U.S. Department of the Interior

Office of the Secretary

Washington, D.C. 20240



EQUAL OPPORTUNITY DIRECTIVE 2003-03



To: Bureau Equal Opportunity Officers


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


Subject: Settlement Agreements


All Settlement Agreements made in connection with EEO matters must be in writing. Effective immediately, Bureaus must use the approved Departmental standard language for Settlement Agreements as provided in of the Handbook on Complaints Processing (Appendix 8, 373 DM 5). Additional guidance on settlement agreements can be found in Chapter 5.15 of the Handbook. Any deviation from the approved standard language contained in Appendix 8, must be approved by the Director, OEO, in conjunction with the Office of the Solicitor, prior to presentation to the Complainant, Counsel for the Complainant, Bureau Officials, and Union Representatives.


A Settlement Agreement cannot exceed relief that an aggrieved individual would otherwise receive in a U.S. District Court. Any Settlement Agreement that involves monetary amounts of $20,000 or over for attorney fees, related legal expenses, compensatory damages, must have prior approval from the Director, Office for Equal Opportunity, and/or the Office of the Solicitor. Please keep in mind the statutory caps on compensatory damages when drafting Settlement Agreements.



Distribution: All Bureau/Office Equal Opportunity Officers


Inquiries: Mercedes Flores, Chief of Staff, Office for Equal Opportunity, (202) 208-6120


Expiration: When superseded