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Definitions and Policies


Leadership is the key to eliminating all forms of unlawful discrimination. 


Equal Opportunity is the right of all persons to participate in, and benefit from, programs and activities for which they are qualified. These programs and activities shall be free from social, personal or institutional barriers that prevent people from rising to the highest level of responsibility possible. Persons shall be evaluated on individual merit, fitness and capability; regardless of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.


Sexual Harassment is 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 to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person's job, pay, or career;
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance; or
  • Such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

The above 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 abusive.

NOTE: "Workplace" is an expansive term for military members and may include conduct on or off duty, 24 hours a day.

Sexual harassment is prohibited.  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 service member or civilian employee is engaging in sexual harassment and has failed to fulfill his or her leadership obligation.  Similarly, any Service member or civilian employee who makes deliberate or repeated unwelcome verbal comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature is also engaging in sexual harassment. 


Hazing is defined as any conduct whereby a military member(s), regardless of rank, without proper authority causes another military member(s), regardless of service or rank, to suffer or be exposed to any activity which is cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning, or harmful.

Soliciting or coercing another to perpetrate any such activity is also considered hazing. Hazing need not involve physical contact among or between military members; it can be verbal or psychological in nature. Actual or implied consent to acts of hazing does not eliminate the culpability of the perpetrator.


Personal relationships between officers and/or enlisted members that are unduly familiar and do not respect differences in rank or grade, or when prejudicial to good order and discipline, or of a nature to bring discredit on the Navy are prohibited. Prejudice to good order and discipline or discredit to the Navy may result from, but are not limited to circumstances which:

  • Call into question a senior's objectivity;
  • Result in actual or apparent preferential treatment;
  • Undermine the authority of a senior; or
  • Compromise the chain of command.
NAVY PERSONNEL COMMAND: 5720 Integrity Drive, Millington TN 38055-0000
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Last Modified: 10/16/2014 2:08 PM
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