I was disappointed to read about SFC Nova’s case because I served two tours with the 82nd as a young officer. I served six months before going to Vietnam and returned after a year in Vietnam to serve two more years. The 82nd was challenging, demanding, and exciting. That was the early 70s at the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. I can’t say that we did not have incidents, but I think we handled them fairly well. We had a very diverse group of soldiers. The airborne appealed to many soldiers because they paid an extra $55 per month for soldiers on jump
status. I left there with 65 static line jumps and a Senior Parachutist Badge. Our biggest problem at the time was drugs.
In my e-book, Leadership for New Managers: Book Two, I wrote about harassment and tolerance of religious backgrounds. Here is what I wrote about diversity and harassment.
Leader/managers prepare themselves to work with diversity by learning about different cultures.
They also should look for subtle problems that may arise, for example the menu selections in a company cafeteria (for cultures that do not eat pork, beef, or meat), music, dress codes, religious holidays, etc. Most organizations can make accommodations.
One of the best examples of making accommodations occurs in the military prison at Ft. Leavenworth. During Ramadan, a Muslin month of fasting, Muslin prisoners who observe the custom must fast from dawn to sunset. This usually creates a problem for the kitchen to serve supper. However, by mutual agreement, the non-Muslin population waits until after sunset to be served
Leader/managers need to be aware of harassment in the workplace and should eliminate it.
Harassment can take many forms including sexual, bullying, racial, religion, age, or disability, or personal appearance. Harassment may be verbal, non-verbal, or physical. The Workplace Bullying Institute found that 37% of the US work force has been bullied at some time during their work
Failure to take action could result in a substantial lawsuit. Leader/managers are
accountable for failing to prevent or stop harassment. Leader/managers should be aware and enforce organizational polices as well as the law. Leader/managers may have a role in the investigation of harassment, prosecution of the offender, supporting the victim(s), and healing the environment.