By Thomas Perry
DCMA Public Affairs
Defense Contract Management Agency team members can celebrate Women’s Equality Day together through an online, audio-only event Aug. 24 at 1 p.m.
All employees are welcomed to attend. Login information can be found within Equal Employment Opportunity’s digital invite, which was distributed by email.
Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. David Bassett will welcome the event’s keynote speaker: retired Army Maj. Gen. Paulette Risher.
Risher, who is the first woman to serve in Special Operations Command as a flag officer, is twice retired, once as an Air Force civilian organizational psychologist and once as an Army major general with 34 years of active and reserve service. She is currently the president/CEO of a non-profit veteran’s organization based in Huntsville, Alabama.
This year’s agency celebration comes two days before the official federal observance.
Women’s Equality Day is recognized and celebrated each year to commemorate the women’s suffrage movement in the United States, which culminated Aug. 26, 1920, when the Constitution’s 19th Amendment was ratified, prohibiting American citizens being denied the right to vote based on sex.
According to the Department of the Interior’s Office of Civil Rights, in 1971, Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY) began an effort to designate Aug. 26 Women’s Equality Day. It passed in 1973. This event represented the culmination of a massive, peaceful civil-rights movement by women, which had its formal beginnings in 1848 at the world’s first women’s rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York.
From the 1973 Joint Resolution: “Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That August 26, 1973, is designated as ‘Women's Equality Day’, and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation in commemoration of that day in 1920 on which the women of America were first guaranteed the right to vote.”
In 2020, the country celebrated the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. In a special online event, the National Archives is examining the success of last year’s centennial celebration with “The Women’s Suffrage Centennial: Impact and Legacy,” hosted Aug. 18, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
The seminar will examine the impact of the telling of suffrage history, if the celebration provided the momentum for more social action and if the stories told were important to furthering the work still needed for women's rights.
Colleen Shogan, former Vice Chair, Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, leads a discussion with panelists Karen Hill, Harriett Tubman House executive director; Page Harrington, author of “Interpreting the Legacy of Women’s Suffrage at Museums and Historic Sites;” Rebecca Roberts, co-author of “The Suffragist Playlist: Your Guide to Changing the World;” and Shannon Browning-Mullis, executive director of the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace.
Improving Employee Retention
What factors influence an employee’s decision to stay or leave DCMA? Employee retention begins during the application process when an applicant looks at an agency job announcement. It includes impressions during the interview, employee orientation, along with their assignments, performance ratings, promotions and working conditions.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides tips for managers, directors and other leaders to assist federal agencies in creating a rewarding and diverse work environment to hire and retain the best employees. Some of the tips include:
• Demonstrate leadership commitment and accountability
• Hire and train the right people
• Review agency EEO and personnel data
• Conduct employee climate surveys
To read more about ways to keep the best employees, visit the EEOC website.
A timeline to EEO complaints
If an employee believes they have been subjected to workplace discrimination, the first step is to visit the EEO team through the agency 360 page under the employee tab.
However, employees must remember to initiate the process within 45 days from the day they become aware of the discriminatory action. The assigned counselor will offer a variety of methods to resolve the issue, such as traditional EEO counseling or alternative dispute resolution.
The counselor has 30 days to resolve the complaint during traditional counseling and 90 days for ADR. If the counselor is unable to resolve the concerns during the informal process, the employee is provided a final interview and notice of right to file a formal complaint in which they will have 15 days to file a formal complaint.
After filing a formal complaint, the agency has 180 days to investigate claims accepted for investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, to receive a determination employees may request an EEOC hearing or final agency decision within 30 days of receiving the investigative report.
Personal Assistance Services
Aside from providing reasonable accommodations, federal agencies are required to provide personal assistance services to enable individuals who need assistance with activities of daily living to enter the work force. In 2017, EEOC amended regulations implementing Section 501 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act throughout the federal government to require the new assistance.
PAS differs from reasonable accommodations because it provides services that help individuals who require assistance to perform basic activities of daily living, like eating or using the restroom. The individual providing the assistance should not do job-related tasks for the employee in question.
These services can be provided by federal employees, independent contractors or a combination of the two. Current federal employees are not required to act as PAS for others if it is not part of their current job duties. Additionally, the employees requiring assistance should participate in the selection of a personal assistant, especially considering the private nature of the support provided.
Targeted disabilities refer to conditions that are considered disabilities under the Rehabilitation Act. For example, medical conditions that may require PAS include missing limbs or paralysis due to a spinal cord injury. A list of targeted abilities can be found on the Office of Personal Management’s website.
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