Equal Employment Opportunity Complaint Process
It is the policy of the Department of Army (DA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) to provide equal employment opportunity for all of its employees and applicants for employment in every aspect of their employment and working conditions. Important aspects of an effective equal employment opportunity program are a vigorous affirmative action program and a discrimination processing system, which facilitates the early informal resolution of complaints raised. Below are the step in which the administrative Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) process works. Any DA or DOD employee or applicant may file complaints of discrimination for a DA or DOD job, who believes he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of:
- National Origin
- Sex (includes sexual harassment)
- Age (40 and up)
- Disability (physical and mental)
1. Pre-Compliant Process:
An Aggrieved (employee or applicant) must contact an EEO Specialist/Counselor within 45 calendar days of an alleged discriminatory action. (Names of EEO Specialist/Counselors may be obtained from bulletin boards in DA or DOD buildings, the EEO Office or from this website under the link Staff Directory.)
The EEO Specialist/Counselor will try to resolve the matter informally within 30 calendar days from the date of the initial interview with complainant. Counseling may be extended up to 60 additional days, upon agreement of complainant and the EEO Office, or if an established Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure is utilized.
3. Formal Complaint Process:
Complainant may file a written formal complaint with the EEO Office, servicing EEO Office or Agency Head, within 15 calendar days after the final interview with the EEO Counselor.
If the EEO Office accepts the complaint, an investigator will be assigned to collect all relevant information pertaining to the complaint. If portions of the complaint are dismissed, the complainant will be provided, in writing, the reason(s) for dismissal and informed of his/her right to appeal the decision.
The Office of Complaints Investigation (OCI) is required to complete the investigation with 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 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (Complainant may also request a hearing after 180 days has elapsed from the filing of the complaint, if the investigation has not bee completed.)
6. Agency Final Decision:
If complainant requests a Final Agency Decision, the Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance and Complaints Review (EEOCCR) or the applicable DOD Agency head will issue the Department's decision on the complaint. The decision, based on information in the investigation/case 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.
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.
10. EEO Process vs. Union Process:
Employees covered by bargaining agreements (e.g. the Local 1178, AFGE; Local R4-27, NAGE; or Firefighters Association) may use the union grievance procedures or the EEO complaint process as applicable.
11. Class Complaints:
The EEO Office will provide counseling in "Class" complaints. The EEO Officer will designate a Counselor for class complaints as in the informal process. The agency's headquarters EEO Office will process formal Class Complaints.
Additional information pertaining to the EEO complaint process may be obtain from the EEO Office, Building 2-1515, 135 Jackson Street, Fort Bragg, NC or call (910) 396-5214.