Facts About Federal Sector Equal Employment Opportunity Complaint Processing Regulations

Part 1614 of the federal sector equal employment opportunity complaint processing regulations replaces part 1613, with the objective of promoting greater administrative fairness in the investigation and consideration of federal sector EEO complaints by creating a process that is quicker and more efficient.

Statutes Covered by 1614 Regulations

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate in employment based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 makes it illegal to discriminate against federal employees and applicants for employment based on disability. Federal agencies are required to make reasonable accommodations to the known physical and mental limitations of qualified employees or applicants with disabilities. Section 501 also requires affirmative action for hiring, placement and promotion of qualified individuals with disabilities.

The Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of sex in the payment of wages where substantially equal work is performed under similar working conditions.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects people 40 years of age and older by prohibiting age discrimination in hiring, discharge, pay, promotions and other terms and conditions of employment.

Retaliation/Reprisal

A person who files a complaint or charge, participates in an investigation or charge, or opposes an employment practice made illegal by any of the above statutes is protected from retaliation.

Filing a Complaint with a Federal Agency

The first step for an employee or applicant who feels he or she has been discriminated against by a federal agency is to contact an equal employment opportunity counselor at the agency where the alleged discrimination took place within 45 days of the discriminatory action. Ordinarily, counseling must be completed within 30 days. The aggrieved individual may then file a complaint with that agency.

The agency must acknowledge or reject the complaint and if it does not dismiss it, the agency must, within 180 days, conduct a complete and fair investigation.

If the complaint is one that does not contain issues that are appealable to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), at the conclusion of the investigation, the complainant may request either a hearing by an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) administrative judge (AJ) or an immediate final decision by the employing agency.

The AJ must process the request for a hearing, issue findings of fact and conclusions of law, and order an appropriate remedy within 180 days.

After the final decision of the agency, the complainant may appeal to the Commission within 30 days or may file in U.S. District Court within 90 days. Either party may request reconsideration by the Commission. The complainant may seek judicial review.

Filing an Appeal with the EEOC

If the agency dismisses all or part of a complaint, a dissatisfied complainant may file an expedited appeal, within 30 days of notice of the dismissal, with the EEOC. The EEOC may determine that the dismissal was improper, reverse the dismissal, and remand the matter back to the agency for completion of the investigation.

A complainant may also appeal a final agency decision to the EEOC within 30 days of notice of the decision. The EEOC will examine the record and issue decisions.

If the complaint is on a matter that is appealable to the Merit Systems Protection Board (e.g., a mixed case such as a termination of a career employee), the complainant may appeal the final agency decision to the MSPB within 20 days of receipt or go to U.S. District Court within 30 days. The complainant may petition the EEOC for review of the MSPB decision concerning the claim of discrimination.

Remedies

The EEOC’s policy is to seek full and effective relief for each and every victim of discrimination. These remedies may include:
• posting a notice to all employees advising them of their rights under the laws EEOC enforces and their right to be free from retaliation
• corrective or preventive actions taken to cure or correct the source of the identified discrimination
• nondiscriminatory placement in the position the victim would have occupied if the discrimination had not occurred
• compensatory damages
• back pay (with interest where applicable), lost benefits
• stopping the specific discriminatory practices involved
• recovery of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

Text of the Laws Enforced by the EEOC (pdf):

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (pdf)
Equal Pay Act of 1963 (pdf)
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) (pdf)
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Sections 501 and 505 (pdf)
Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
Civil Rights Act of 1991 (pdf)