EEO Complaint Process

Steps In Individual Complaints Of Discrimination

Steps In Individual Complaints Of Discrimination

Complaint Process (Text)

  1. Filing: Complainant (employee or applicant) must contact an EEO Counselor within 45 calendar days of an alleged discriminatory action. The EEO Office must be contacted to get a counselor. The aggrieved may chose Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR is Mediation or Traditional Counseling).


  2. Traditional Counseling vs. ADR: The EEO Counselor will try to resolve the matter informally within 30 calendar days from the date of the initial interview with complainant. There is a 90 day timeframe if Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure is utilized.


  3. Formal Complaint Process Filing: Complainant may file a written formal complaint with the EEO office, servicing EEO office or Agency Head, within 15 calendar days after receipt of the Notice of Right to File.


  4. Acceptance / Dismissal: If the complaint is accepted by the EEO Officer, an investigator will be assigned to collect all relevant information pertaining to the complaint. If the complaint is dismissed, the complainant/representative will be provided, in writing, the reason(s) for dismissal and informed of his/her right to appeal the decision. If the complaint is partially dismissed, the complainant/representative will be informed in writing of the rational for the partial dismissal and informed that the partially dismissed claims are not appealable until final action is issued on the remainder of the complaint but may be reviewed by an administrative judge, if the complainant requests a hearing on the accepted claims.


  5. Investigation: The IRD (Investigations and Resolution Division) is required to complete the investigation within 180 days from the filing of the formal complaint, with a possible extension of 90 additional days, upon mutual agreement. After the investigation, complainant may request a Final Agency Decision or a hearing by EEOC. (Complainant may also request a hearing after 180 days has elapsed from the filing of the complaint, if the investigation has not been completed.)


  6. Agency Final Decision: If complainant requests a Final Agency Decision, the DA Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance and Complaints Review Agency (EEOCCR) or the applicable DOD Agency head will issue the Department’s decision on the complaint. The decision, based on information in the investigative file, is issued within 60 days.


  7. EEOC Hearing: If complainant requests a hearing by EEOC, an EEOC Administrative Judge (AJ) conducts a hearing and submits his/her findings and conclusions, within 180 days of the request. If the agency does not issue a final order within 40 days of receipt of the AJ’s decision, the AJ's decision shall become the final action of the agency.


  8. Appeals: Complainant, if dissatisfied with the Agency’s Final Decision, may appeal to EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) or file a civil action in a U.S. District Court.


  9. Right to file a civil action: Complainant, if dissatisfied with OFO’s decision, may request reopening and reconsideration by EEOC or may file a civil action in a U.S. District Court. Complainants who raise a claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act may bypass the administrative process by filing a notice of intent to sue with EEOC at least 30 days before filing a civil action in court.