United States Department of the Interior


December 29, 1998

Equal Opportunity Directive 1999-04

To: Bureau and Office Equal Opportunity Officers

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

Subject: Procedures for Processing Complaints of Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation

At our Equal Opportunity Managers meeting on December 3, 1993, you were given the new Departmental Manual Chapter for processing complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Please read the manual chapter very carefully and note the specific similarities and differences between this process and the Federal EEO Complaints Process. This also updates some forms in EOD 1998-08 "EEO Counseling Sector Form and Other Sample Forms" to include sexual orientation.

In the implementation of the new process for sexual orientation, we will carry out the same actions, as close as possible and within the legal and regulatory limits, as we do with the Federal Sector EEO Complaints Process. For example, you will need to distribute the new process to all employees, post the process on employee bulletin boards, and communicate the policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to employees and applicants for employment. Copies of the brochure "Procedures for Complaints of Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation" are available for purchase upon request.

In addition, standard documents will need to be amended or created to address the sexual orientation processing requirements; for example, the standard letter explaining the employee's rights and responsibilities, the Notice of Final Interview and Right to File, the election notice issued with the report of investigation, and other Bureau documents that may apply.

Attached for your convenience is a sample EEO counseling report form and other standard forms which have been amended (Attachment 1). Additionally, per your request, we have E-mailed this EOD with all the attachments to your Office for your use and distribution. Following is a list of the forms included and their file name:

We anticipate that other sample forms will be developed or modified. Therefore, comments, suggested revisions, or recommended sample forms can be directed to the:

Assistant Director, Complaints Processing and Adjudication

Office for Equal Opportunity

U.S. Department of the Interior

1849 C. Street, N.W., MS-4309

Washington, D.C. 20240

As you begin to receive complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation, we request that you develop a case docketing system to identify individual complaints. Complaints involving both the Federal Sector EEO complaints and sexual orientation complaints may carry two different docket numbers. Like the Federal Sector complaints, the docket number for sexual orientation cases should be numerical by fiscal year: for example, OS-99-DM-01. All complaints should be reported on the Bureau's Monthly Status Report.

Our Office will be offering training to EO Specialists in the near future. In the meantime, should you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Carmen J. Santana.

Distribution: Bureau and Office EO Officers

Inquiries: Carmen J. Santana, (202) 208-4016

Expiration: When superseded.