You may file an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint if you believe you have been discriminated against on one or more of the following bases: race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, or reprisal for protected EEO activity. The general procedures are outlined below.
A U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) employee, former employee, or applicant for employment may file an EEO complaint.
Visitors, employees, and clients of organizations outside DOI that receive Federal funding from DOI may file a complaint through the Public Civil Rights complaint process, which is wholly distinct from the EEO complaint process.
You must begin the EEO complaint process by contacting an EEO Counselor within 45 calendar days of the date of the incident that gave rise to your complaint or, if it's a personnel action, within 45 calendar days of its effective date.
The role of the EEO Counselor is to:
You have the right to be represented at any stage of the process of your complaint, including the informal stage. As a general rule, you may select any person to represent you, including an attorney. You and your representative, if an employee of DOI, are entitled to a reasonable amount of official time in preparing and presenting your complaint.
Your EEO Counselor has 30 calendar days from when you report your allegation to attempt an informal resolution of the matter. The 30-day period for EEO counseling may be extended up to an additional 60 calendar days if you agree, in writing, to such as extension.
You may wish to pursue an informal solution through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. The EEO Counselor will discuss this option with you. The goal of the EEO Counselor is to facilitate an informal resolution of the matter between the parties when possible. A trained mediator from either inside or outside DOI may be assigned to mediate your claim. The mediator is a neutral, objective, and impartial problem solver who will be able to assist you and management in joint problem solving. If you agree to participate in ADR, the informal stage will last a maximum of 90 calendar days. If your claim is not resolved during the informal stage or during ADR, you will be provided, in writing, with a Notice of Final Interview (NOFI) and Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint of Discrimination (NRTF) against DOI.
You have 15 calendar days from the date of your receipt of the NOFI and NRTF to submit your formal complaint in writing.
It is important to know that if you do not file your formal complaint within the 15-day time limit, DOI can dismiss your complaint.
Your formal complaint must be specific and must be limited to the matters discussed with the EEO Counselor during the informal stage. The formal complaint should be filed by you or your representative, using DOI Form DI-1892, and mailed or hand-delivered to:
The DI-1892 form may be obtained from the Bureau/Office EEO Office.
Once the Bureau/Office accepts your formal complaint, it will be investigated by an impartial investigator.
The investigation will encompass all the information relevant to the accepted allegations and may, when appropriate, include comparative data on other individuals who were similarly situated. The investigation may be conducted by verbatim statements, interrogatories, or by other forms of fact finding. During the investigation, you will have an opportunity to present all the facts that you believe show unlawful discrimination.
DOI has 180 calendar days from the date you filed your complaint to complete the investigation and provide you with the Report of Investigation (ROI). Extensions may be necessary to complete the investigation.
You have 30 calendar days from your receipt of the ROI to elect for either a Final Agency Decision (FAD) by DOI or a hearing before an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Administrative Judge.
Final Agency Decision
If you request a FAD, the Office of Civil Rights (a neutral division within DOI) will issue a written FAD on your complaint within 60 calendar days after DOI's receipt of your notice of election for a FAD.
If your complaint involves a matter appealable to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), you will be issued a written FAD, without a hearing, by the Office of Civil Rights on the claim(s) appealable to the MSPB within 45 calendar days from the date of completion of the ROI.
The FAD will include an analysis on the merits of each claim accepted in your complaint or a decision to dismiss some or all of your claims. If a finding of discrimination is made, the FAD will also identify the corrective action to which you are entitled.
If you request a hearing before an EEOC Administrative Judge, you will be allowed to present witnesses and evidence on your behalf to an Administrative Judge. The Administrative Judge will issue a decision on your complaint that will be subject to a final order by the Office of Civil Rights Director.
Your request for a hearing must be sent directly to:
Once you have elected a hearing, the EEOC Administrative Judge will have full and complete authority over your complaint.
The Administrative Judge will issue a decision on your complaint which will become the final action of DOI unless DOI appeals the Administrative Judge's decision.
If you are dissatisfied with the FAD or the EEOC Administrative Judge's decision, you may, within 30 calendar days of your receipt of the FAD or final order after a hearing decision, submit an appeal to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Federal Operations via:
You must also send a copy of the appeal to:
In lieu of an appeal to the EEOC, you may, within 90 calendar days of your receipt of the FAD or final order after a hearing decision, file a civil action in the appropriate United States District Court. Also, you may file a civil action 180 calendar days after you filed your individual complaint if a FAD has not been issued and you have not appealed to EEOC.
If you file an appeal with the EEOC and are not satisfied with the EEOC's decision, you may file a civil action in the appropriate United States District Court within 90 calendar days of your receipt of the EEOC's decision or after 180 days from the date you filed the appeal if there has been no decision by the EEOC.
The EEO complaint process for federal employees and applicants for employment is governed by regulations issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 29 C.F.R. § 1614.