Equal Employment Opportunity Program

EEO Complaint Frequently Asked Questions

What is Equal Employment Opportunity?

Equal Employment Opportunity is fair treatment in employment, promotion, training, and other personnel actions without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, and physical or mental disability. To make sure that all Federal employees and applicants for employment with the Federal Government are provided this opportunity, certain laws and regulations were issued containing the legal basis for EEO programs in Federal agencies. One of the main misconceptions of EEO is that EEO is only for selected groups. EEO is for EVERYONE: it's the LAW!

What Is an EEO Complaint?

It is an allegation of discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including sexual harassment and sexual orientation), age, physical or mental handicap. The complaint may arise from a specific personnel action, such as employment, promotion, work assignment, selection for training, disciplinary action, or separation, or it may relate to prevailing conditions in an organization.

Who May File an EEO Complaint?

A complaint of discrimination may be filed by an aggrieved applicant or any employee or group of employees. The aggrieved individual has the right to be represented at all stages of the process.

What Do I do if I Have A Complaint?

If you feel that you have been discriminated against, as described above, first get all the facts on the matter to make sure there has been no misunderstanding. Feel free to speak with your supervisor, administrative officer or personnel representative.

If you are still dissatisfied and wish to utilize the EEO complaint system, you must bring the matter to the attention of an EEO counselor within 45 calendar days of the occurrence of the alleged discriminatory act or effective date of the personnel action alleged to be discriminatory.

How Can the Counselor Help Me?

The counselor will listen to your problem, and advise you of your rights under the EEO complaint system. You will also be advised of the option to utilize RESOLVE, NARA's alternative dispute resolution process. The counselor will make inquiry into the matter, if you wish, by discussing the problem with your supervisor, associates, personnel representative, etc. and will attempt to resolve the problem informally, acting always with your approval.