CHAIN OF COMMAND
The chain of command is the primary and preferred channel for resolving alleged violations of prohibited activities and conduct at the lowest appropriate level. The parties to any alleged unprofessional conduct or interpersonal conflict are encouraged to attempt to resolve the matter whenever possible through informal resolution and effective communication. Avenues individuals may use to report alleged file a complaint alleging violations of prohibited activities and conduct include but are not limited to; the chain of command, Equal Opportunity Advisor/Military Equal Opportunity (EOA/MEO) Office, Inspector General of the Marine Corps (IGMC), or Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG).
MEO offices, and the EOAs assigned to them, will execute the processing requirements in accordance with this Order and report all actions in the DASH system. EOAs will work closely with commands to ensure all complaints are processed in accordance with this Order.
Complaints may include a claim or assertion alleging prohibited activities and conduct as defined in this MCO 5354.1E. A complaint may be submitted orally or in writing to the commanding officer or other person in charge of the organization (e.g., commander or head of the vessel, agency or organization), or to the person the commanding officer has designated to receive such complaints. The complainant’s identity may not be apparent. Complaints may also include allegations reported to lower-level supervisors and leaders, who may immediately address the complaint, but must subsequently inform an O-5 or more senior commander of the complaint for reporting in accordance with this Manual.
WHO MAY FILE A COMPLAINT
All uniformed Service Members, DoD civilian employees, and any other individual who observes, or has personal knowledge of, prohibited activities and conduct occurring in or with a nexus to the Marine Corps workspace, are encouraged to identify and report such under this Order, to the extent required by law. However, these individuals will not be deemed an aggrieved party (i.e., a complainant) able to seek redress under this Order. A complainant is an aggrieved Sailor or Marine who makes a claim, assertion, or report alleging prohibited activities and conduct in or with a nexus to the Marine Corps workplace.
INITIATING A REPORT OF PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES AND CONDUCT
There are several avenues to report or initiate a complaint alleging prohibited activities and conduct. The most effective avenue of initiating a report complaint will depend upon the circumstances surrounding the situation and personnel involved. The individual making the report filing the complaint, or reporter, shall determine which avenue to use. Reports may be initiated in writing or verbally. All such communications are protected communications. Protected communications are not the same as privileged communications.
AVENUES TO REPORT
Chain of Command
Supervisors and leaders receiving a complaint of prohibited activities and conduct within the chain of command shall submit the complaint immediately to the commander. Commanders will ensure all complaints alleging prohibited activities and conduct are provided to their supporting EOA/MEO Office for appropriate Intake Interviews and required DASH reporting in accordance with MCO 5354.1E.
Communications with the EOA or MEO Office
Reporters may initiate complaints with their command EOA or servicing MEO Office: in person, via phone, email, or written correspondence.
Communication with Command EOR
Command EORs are Marines assigned at the battalion and squadron level and can assist in the reporting process. They are screened and selected by the commander for this collateral duty. EORs serve as the command liaison with the supporting EOA/MEO Office.
Inspector General of the Marine Corps (IGMC) HOTLINE
The IGMC has overall responsibility for ensuring only qualified investigators with specialized training conduct reprisal and restriction investigations. It is the IGMC’s responsibility to ensure full implementation of, and compliance with 10 U.S.C. § 1034, DoD Directive 7050.06, SECNAVINST 5300.26D, and DoD Directive 5505.06. All complaints alleging reprisal or restriction will be governed by the previously listed references and not MCO 5354.1E. Additionally, per reference DoD Directive 5505.06 and SECNAVINST 5800.12B, all allegations against a Senior Official (defined as O-7 (select) and above, current or former members of the Senior Executive Service (SES)/equivalent, current or former civilian Presidential appointee) will be forwarded to the IGMC for appropriate action. The IGMC Hotline ensures individuals who, in good faith, engage in protected communication and activity are protected from reprisal or retaliation. Individuals who believe they have been the victim of reprisal or retaliation can make a complaint of such reprisal or retaliation to the Inspector General of the Marine Corps or the Department of Defense Inspector General. http://www.hqmc.marines.mil/igmc/Resources/Submit-a-Complaint-/
Marine Corps personnel can file an anonymous report alleging prohibited activities and conduct. Anonymous reports may be communicated by several means, including but not limited to organizational hotlines or advice lines, electronic mail, or official telephone lines. The individual reporting the information is not required to divulge any personally identifiable information. Information alleging prohibited activities and conduct received by the commanding officer or other persons in charge of an organization, regardless of the means of transmission, from an unknown/unidentified source will be processed in accordance with MCO 5354.1E.
National Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) WEB & APP TIP LINE
The NCIS WEB & APP Tip Line is a partnership between NCIS and the military community and provides uniformed Service members and civilians a safe, discreet, and anonymous option to report criminal and force protection threats within the USN and USMC without concerns of retaliation. http://www.ncis.navy.mil/ContactUs/Pages/ReportaCrime.aspx
EO Advice Line
Marine Corps personnel can call the EO Advice Line (844) 818-1674 or contact their servicing EOA for more information on how and where to file a report and what kinds of behaviors violate this policy.
COMPLAINTS INVOLVING PERSONNEL IN MULTIPLE COMMANDS
Commanders without administrative control of the subject, or person who allegedly committed prohibited activities and conduct will forward a detailed description of any report received to the subject’s commander via the supporting MEO office. If unsure, commanders should consult with their EOA and SJA to determine the appropriate command with the responsibility to process, report, and potentially investigate a complaint alleging prohibited activities and conduct. The commander with administrative control of the subject is responsible for the DASH reporting in accordance with this Order.
COMPLAINTS AGAINST COMMANDERS
If a commander is the subject of an alleged complaint of prohibited activities and conduct, the complaint will be processed by the first GCMCA in the chain of command. A complaint against a commander will be immediately forwarded to the first GCMCA in the chain of command.
TIME LIMITS FOR FILING A COMPLAINT
Complaints of prohibited activities and conduct should be filed within 60 calendar days of the offending incident; or, in the case of a series of incidents, within 60 calendar days from the most recent incident. In the case of complaints filed by an inactive Reservist or in which an inactive Reservist is the subject of the complaint (i.e. a “Reserve complaint”), complaints should be filed within 120 calendar days of the offending incident. Late reporting may impact the command’s ability to gather evidence, and may affect the investigation. However, commanders will ensure all complaints alleging prohibited activities and conduct are provided to their supporting EOA/MEO Office and documented in the DASH reporting system via a DASH report. If a commander determines that an investigation cannot be undertaken due to the lateness of the report, a written statement with justification for the commander’s decision will be provided to the supporting EOA/MEO Office for inclusion in the DASH report.