General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand for Equal Opportunity Violations: Locally Filed.
A female Army Captain received a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand (GOMOR) alleging that she discriminated against a Senior Noncommissioned Officer on the bases of race and color; (2) failed to treat him with respect by ignoring him, failing to return a salute and making inappropriate facial expressions; and (3) retaliated against him for filing an EEO complaint against her. The GOMOR followed a staff ride that the female Officer participated in with her company commander, a male Army Captain, and a male Sergeant First Class. The female Captain was new to the unit and rode with the two men to attend training in a neighboring state.
Along the ride, the female Captain and NCO had a verbal conflict. She alleged that he repeatedly used profanities, was rude and obnoxious, particularly in public, and made sexually inappropriate and discriminatory remarks about women in her presence. The female Officer allegedly attempted to verbally correct him in a professional manner multiple times, but the NCO persisted in his conduct. The male Captain and Commander with them failed to act or react to both the NCO’s commentary or the female Captain’s responses. In any event, at one point the female Officer, who is African American, verbally attacked the NCO, who is also African American. She told him that as a black male, she expected more professionalism, respect, and dignity from him than the behavior he had displayed on the road trip.
At some point after the road trip and training, the NCO filed an equal opportunity complaint against the female Officer. This complaint resulted in an investigation that substantiated the NCO’s claims of discrimination, disrespect and retaliation. The investigation yielded no evidence of wrongdoing or misconduct by the NCO. As a result, the Command took adverse administrative action in the form of a written reprimand.
Once the female Captain received her GOMOR, she retained Civilian Military Attorney John L. Calcagni III to aid her with formulating a response. To do so, Attorney Calcagni conducted his own investigation and learned of evidence that proved the female Captain had timely reported the NCO’s conduct in the vehicle during the staff ride, her unsuccessful professional attempts to correct him, the Company Commander’s failure to act, and the emotional impact all of this had on the female Captain during the lengthy road trip. This evidence was in the form of contemporaneous text messages the female Officer exchanged with one of her peers not present that day.
She also called this friend during each rest stop the three took during the trip. Attorney Calcagni also developed sufficient evidence and argument to show that the male Captain and male NCO colluded to perfect their versions of events to outnumber the female Captain. He also showed that the NCO filed his equal opportunity complaint to preempt the female’s anticipated sexual harassment complaint against him. Based on these facts, clearly missed by the initial investigation, combined with the Captain’s infraction-free career of 35 years and refresher EO training, the Command granted her request to file the GOMOR locally opposed to her Official Military Personnel File.