SECNAVINST 5300.26C (Department of the Navy Policy on Sexual Harrassment) and OPNAVINST 5354.1E (Navy Equal Opportunity Policy) define sexual harrassment as a form of sex discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person's job, pay, or career or quid pro quo harrassment.
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person is used as a basis for career or employment decisions affecting that person, or quid pro quo harrassment.
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
This definition emphasizes that workplace conduct, to be actionable as "abusive work environment" harassment, need not result in concrete psychological harm to the victim, but rather need only be so severe or pervasive that a reasonable person would perceive, and the victim does perceive, the work environment as hostile or offensive. ("Workplace" is an expansive term for Sailors and may include conduct on and off duty, 24 hours a day). Any person in a supervisory or command position who uses or condones any form of sexual behavior to control, influence, or affect the career, pay, or job of a Sailor or civilian employee is engaging in sexual harassment. Similarly, any Sailor or civilian employee who makes deliberate or repeated unwelcome verbal comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature in the workplace is also engaging in sexual harassment.
The preferred method of filing a complaint is by submitting a NAVPERS 5354/2, Navy Sexual Harrassment (SH) Formal Complaint Form. Action that commanders are required to take upon receiving a sexual harrassment complaint (10 USC 1561) include:
- Consult with local Staff Judge Advocate Office.
- Forward the complaint to the General Court Martial Covening Authority within 72 hours.
- Advise the person that submitted the complaint that an investigation has been initiated.
- Identify available support, counseling and refferall services are available for all personnel involved in the incident.
- Ensure that the investigation is completed within 14 days of its inception.
Resources for Sexually Harassed/Stalking Victims
- Department of the Navy sponsored sexual harassment and counseling hotline: (800) 253-0931; DSN 882-2507; Commercial (901) 874-2507.
- SECNAVINST 5300.26c
- OPNAVINST 5354.1E
- The Base Legal Office can also assist victims.