United States Department of the Interior

Office of the Secretary

Washington, D.C. 20240

December 19, 2002


To: Bureau Equal Opportunity Officers

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

Subject: Retention of Records

EEOC recently issued a finding of an adverse inference in a Department of the Interior EEO case in which Agency officials failed to retain records relevant to the EEO complaint.

Federal regulations require a Federal Agency to maintain all records relevant to an EEO complaint until after final resolution of that complaint. See GSA Federal Property Management Regulations, 101.11.4, General Records Schedule I, Item 26. The EEOC's regulations at 29 C.F.R. 1602.14(a) also make clear that the Agency must maintain all pertinent information relevant to an EEO complaint.

In the instant case, the Administrative Judge was not persuaded by the argument that the adverse inference should not be imposed because personnel officials were not aware of the complaint when the records were destroyed. The Administrative Judge found that the Complainant was affected by the destruction of the records, and, because the records no longer existed, the Complainant was denied a full and fair opportunity to demonstrate that the Agency's reasons for not filling the position was retaliatory.

Effective immediately, all bureaus and offices are to notify all offices with a "need to know" of their responsibilities to retain all records that are pertinent to an EEO complaint. We have provided you with a form notification letter to be used to inform offices that records must be retained until the resolution or disposition of an EEO complaint.

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

Expiration: When superseded

Form Letter