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Equal Opportunity Directive 2004-17

United States Department of the Interior

Office of the Secretary
Washington, D.C.  20240
May 21, 2004



To:                   Bureau Equal Opportunity Officers

From:               E. Melodee Stith, Director, Office for Equal Opportunity

Subject:            Abuse of EEO Complaint Process

By letter dated May 13, 2004, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) affirmed a Department of the Interior Final Order fully implementing an Administrative Judge's decision dismissing several cases filed by one complainant for abuse of process.

In the subject case, EEOC noted that the complainant had filed at least 43 EEO complaints alleging discrimination based on his sex, age, race and later, reprisal, when he was not selected for various positions throughout the Agency after he was dismissed in 1993 for cause. The AJ found that the complainant's allegations were mere "templates", meaning that in each complaint, the complainant abused the EEO process by making identical, nonspecific allegations regardless of the facts of the specific complaint.

Moreover, the AJ found that the complainant's requested relief in each of the instant allegations reflected intent to misuse the EEO process.  Finally, the AJ found that the complainant's request for witnesses reflected his intent to overburden the EEO process and harass the Agency.  In so finding, the AJ noted that for the instant allegations, the complainant sought to present 72 witnesses at the hearing, including the present Chair of the Commission, the former Chair of the Commission, the Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the Office of Federal Operations at the EEOC.  The AJ found that complainant's witness request and deposition notice were evidence of complainant's intent to create unnecessary expense for the Agency, while many of the witnesses had no role in complainant's nonselections.  The AJ also found that complainant intends to continue to apply for Agency positions he had no intention of accepting for the sole purpose of filing EEO complaints when he was not selected for the positions.

In summary, EEOC stated that it had the inherent power to control and prevent abuse of its orders and processes and procedures.  EEOC regulations provide for dismissal of complaints that are part of a "clear pattern of misuse of the EEO process for a purpose other than the prevention and elimination of employment discrimination."  Title 29, C.F.R. § 1614.107(a)(9).  The EEOC decision is a guide in evaluating cases where dismissal of complaints for abuse of the EEO process may be appropriate.  The decision outlines criteria that must be strictly applied when considering dismissal for abuse of process, as set forth in EEOC decisions.

Should you have any questions, please contact Melinda Hayden of my staff at (202) 208-5998 (TDD) or e-mail her at

Enclosure – EEOC Decision, Appeal No. 01A33023 (May 13, 2004)

Distribution:      All Bureau/Office Equal Opportunity Officers

Inquiries:         Melinda Hayden – (202) 208-5998 (TDD);

Expiration:        When Superseded