The III Corps and Fort Hood Military Equal Opportunity Office established an EO and harassment hotline Oct. 7 as an additional way for Soldiers and their family members anonymously report incidents of MEO and harassment.
The hotline can be reached by calling 254-291-5717 and is manned 24/7 by qualified and trained MEO representatives, according to Master Sgt. Jose Rosario, III Corps Equal Opportunity advisor.
Those representatives can help callers with information on MEO and harassment policies and procedures on how and where to file complaints, the behaviors that constitute discrimination and harassment.
“It’s going to be a military Equal Opportunity professional that is trained to be able to handle the situation,” Rosario explained. “Depending on the scenario, depending on what unit the Soldier belongs to, they will either give them guidance to go to that EO professional at the brigade level, or division or they will handle it themselves.”
Rosario said situations vary, so many people wonder when it is appropriate to call the hotline.
“If you feel like you are being discriminated against in the six categories that cover EO,” Rosario said. “This covers race, color, national origin, religion, sex or sexual orientation. If a Soldier or family member calls and, for whatever reason, turns out not being (appropriate for) EO, we can still refer them.”
Sometimes the MEO office gets calls that are more appropriate for SHARP, IG or other agencies, and they have all those numbers on hand to get people to the right agency that can help them, Rosario explained.
“Sexual harassment and the SHARP side is where we tend to go first,” Rosario said. “We’re like, ‘Hey, is there anything sexual in nature that you’re about to tell us, because we don’t want you to lose the reporting options that you have.’ Because right off the bat, if they start, then we have to report or whatnot, and that might be a deal-breaker for a Soldier.”
The newly established hotline came to be due to a regulatory requirement in AR 600-20 published in July, according to Lt. Col. Miranda Craig, III Corps Military Equal Opportunity program manager.
“The purpose of it is to serve as an additional avenue for EO complaints,” Craig said. “Primarily anonymous complaints where a complainant does not have to identify themselves. However, we still require the five Ws, the who, what, what, when, where, why. If the complainant wants to be unknown, we use the unit commander’s information and put that on the EO complaint form.”
“If an individual feels uncomfortable going to their unit equal opportunity leader, or their equal opportunity advisor at the brigade level, this is an additional avenue for them to report an EO complaint,” he concluded.