Harassment or Discrimination?

#1
Gentlemen/Ladies, some help please.

I have recently been put in a difficult position and asked some advice on matters relating to the topic heading. A TA unit has been having a few issues of late it seems and one of its members feels harrassed/intimidated or discriminated by the actions of the most senior member of that unit>

eg. On a range day a group of women had returned fro the Toilets and a comment was passed, loudly, "Hear comes the Bean Flickers", She has felt a little offended by this........

There is a difficulty getting conversion courses on vehicle types as

a. she is a woman and they don't ride.
b. Only Seniors and Officers need that qualification.

Mmmmm news to me that seniors and officers carry out patrol duties these days and she does ride, very well, and is qualified as a civvy motorcycle instructor to boot. She also regularly rides a civilianised version of the vehicle type she is trying to convert to.

She is trying to improve herself in verious ways and it appears is actively prevented from doing so, ie, slow processing or losing paperwork.........etc etc

There are many issues and I would like to know what I can inform her, after all they 'Lead by example' in the unit.
 
#2
570mils said:
Gentlemen/Ladies, some help please.

I have recently been put in a difficult position and asked some advice on matters relating to the topic heading. A TA unit has been having a few issues of late it seems and one of its members feels harrassed/intimidated or discriminated by the actions of the most senior member of that unit>

eg. On a range day a group of women had returned fro the Toilets and a comment was passed, loudly, "Hear comes the Bean Flickers", She has felt a little offended by this........

There is a difficulty getting conversion courses on vehicle types as

a. she is a woman and they don't ride.
b. Only Seniors and Officers need that qualification.

Mmmmm news to me that seniors and officers carry out patrol duties these days and she does ride, very well, and is qualified as a civvy motorcycle instructor to boot. She also regularly rides a civilianised version of the vehicle type she is trying to convert to.

She is trying to improve herself in verious ways and it appears is actively prevented from doing so, ie, slow processing or losing paperwork.........etc etc

There are many issues and I would like to know what I can inform her, after all they 'Lead by example' in the unit.
Tell her to contact Citizens Advice.
 
#3
There are a couple of low-level ways to deal with this.

1. Write letter or speak to offender, and explain you are not happy with their behaviour.

2. Ask SNCO or Supervisor, to speak to the offender on your behalf and explain their behaviour is not acceptable.

If none of the above work, then this is where she starts to go up the chain, via EO Officer of unit, OC or CO,of unit.

If satisfaction is still not reached, then contact the The Equal Opportunities Commission.

If it goes that far, then your unit has serious problems. However your friend will get a fair deal.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#4
The comment is unacceptable and she has the right of an apology, she should pursue this in writing through the chain of command. If this is the only instance then common sense says let it be dealt with at the lowest level, i.e. an apology and an assurance that it will not happen again. Let's not get over dramatic if this is the only incident . If there are others, then she should identify them on her letter of complaint. This incident, if it is indeed a single inciedent, can be dealt with very swiftly.

As for the course (I presume its an m/c course), if the unit has dictated that the course is for seniors and officers only, then tell her to accept it. She is not entitled to a course if it plays no part in her employment role. Courses are not jollies (honest!) irrespective what civvy quals she has. It doesn't matter if she's Evil Knievel, if she's not at least Sgt Knievel, she has no right of complaint. Any attempt by her to pursue one will only see her being regarded by her colleagues as a whinger. There's been enough of that crap in the Army over the past 12 months.

The comment is out of order but FFS kep your feet on the ground.
 
#5
Fair comments from one and all.

Hard to deal with as it is the OC that originated the comments and it is not the only one, I have advised keeping a diary and it makes for some very interesting reading. It is a continuing problem and I only highlight the one above as an example.

Course wise, yep I know, did wear the green suit for many years, it is a role requirement as a JNCO and once past there that role disappears. I am aware it is a 'jolly' for the seniors and officers to get the courses, They do not require it for operational reasons and it is widely regarded as one of the 'perks' within the unit for the seniors and officers. Again I speak from experience.

She most certainly is not a whinger but is simply trying to get on in life, improve and prove herself, but is stopped at every opportunity and argument based on her sex. Verifiable when more junior members of the unit get all the training requested and they are male.

It may sound like whinging but I have seen it happen and can vouch for the verasity of her discontent.
 
#6
It sounds as though this complaint should be refered to the unit EO advisor, I am presuming of course your unit has one. If not there must be a an advisor at regimental headquarters. Failing this there is a EO team based in Bulford who may well be able to offer advise.
 
