Informal Resolution System
An informal complaint is any complaint or allegation of discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnic background, religion, gender, age, national origin or any other form of discrimination, to include sexual harassment which are not criminal in nature. Depending on the severity of the behavior, the CO can recommend that the individuals involved attempt to use the Informal Resolution System to resolve their conflict.
Personnel should always consider using the informal method whenever possible as this is the most expeditious mean to attempt resolution and restore the trust necessary for unit cohesion.
The Informal Resolution System works in the following manner:
a. Direct Approach - By either approaching the offending party in person tactfully pinpointing the behavior that is offending, asking the person to cease the behavior or in writing.
b. Informal Third Party - Requesting assistance from another person to intervene on your behalf to help resolve the conflict. This person is normally a friend, co-worker, command EO representative or EO Advisor.
*It is important to note that if the complainant chooses to request assistance from someone outside of his/her immediate chain of command, this should not be adversely looked upon as “jumping the chain of command.” There are numerous reasons why someone would venture outside of their chain of command when requesting assistance with an EO complaint (i.e. the alleged offender is in their immediate chain of command, desire to have an impartial “outsider’s” opinion, the “old” chain of command did not address the issue when brought before them).
c. Training Information Resources (TIR) - Request training or resource materials for presentation to the work place in the areas of discrimination, harassment or inappropriate behavior. These materials are a good method of communicating to offending persons in the workplace, in a non-threatening way, that the behavior is inappropriate. The TIR includes videos, books, lesson plans, posters and other materials. You can request TIR from your local Equal Opportunity Advisor.
Anyone receiving a formal complaint must forward the complaint immediately to the commander. There are several avenues used to seek formal redress. The most effective avenue to use will depend on the circumstance surrounding the situation and personnel involved. Selection of the avenue to use will be decided by the complaint.
a. Request Mast - This is the preferred method for an individual to file a complaint of discrimination with any CO in the Chain of Command up to the individuals' Commanding General. The request mast will normally be conducted within one working day, but no later that three working days, after the initial submission. MCO 1700.23F, Request Mast, provides specific guidance for Request Mast procedures.
b. Article 138, UCMJ Complaint - An individual who alleges wrong(s) committed by their Commanding Officer may file a formal complaint under Article 138, UCMJ. Commanders should consult with the Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) when processing a complaint under Article 138.
c. Article 1150, Redress of Wrong(s) Committed by a Superior - An individual may also file a complaint against any other superior, in rank or command, who the individual believes committed a wrongdoing (U.S. Navy Regulations, Article 1150). Commanders should consult with the SJA when processing a complaint under Article 1150.
d. Communication with Inspector General - As an alternative to the normal chain of command, military or civilian personnel may lodge complaints and provide facts to the local Command Inspector. Complaints may be lodged with representatives of the Deputy Navy Inspector General or to representative of the Deputy Naval Inspector General for Marine Corps Matters/Inspector General of the Marine Corps (DNIGMC), DSN 224-1348/1349 or commercial (703) 614-1348/1349, concerning violations of laws, rules, and regulations; abuse of authority; or misconduct. MCI West Command IG is (760) 725-5112 or Hotline (760) 725-5144.
e. Individual Communication with Congress - Individuals may write a personal letter to members of Congress at anytime concerning EO issues.
It is the responsibility of the Commanding Officer of the alleged offender to conduct a thorough investigation and take appropriate action. It is the responsibility of the command in which the complaint was received to ensure a Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (DASH) report it initiated.
The following established timelines will be adhered to when conducting investigations into formal allegations of discrimination or sexual harassment in accordance with MCO 5344.1E w/ Admin ch:
a. All formal complaints should be filed within 60 days of the alleged incident occurring by the person making the allegation.
b. Within 3 working days or 72 hours of a Commander receiving a formal complaint or notification of a formal complaint, the command must: appoint an investigating officer (IO) in writing, inform the complainant an investigation has commenced and notify the next higher in the chain of command with General Court Martial Convening Authority that an investigation has commenced.
c. Within 14 calendar days of commencing the investigation, the IO will have his or her investigation complete, to include a Staff Judge Advocates Review and an Equal Opportunity Advisors review. If the investigation and required reviews are not completed within 14 days, the command will submit a written request for extension from the Commanding General with GCMA.
d. The commander has 6 days upon completion of the investigation and review to forward a finally written report containing the result of the investigation, as well as any actions taken, to the next superior officer in the chain of command with GCMA. The report will include a statement from the complaint that indicated their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the resolution. Within 20 calendar days of commencing the investigation, the complaint must be resolved. Resolution includes completion of the investigation, determination of validity of the charges (substantiated or unsubstantiated). Throughout the investigation, updates (feedback) will be provided to the complainant every 14 days.
e. On day 20 (since the complaint was lodged), an initial Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Report (DASH) will be sent to CMC (MPE) via the commands Equal Opportunity Advisor.
f. Only one extension (maximum of 30 days) is allowed and must be approved by the unit's immediate Commanding General. This authority will not be abdicated.
g. Upon final resolution of the complaint, a complete DASH Report must be submitted to the CMC (MPE) with the case disposition/resolution via the commands EOA.
Complaint Procedures Reference: MCO 5344.1E w/ Admin ch Pages 3-3 through 3-5