United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: May 25, 2024

§ 1561.
Complaints of sexual harassment: independent investigation
(a)
Action on Complaints Alleging Sexual Harassment.—
A commanding officer or officer in charge of a unit, vessel, facility, or area of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Space Force who receives from a member of the command or a civilian employee under the supervision of the officer a formal complaint alleging a claim of sexual harassment by a member of the armed forces or a civilian employee of the Department of Defense shall, to the extent practicable, direct that an independent investigation of the matter be carried out in accordance with this section.
(b)
Commencement of Investigation.—
To the extent practicable, a commanding officer or officer in charge receiving such a formal complaint shall forward such complaint to an independent investigator within 72 hours after receipt of the complaint, and shall further—
(1)
forward the formal complaint or a detailed description of the allegation to the next superior officer in the chain of command who is authorized to convene a general court-martial; and
(2)
advise the complainant of the commencement of the investigation.
(c)
Duration of Investigation.—
To the extent practicable, a commanding officer or officer in charge shall ensure that an independent investigator receiving a formal complaint of sexual harassment under this section completes the investigation of the complaint not later than 14 days after the date on which the investigation is commenced, and that the findings of the investigation are forwarded to the commanding officer or officer in charge specified in subsection (a) for action as appropriate.
(d)
Report on Investigation.—
To the extent practicable, a commanding officer or officer in charge shall—
(1)
submit a final report on the results of the independent investigation, including any action taken as a result of the investigation, to the next superior officer referred to in subsection (b)(1) within 20 days after the date on which the investigation is commenced; or
(2)
submit a report on the progress made in completing the investigation to the next superior officer referred to in subsection (b)(1) within 20 days after the date on which the investigation is commenced and every 14 days thereafter until the investigation is completed and, upon completion of the investigation, then submit a final report on the results of the investigation, including any action taken as a result of the investigation, to that next superior officer.
(e)
Definitions.—
In this section:
(1)
The term “independent investigator” means a civilian employee of the Department of Defense or a member of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Space Force who—
(A)
is outside the immediate chain of command of the complainant and the subject of the investigation; and
(B)
is trained in the investigation of sexual harassment, as determined by—
(i)
the Secretary of Defense, in the case of a civilian employee of the Department of Defense;
(ii)
the Secretary of the Army, in the case of a member of the Army;
(iii)
the Secretary of the Navy, in the case of a member of the Navy or Marine Corps; or
(iv)
the Secretary of the Air Force, in the case of a member of the Air Force or Space Force.
(2)
The term “sexual harassment” means conduct that constitutes the offense of sexual harassment as punishable under section 934 of this title (article 134) pursuant to the regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense for purposes of such section (article).
(Added Pub. L. 105–85, div. A, title V, § 591(a)(1), Nov. 18, 1997, 111 Stat. 1760; amended Pub. L. 114–328, div. A, title V, § 548(a), Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2129; Pub. L. 116–283, div. A, title IX, § 924(b)(3)(Z), Jan. 1, 2021, 134 Stat. 3821; Pub. L. 117–81, div. A, title V, § 543(a), Dec. 27, 2021, 135 Stat. 1709; Pub. L. 117–263, div. A, title V, § 546(a), Dec. 23, 2022, 136 Stat. 2584.)
cite as: 10 USC 1561