United States Department of the Interior


February 2, 1999


TO:            Bureau/Office Equal Opportunity Officers

FROM:       E. Melodee Stith, Director Office for Equal opportunity

SUBJECT:  Processing of Alternate EEO Cases

This Directive revises EOD 1997-02 and EOD 1993-08. As EOD 1997-02 advised your Office, we have again received a large number of EEO complaints from employees requesting alternate processing. Many of these cases did not present a true conflict of interest for Bureaus to process. We will continue to apply a strict interpretation of conflict of interest in determining whether the complaint will be processed by the Department. Complaints presenting a conflict of interest will typically include complaints filed directly against the Bureau Director and/or the Bureau Equal Opportunity Officer. There may be other instances where complaints are filed against other managers who are directly involved in the EEO Program; for example the Associate Director for Administration. A complaint simply naming the Bureau Director or the Bureau EO Officer will not be considered a conflict of interest. There must be a direct link between the Bureau Director or Bureau EO Officer in the matters being alleged. We will forward all complaints received in our office not presenting a conflict of interest to the appropriate Bureau for processing.

If the Bureau receives a complaint from an employee requesting alternate processing, we ask that you review the complaint to determine whether, in fact, a true conflict of interest exists. If a conflict of interest exists, it may be referred to the Department for processing. Thus it is important that the transmittal letter of a complaint from a Bureau to the Department fully state all the reasons why it would be a conflict of interest for the complaint to be processed as such. Any issues concerning the aggrieved employee's desire to have his/her complaint processed outside the Bureau, not presenting a conflict of interest, must be resolved at the Bureau level. You may make arrangements with other Bureaus, to assist in processing complaints, in cases where processing issues can not be resolved.

The alternate processing will include the Departmental-level acceptance and/or dismissal of conflict of interest cases. After the accept/dismissal it will be returned to the Bureau for investigation and issuance of the report of investigation (ROI). Please refer the request for a hearing and/or a final agency decision (FAD) as you do other cases, since the case will either go to EEOC or to the Departmental OEO for a FAD.

Distribution: Bureau and Office Equal Opportunity Officers

Inquiries: Carmen Santana, Staff Assistant, Complaints Policy, 202-208-4016

Expires: When Superseded