#7
If true, then this is a damn difficult situation in which to find yourself. She is right to document the percieved wrong doings, but she should also attempt to remedy this at the lowest level. Which ever way this goes, she is going to get a rough ride (no m/c pun intended) and she must absolutely not get caught writing in a diary!! It smacks of disloyalty and is almost a flogging offence in most units.

If it is her OC then she needs to contact her Unit Equal Opportunities Officer. This individual is the POC for this kind of issue and should deal with it in the manner expected by the Army Council (i.e. not say "thanks very much" and trot straight in to see the said, same boss). If she feels unable to do this, she should approach the next EO 'up the chain', i.e. at Formation or unit HQ. There are usually plenty of leaflets floating around units that will explain further.

There is a little known bunch called the Equal Opportunities Investigation Team. An independent Unit reporting direct to AG, they were at Campion Lines in Bulford, but not sure if they have moved to Upavon. Although they investigate only the really serious stuff, your mate may wish to give them a call to ask for some independent advice.

If you want me to dig the number out, please let me know via a PM.

Rgds

Jon
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#8
Agreed. If it's her OC who has made this and other remarks, then she must pursue this through other lines and EOIT would be a good first stop.
 
#9
have to disagree with some of the advice being dished out here. biscuits, for once i find myself disagreeing with you :) i'm with tartanterror on this one.

does it have to go external and formal so early? can she not approach her sergeant-major (or another senior she trusts), explain the problem and ask for an interview with the OC and the WO / SNCO present? surely her saying "sir, i don't like the comments you make and would like them to stop" should be attempted before going outside the unit?

or even the WO / SNCO approaching the OC on her behalf. isn't this the sort of thing we can assist junior soldiers in? or is there just nobody willing to put their head above the parapet, even though there is clearly some unacceptable behaviour going on???

570mils, i am guessing that you are her civvie boyfriend? in which case there is obviously no onus on you to do anything. but surely in a TA unit there are PSIs, PSAO, CSM, troop staffy, platoon sergeant or any number of people she should approach before complaining to the EO officer or some external equal opportunities organisation. has she tried?

clearly the OC is bang out of order. but getting in some investigation should not be the first resort. great, you've got her keeping a diary and logging every indiscretion. but has she actually said anything to anybody in the unit?

good management should work up the chain as well as down it. give them a chance to sort it out internally before going large with it, for gods sake.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#12
We're going to have to agree to disagree her CR. If it were one of the JNCOs or SNCOs she would have a route of complaint via her CSM. If it were the CSM, she could report it to her Pl Comd/2IC/OC.

As it was the OC (allegedly), where should she go? Her CSM can't help her. What can he do? He is outranked by the 'offender' and will no doubt suspoect that if he passed it up the chain, it would be swept under the carpet. Her 2IC probably wouldn't help her and would more than likely give the OC the heads up. Does she go direct to the 'offender'? I'd say that as it's her OC who (allegedly) made the remarks, then serious action should be taken. What example is he setting here? By virtue of his rank, she should take it to a higher authority. If she contacetd the EOIT, they would tell her how to do this. I wouldn't trust the EO Officer in the unit as he/she is connected to the OC via the Mess and may in fact be the OC himself. There's no way that the OC is going to apologise in the presence of the CSM.

If it is an RMP unit, then you'd like to think that thier Officers would know better, given the speed that they'd shaft one of their lads at if such a matter was reported to them. If he has made a comment as to her sexuality (or percieved) he deserves reporting and should be.
 
#14
Biscuits_AB said:
We're going to have to agree to disagree her CR. If it were one of the JNCOs or SNCOs she would have a route of complaint via her CSM. If it were the CSM, she could report it to her Pl Comd/2IC/OC.

As it was the OC (allegedly), where should she go? Her CSM can't help her. What can he do? He is outranked by the 'offender' and will no doubt suspoect that if he passed it up the chain, it would be swept under the carpet. Her 2IC probably wouldn't help her and would more than likely give the OC the heads up. Does she go direct to the 'offender'? I'd say that as it's her OC who (allegedly) made the remarks, then serious action should be taken. What example is he setting here? By virtue of his rank, she should take it to a higher authority. If she contacetd the EOIT, they would tell her how to do this. I wouldn't trust the EO Officer in the unit as he/she is connected to the OC via the Mess and may in fact be the OC himself. There's no way that the OC is going to apologise in the presence of the CSM.

