The process for bringing a complaint of discrimination as a federal employee involves short deadlines. For example, the employee or former employee (complainant) must contact an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) counselor within 45 days of a discriminatory incident that the employee is challenging. After receipt of the Notice of Final Interview, a complainant must file a formal EEO complaint within only 15 days. The federal agency must complete its investigation within only 180 days of the EEO complaint filing.
Once the complainant receives the federal agency’s notification of the investigation’s completion, the complainant will be able to (a) request a decision or (b) request a hearing with an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) administrative judge. The complainant only has 30 days from receipt of the federal agency’s notification of the investigation’s completion to request a hearing.
After the EEOC administrative judge conducts a hearing, the administrative judge will issue his or her decision. The federal agency has 40 days to issue its Final Order regarding whether it will adopt the administrative judge’s decision or not. Once the Final Order has been issued, if the complainant is unhappy with the Final Order, he or she only has 30 days to appeal the decision to the EEOC Office of Federal Operations.
If the complainant wishes to file a lawsuit because he or she is unhappy with the EEOC Office of Federal Operations’ appeal decision, the complainant has only 90 days from the appeal decision to file a lawsuit. Alternatively, the complainant can request reconsideration of the decision within 30 days of the decision’s issuance.
For assistance regarding a federal employee complaint of discrimination, please contact us.