Clarifying the EEO Process in Federal Sector
During the past year, we noticed many agencies deviating from a clearly defined EEO complaint process. Some examples include:
- Requiring employees to waive access to EEO counselor and counseling to pursue ADR (mediation)
- Requiring employee to submit narrative statements concerning complaints
- Requiring, or at times “strongly suggesting” employees submit evidence during informal stage
- Requiring employees to first contact (prior to filing a complaint or contacting a bona-fide EO counselor) “collateral duty EEO contacts”; typically fellow employees (in one case, even a supervisor)
- Requiring employees to rebut statements of RMO’s (Responsible Management Officials) or agency representatives
- Using agency “Liaisons” instead of EEO Counselors or using those terms interchangeably
- Engaging in mediation that more resembles a de facto trial, even suggesting formal opening statements and evidentiary submissions
These are a few of the changes we noticed. While these changes are not “illegal” in the context of EEOC Management Directive MD-110 or the EEOC published Federal Sector Complaint Process, they represent distinct agency regulatory changes not necessarily in favor of the affected federal employee. These changes also complicate matters and cause confusion in employees. For example, one client thought she had made contact with an EEO counselor when in fact she had not. In another case, a client had to ask at least eight times what stage of the EEO complaint process he was in. An even more alarming trend are significant process differences within the same agency, same sub-agency, and even differences in the same agency simply based on geographic location (Indian Health Services and U.S. Border Patrol are good examples).
Based on the foregoing, we thought it would be a good idea to post an accurate validated flow-chart of the Federal Sector EEO Complaint Process. This is the same flow chart we send clients.
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