Understanding the EEO Complaints Process

If you’re a federal employee who has experienced discrimination or harassment in the workplace, you need experienced attorneys to help you navigate the complexities of the EEO complaints process and protect your rights.

The federal employment law team at the Federal Practice Group has extensive experience in EEO complaints and the processes involved.

We work hard to achieve favorable outcomes for our federal employee clients, whether through a negotiated settlement agreement or victory at the EEOC following a hearing before an Administrative Judge.

Steps in the EEO Complaints Process

The EEO complaint process, detailed below, isn’t the most straightforward.

Our team of federal employment attorneys will help you navigate every step of the process to get the outcome you deserve.

1. Contact an EEO Counselor: To start the informal process, the employee must contact an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) counselor within your agency within 45 days of the discriminatory action and state that you wish to file an informal EEO complaint.

2. Elect EEO Counseling or Mediation/ADR: At the informal complaint stage, a federal employee can elect to participate in either mediation (often referred to as alternative dispute resolution (ADR)) or EEO counseling. The attorneys at The Federal Practice Group can assist you with filing your informal complaint and deciding whether to elect mediation or EEO counseling and then represent you during either process.

3. Formal Complaint Process: If the case remains unresolved at the informal stage, the EEO counselor will issue a Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint of Discrimination. You will then have 15 days to file the formal complaint. The attorneys at the Federal Practice Group can assist you with filing your formal complaint and ensure it is accepted for investigation.

4. Agency Investigation: After you file a formal complaint of discrimination, the agency has 180 days to investigate. The FPG attorneys will assist you during this process to ensure your complaint is fully and fairly investigated.

5. Hearing before the EEOC: Once the investigation is complete, the agency will issue a Report of Investigation (ROI) to you along with a Notice of Right to Request a Hearing before the EEOC. You will have 30 days to request a hearing before the EEOC. Once your complaint is before the EEOC, we will represent you through every step, including discovery and the hearing.

6. OFO Appeals: The EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) reviews federal sector discrimination complaints appeals, which can be filed by either the agency or the complainant. You should seek legal representation if pursuing or defending an appeal.

Why You Need an Experienced EEO Attorney

Discrimination and harassment can significantly negatively impact an individual’s life and ability to function in the work environment. They can also adversely affect one’s career trajectory and even retirement plans. The attorneys at the Federal Practice Group can assist you in obtaining the relief you deserve due to your federal agency’s violation of an anti-discrimination statute.

The relief available through the EEO complaint process available to federal employees may, depending on your particular claim, include the following: 

  • Corrective actions, such as reversal of disciplinary records and removal of any evidence from your Official Personnel File (OPF) 
  • Equitable relief, such as a reassignment or change in duties 
  • Back pay and benefits, such as in the case of discriminatory non-selections or non-promotions 
  • Compensatory damages for pain and suffering, harm to your reputation, and out-of-pocket expenses caused by discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and retaliation/reprisal 
  • Reimbursement of attorney’s fees and costs

A battle against the federal government is not easy, but it can be necessary if you are facing discrimination or harassment at work.
Our lawyers will assist you throughout every step of the EEO complaint process and will work hard to resolve your complaint so that you can move on with your life and career. 

Contact us today.

What Makes Us Different

From EEO complaints to adverse actions, our experienced federal employment attorneys ensure your entitlement to due process and legal representation every step of the way.

Represent government employees at all federal agencies, nationwide and overseas

Highly-skilled MSPB appeals attorneys with a proven track record

Notable success in EEO complaints and appeals

Frequently Asked Questions

Federal employees are protected from discrimination based on sex, gender, color, race, national origin, religion, age, and disability, and have the right to file an EEO complaint against their agency should they face discrimination. Federal employees also have the right to due process before being subjected to an adverse action  

Yes, federal employees can sue for discrimination, but first you must exhaust administrative remedies, which includes filing a formal complaint with your agency and letting 180 days pass. In many instances, federal employees elect to pursue their EEO complaints through the EEOC’s hearing process instead of filing a civil action. 

Federal employees must initiate contact with an EEO Counselor within 45 days of any act of discrimination. After an informal complaint stage, you will be issued a Notice of Right to File a formal complaint, which will permit you 15 days to do so.  

Federal employees do not have the right to sue for wrongful termination the way private sector employees do, but most federal employees have the right to appeal a removal to the MSPB, which will adjudicate whether the Agency can sustain any charges raised against you.  

Yes, most federal employees can file a complaint against their agency with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) if they are facing whistleblower retaliation. If OSC does not accept your complaint for investigation and prosecution, OSC will issue you an Individual Right of Action (IRA) notice giving you the right to pursue corrective action at the MSPB. Federal employees do not have the right to sue in court under the Whistleblower Protection Act.

Speak with Our EEO Complaints Process Attorneys today