Employment Complaints and Adjudication Division

You may file an EEO Complaint if you believe you may have been discriminated against on one or more of the following bases: race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity national origin, age, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation and/or reprisal for participation in protected EEO activity. The general procedures are outlined below.

This is a flowchart of the Federal EEO Discrimination Complaint Process, pursuant to 29 C.F.R. 1614.  It covers the bases of age, color, disability, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and reprisal.  The sections are further described in detail on our page.  If you have any questions or need specific information regarding the process, please contact the Employment Complaints and Adjudication Division at 202-208-5693.

Who can file?

An employee, former employee, or an applicant for employment with DOI who meets the threshold above may file an EEO Complaint. However, visitors, employees and clients of organizations outside DOI which receive Federal funding from DOI should go through Public Civil Rights.

First, see a counselor.

You must discuss the alleged discriminatory matter with an EEO Counselor within 45 days of the date of the incident that gave rise to your complaint. You may wish to pursue an informal solution through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. The EEO Counselor will discuss this option with you.

How to File

Informal

If the attempts to informally resolve your complaint by the EEO Counselor have been unsuccessful, you will be provided, in writing, with a notice of final interview (NOFI) and your right to file a formal complaint of discrimination against the agency.

You must contact the EEO Counselor within 45 calendar days of the date of the incident that gave rise to your complaint or, if it is a personnel action, within 45 calendar days of its effective date.

The Counselor has 30 calendar days from the time you report your problem to attempt an informal resolution of the matter. The 30-day period for EEO counseling may be extended up to an additional 60 days if you agree in writing to such an extension.

If you agree to participate in the ADR Program, the pre-complaint processing period will be 90 days.

If, at the end of this time (including any extension), the problem is not resolved, you will be advised, in writing, of your right to file a formal complaint as specified in the "The Formal Complaint" section below.

You have the right to be represented at any stage of the process in presenting your complaint, including the counseling stage. As a general rule, you may select any person to represent you (although there are certain limitations in terms of conflict of interest and in terms of an award to attorney's fees).

Formal

You have 15 calendar days from the date of receipt of the NOFI to submit your formal complaint in writing to your Bureau EEO Officer or the Director of the Office of Civil Rights.

Investigation

The investigation will encompass all the information relevant to the accepted allegations and may, when appropriate, include comparative data on other individuals who were similarly situated. The investigation may be conducted by verbatim statements, interrogatories, position papers, or by other forms of fact finding. During the investigation, you will have an opportunity to present all the facts which you believe show unlawful discrimination.

The agency has 180 calendar days from the date you filed your complaint to complete the investigation and provide you with the Report of Investigation (ROI). Extensions may be necessary to complete the investigation. You have 30 days from receipt of the ROI to select a Final Agency Decision (FAD) by the agency, or a hearing by an EEOC administrative judge.

Hearing

If you request a hearing before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you will be allowed to present witnesses and evidence on your behalf to an Administrative Judge. The Administrative Judge will issue a decision on your complaint that will be subject to a final order by the Director of the Office of Civil Rights.

Final Agency Decision or Final Order

The Office of Civil Rights will issue a final decision on your complaint within 60 calendar days from the date of your receipt of the EEOC Administrative Judge's decision, or within 60 days after receipt of your notice of election for a final decision on the merits.  If your complaint involves a matter appealable to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), you will be issued a decision on the merits of your case, without a hearing, by the Director of the Office of Civil Rights, within 45 calendar days from the date of completion of the ROI.

Appeal

You may appeal the agency decision to the EEOC within 30 calendar days of your receipt of the final agency decision or final order. Appeal the decision to the Director, Office of Federal Operations, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, P.O. Box 19848, Washington, DC 20036.

Civil Action

In lieu of an appeal with the EEOC, you may, within 90 calendar days of the date of your receipt of the final decision or final order, file a civil action in an appropriate United States District Court. Also, you may file a civil action 180 calendar days after you filed your individual complaint if a final decision has not been issued and you have not appealed to EEOC.

If you do file an appeal with the EEOC or are not satisfied with the EEOC's decision, you may file a civil action in an appropriate United States District Court within 90 calendar days of receipt of the Commission's final decision or after 180 days from the date you filed the appeal if there has been no final decision by the Commission.

Authorities

The newly revised EEO complaint process for federal employees and applicants for employment is governed by regulations issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at 29 C.F.R. § 1614.

Further Information