The Marine Corps will provide equal opportunity for all military members without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age or national origin, consistent with the law, regulations and requirements for physical and mental abilities. The achievement and maintenance of this goal is integral to the full development of esprit de corps, pride and individual preparedness which are essential to combat readiness.

 GENERAL. The Commandant of the Marine Corps establishes and guides the Marine Corps EO policy. All Marines share in the responsibility to achieve a Marine Corps that is free of unlawful discrimination. The intent of the Marine Corps EO policy remains as outlined in 1972 by then Commandant Robert Cushman in a letter to all general officers and commanding officers:


I view our human relations efforts as major steps in helping the Corps to attain that environment of equal opportunity, understanding, and professionalism so vital to our future effectiveness. That environment, when combined with an open, two-way channel of communication among all Marines, will permit us to devote our total energies toward maintaining what our Nation needs and expects from us, a combat ready Corps of Marines.

DISCRIMINATION. Discrimination is the illegal treatment of a person or group based on age, color, gender, race, religion, or national origin.  Discrimination also includes persons condoning, ignoring, or failing to correct negative and hostile working environments, where one or more of the discriminatory factors mentioned above is present, during the performance of their duties. All forms of discrimination, such as racism, sexism, and religious intolerance, can occur not just through the acts of individuals, but within the systems, policies and procedures of an organization. Such unacceptable conduct, if uncorrected, will eventually poison a unit's cohesion and morale.

PREVENTION OF DISCRIMINATION. Methods to prevent discrimination and forms of harassment include:

      1. Being proactive and ensuring that all EO complaints are thoroughly investigated. Addressing incidents of discrimination as quickly as possible.  These behaviors/problems do not go away when ignored.

      2. Publicizing Marine Corps and local command EO policy. Stressing leadership accountability and emphasizing teamwork. Stating that discrimination in any form is adverse to mission accomplishment and will not be tolerated in the unit.

      3. Ensuring all Marines are aware of the avenues of filing EO complaints and actions that will be taken against personnel in substantiated cases. A capable, trusted method of communicating EO complaints strengthens our Corps against negative values and inappropriate behavior. 

      4. Setting the example by knowing what sexual harassment is and refusing to condone it. Establishing a command climate that precludes sexual harassment and is reflected at each level of the chain of command. Marines must not only refrain from sexual harassment but also actively counter and report such actions immediately. Counseling harassers when sexual harassment is viewed even if a complaint is not filed.


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