Sexual harassment falls within a continuum of intolerable, unprofessional behaviors that may increase the likelihood of sexual assault. There is a clear correlation between sexual harassment and sexual assault. Attitudes that allow or enable forms of harassment, beginning with hazing and bullying, can lead to more egregious behaviors and progress into sexual harassment/assault.
Continuum of Harm
What Should I Do?
You should be able to feel comfortable and secure in your workplace or learning institution. The person harassing you can be any gender and could be a leader (including indirect supervisor), another Soldier, or a coworker. If you are being sexually harassed, it is not your fault. If you are ready to file a complaint, we can help you navigate the process.
It’s Sexual Harassment if Someone:
- Implies you can advance professionally if you trade sexual favors.
- Implies you will lose your job or that your career will suffer if you do not trade sexual favors.
- Makes sexual or crude jokes referring to sexual acts or sexual orientation.
- Touches you or makes unwanted physical contact.
- Makes unwelcome sexual advances.
- Discusses sexual relations/stories/fantasies in the workplace.
- Shares sexually explicit photos, emails, or text messages.
- Gossips about your romantic history or sexual orientation.
Who Should I Talk To?
The process for filing a complaint may feel daunting, but we are here to help you through it. When you are ready to talk, there are people ready to help you and support you. Know that you have options. The most important thing is that you find what works for you. If you want immediate, confidential help call 877-995-5247 to be connected with a trained Safe Helpline staff member.
DSN users can call Safe Helpline by dialing 877-995-5247.
For those unable to call toll-free or DSN, call 202-540-5962.Chat with Staff Member
How do I File a Sexual Harassment Complaint
I am a Soldier
A formal complaint requires that you, as the complainant, file in writing and swear to the accuracy of the information. Formal complaints require specific actions, are subject to timelines, and require documentation of the actions taken.
- The formal military complaint requires the use of a DA Form 7279 (Equal Opportunity Complaint Form). Your SARC will do this for you. Find your SARC.
- Soldiers have 60 calendar days from the date of the alleged incident in which to file a formal complaint. This time limit is established to set reasonable parameters for the inquiry or investigation and resolution of complaints, to include ensuring the availability of witnesses, accurate recollection of events, and timely remedial action.
- If a complaint is received after 60 calendar days, the commander may conduct an investigation into the allegations or appoint an investigating officer. In deciding whether to conduct the investigation, the commander will consider the reason for the delay, the availability of witnesses, and whether a full and fair inquiry or investigation can be conducted.
- As the complainant, you should file your complaint with the commander at the lowest echelon of command at which you may be assured of receiving a thorough, expeditious, and unbiased investigation of the allegations. (Depending on the various aspects of the complaint and individuals involved, that lowest level commander may not be your immediate company or even battalion-level commander.)
- All formal sexual harassment complaints are reportable to higher headquarters.
I am an Army Civilian
Details for filing an informal or formal complaint are included in Appendix C of Army Regulation 600-20 (Army Command Policy) and follow the same procedures as for an Equal Opportunity complaint.
- Makes an allegation to a person in a position of authority.
- Is not investigated unless it becomes a formal complaint.
- The complainant must contact an EEO Counselor within 45 calendar days of an alleged discriminatory action.
- The EEO Counselor will try to resolve the matter informally within 30 calendar days from the date of the initial interview with the complainant. Counseling may be extended up to 60 additional days, upon agreement of complainant and EEO Office, or if an established Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure is utilized.
- A complainant may file a written formal complaint with the EEO Office, servicing EEO Office or Agency Head within 15 calendar days after the final interview with the EEO counselor.
- If the complaint is accepted by the EEO Officer, an investigator is assigned to collect all relevant information. If portions of the complaint are dismissed, the complainant will be provided, in writing, the reason(s) for dismissal and informed of his/her right to appeal the decision.
- The DOD IRD (Investigations Resolutions Division - EEO Investigations and Resolutions) is required to complete the investigation within 180 days from the filing of the formal complaint, with a possible extension of 90 additional days, upon mutual agreement. After the investigation, the complainant may request a Final Army Decision or a hearing by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (The complainant may also request a hearing after 180 days has elapsed from the filing of the complaint, if the investigation has not been completed.)
- If complainant requests a Final Army Decision, the DA Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance and Complaints Review Agency (EEOCCR) or the applicable DOD Agency Head issues the department's decision on the complaint. The decision is issued within 60 days.
- If complainant requests a hearing by the EEOC, an EEOC Administrative Judge (AJ) conducts a hearing and submits his/her findings and conclusions within 180 days of the request. If the agency does not issue a final order within 40 days of receipt of the AJ's decision, the AJ's decision becomes the final action of the agency.
- If the complainant is dissatisfied with the Final Army Decision, he/she may appeal to EEOC's Office of Federal Operations (OFO) or file a civil action in a U.S. District Court.
- If the complainant is dissatisfied with OFO's decision, he/she may request reopening and reconsideration by EEOC or may file a civil action in a U.S. District Court.
To file a complaint please contact your local Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office.