“We try to affect people as soon they arrive on base,” said 1st Lt. Jennifer Greig, chief of MEO at Vance.
Troops are reminded no form of sexual harassment in the workplace will be tolerated.
“We help them understand when you put their uniform on, you’re ambassadors,” Parker said. “We have a lot of proactive measures to help folks understand you need to be professional and watch your behavior. We don’t want folks walking on eggshells, but there are expectations that this is a professional environment, and you’re supposed to conduct yourself a certain way.”
Many issues, Parker said, “are misperceptions.”
If a military member believes he or she has been discriminated against or a victim of sexual harassment, the MEO office can be contacted for help. The member then can try to resolve the issue either informally or formally.
Informal complaints can be resolved by addressing the issue face to face with the alleged offender, through mediation by MEO staff or intervention by a coworker or through the chain of command.
If a formal complaint is filed, the MEO office conducts a complaint clarification. That involves gathering all the details of the allegation, interviewing witnesses and informing the airman’s commander about the complaint.
Embracing ‘that ideology’
The MEO office works closely with the Staff Judge Advocate’s office to determine, if a complaint is substantiated, what to do next.
“If it is not substantiated we will still give the commander a recommendation of things you can do to prevent the perception,” Parker said.
Some 18 percent of all Air Force officers are women, which can cause problems if men are averse to taking orders from a female.
“In reality it should be no issue,” Parker said, “but those issues do come up. We relate to folks regardless if it’s a male or a female, they hold that rank because they’ve earned it, they hold that title because they’ve earned it. If folks can’t embrace that ideology, they don’t have a place in the military.”