If it is an RMP unit, then you'd like to think that thier Officers would know better, given the speed that they'd shaft one of their lads at if such a matter was reported to them. If he has made a comment as to her sexuality (or percieved) he deserves reporting and should be.
point takens, but the first question anyone higher up is going to ask is: "have you said anything about it?" and if not, why not.

and i think you are doing people a great sweeping disservice, by saying that "her CSM can't help her". he's the interface between the coalface and the officers, and this is precisely one of the sorts of things he can be used for e.g. a tactful word in the boss's shell-like.

of course if all that doesn't achieve the desired effect, take it further.

i just feel that taking it to an EOIT or something should NOT be the first time this is addressed, and find it pretty surprising you advise her to completely ignore the EO officer in the unit.
 
#15
It's all a question of who the EO in the unit is.

I was under the impression within the TA, that the most likely person to be the EO Officer is the PSAO, mostly because they're one of the few constant figures in the organisation.

Would I bypass the PSAO? Yes, if I thought he and the OC were best mates, but it's something I'd do with my eyes wide open, because making any sort of complaint within any hierarchical organisation has repercussions, whether we like to admit that or not.

If you do so within the unit, then your complaint could be brushed aside, and your name is last for the good stuff, and first for the bad stuff. Take it outside, and the same can happen.

Like anything in life, it could boil down to those in charge having the moral obligation to do the right thing.

The individual in this case needs to look at those in the reporting chain and decide what's the best route to take.
 
#16
Have to agree with CR on this. Whilst the person in question doesn't have to stand up and tell her gaffer to shut the fook up, she has the ability to make a complaint to her immediate CoC. At least that way, if in the future things do get a little hairy, someone outside of her circle of friends/peers knows about the situation.

Her CSM can't help her. What can he do? He is outranked by the 'offender'
I didn't think EO was bound by rank. Whilst being senior has it's privileges, if a complaint has been made official, rank goes out the window.
I was under the impression the CSM was the interface between the troops and the Hoorays. It's his/her job to to make sure the CoC works as best it can, install discipline etc. If the CSM is kept out of the loop (unless the CSM is the problem) I'd have thought he'd be pretty miffed, especially when he could have done something about the problem.

Not a great situation to be in, and alot depends on personalities, but best of luck on whatever course of action your oppo takes.
 
#17
All useful advice in its varied forms.

CR, I may be a civvy now but have not always been, been there, seen it done it, but thats all in the past. I do have very limited access to information as a result and do not wish to compromise very good friends who are still serving.

I have been part of the organisation in question and find that the individual concerned is a pompous, arrogant Arrse of the highest order. It is all a game to him and the unit has become a 'boys drinking club'

The options for addressing the issues at hand are limited:

1. Her Plt Comd, now moved and performing a job somewhere in the RHQ.

2. CSM, very close friends with the OC and about as much backbone as jellyfish

3. No formal 2IC, Trg Officer fulfills some of the responsibilities but comes across as a GOPWO and unapproachable.

4. PSAO still fairly new and all are watching to see what form of relationship there is with the OC and fundmentally can they go to him with these types of issues and have them dealt with in a trusting and initially confidential manner.

It is not whinging on her part, I know several members of the unit in a similar position but feel somewhat unable to help as I am now outside the system. Its nice to be trusted in that respect but hard to achieve anything officialy.

Why post here, well having received a PM or two offering to help, through the back door, might actually achieve something. Why doesn't she do anything? It's the usual fear issue and expected repercussions. The two ocassions she has approached SNCO's within the unit have shown the matter ignored and nothing achieved, now there is a complete lack of faith in the system.

Hence a small cry for help here.............

My apologies, I shall now get back in my small civvy box!!!!

Edited for poor typing with fat mong civvy fingers.
 
#18
i realised that you were ex-military, i was just guessing that you were a civvy and therefore unable to help directly. wasn't intended as civvy-bashing, you paranoid git :)
 
#19
My apologies, my misunderstanding, no offence meant to be taken........ocassioanaly difficult to understand the meaning through here.

And just beacuse i'm paranoid doesn't mean the barstewards aren't out to get me............
 
#20
RHQs should have a welfare officer who, as a matter of course, must act independently if a soldier approaches them. They can, if permission is given, informally mention to the CO what is going on. I have used the welfare system as a TA senior and have got some great help in the past.
 

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