distress. Absenteeism, obvious discomfort at work or changes in work habits may become apparent as the individual tries to cope with a hostile work environment.

2. Identifying At-Risk Personnel

● Personnel who exhibit unexplained changes in demeanor or performance or who show signs of distress
● Junior personnel may be at greater risk to be subjected to harassment

3. Recommended Action
Wingman Action

● Be aware of behaviors that might be considered as sexually harassing in nature
● Create an environment that is free of sexual harassment and in which sexually harassing behaviors are not condoned
● Inform leadership of concerns

Command Action

IAW 10 USC 1561, when Commanders receive a complaint of sexual harassment, they must:

● Consult with local the Equal Opportunity Office and Staff Judge Advocate Office
● Forward the complaint to the General Court-Martial Convening Authority within 72 hours
● Advise individual who submitted the complaint that an investigation has been initiated
● Ensure investigation is completed within 14 duty-days of initiation
● Communicate the expectation that sexual harassment will not be tolerated
● Create an environment that allows for communication throughout the unit/community
● Support alleged victims and alleged perpetrators
● Ensure Investigative Interview Hand-Offs if there is an investigation
● Be attentive to the potential risk of violence if the harassment continues or worsens or if a complaint is made
● Assist, when possible, with any safety plan/strategy developed (e.g., assignment to a new supervisor or duty section, implementation of no contact orders, etc).

4. Relevant Policy

AFI 36-2706, Equal Opportunity Program, Military and Civilian

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