HHS STATEMENT OF THE REVISED RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF AGGRIEVED PERSONS
IN THE EEO COMPLAINT PROCESS
November 9, 1999, marked the effective date of the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission's (EEOC) revised regulations governing the processing of complaints
of employment discrimination by current and former federal employees and applicants.
[Agencies were required to establish or make available an Alternative Dispute
Resolution (ADR) program effective January 1, 2000.] The Department of Health
and Human Services (DHHS) Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Complaint Process
covers individual and class complaints of discrimination based on race, color,
national origin, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, age (40 years
of age and older), and reprisal for previous EEO activity.
* A disabled person is defined as one who has a physical or mental impairment
which substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record
of impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.
You have the right to:
- Anonymity in the counseling phase of the complaint process unless waived.
You relinquish this right if you file a formal complaint. Anonymity should
be requested from the EEO counselor, if desired.
- A representative of your choice at any stage in processing the complaint,
provided the choice of a representative does not involve a conflict of interest
and/or position, or unreasonably impact on the work of the Agency. You must
immediately inform the Agency and/or the EEOC in writing of such representation
(i.e.: name, address, phone number), or any change in representation.
- Choose between EEO counseling and ADR. Unless you agree in writing to extend
the 30 day time frame for counseling, or choose ADR, you will receive a termination
notice with instructions on how to file a formal EEO complaint. In either
case, the maximum processing time frame is 90 days.
- Receive a written acknowledgment of receipt from the agency after filing
a formal EEO complaint or an amendment to a complaint.
- Amend a formal complaint with issues that are "like or related"
to the original complaint, prior to the conclusion of the investigation, or,
after requesting a hearing, without the need for additional counseling.
- Receive a copy of the Report of Investigation (ROI) within either 180 days
after the original complaint filing date/the last amendment filing date/the
last consolidated complaint filing date, or, 360 days from the original filing
date, whichever comes first. If you elect a hearing before an EEOC Administrative
Judge (AJ) (in a non-mixed case or on consolidated complaints), or a final
agency decision based on the ROI, you should receive a final order or decision
within 40 days from the agency's receipt of the AJ's decision, or within 60
days from electing a decision on the record, respectively.
- File a notice of intent to sue with the EEOC when age is alleged as a basis
for discrimination, and the right to file a lawsuit under the Age Discrimination
in Employment Act (ADEA) instead of an administrative complaint of age discrimination.
- File a civil action in the appropriate U.S. District Court 90 days after
receipt of the agency's final action if no appeal has been filed, or, receipt
of EEOC's final decision on appeal; 180 days after filing a formal complaint
if no appeal has been filed and no final action has been issued, or, after
filing an appeal with the EEOC and no final decision has been issued.
- You may appeal to the US District Court for appointment of an attorney
to represent you in the court proceeding if you elect to file a civil action
under Title VII or the Rehabilitation Act. The Court may appoint an attorney
to represent you and may permit commencement of the civil action without payment
of fees, costs, or security.
- Go directly to U.S. District Court on claims of sex-based wage discrimination
under the Equal Pay Act (EPA) within 2 years (3 years if the violation is
willful) of the alleged violation, even though such claims are also able to
be heard under Title VII. Individuals who believe themselves so aggrieved
may, thus, claim violations of both statutes simultaneously. In connection
with an EPA claim, be advised of the availability of liquidated damages for
a wilful violation.
- Use a reasonable amount of official time in preparing and presenting the
complaint of discrimination. Such official time must be requested in advance
from the appropriate supervisor.
- Present and pursue a complaint free from reprisal, restraint, interference,
coercion, or harassment against an aggrieved person or their representative.
You have the responsibility to:
- Contact an EEO counselor within 45 days of an alleged discriminatory action.
- File a complaint within 15 days of receipt of the counselor's Notice of
Right to File a Formal Complaint in the event you wish to file a formal complaint
at the conclusion of counseling. You may be required to choose between a negotiated
grievance procedure**, the EEO complaint procedure, and filing an appeal with
the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)***.
- Make any request for a hearing before an EEOC AJ (in a non-mixed case and
on consolidated complaints) in writing to EEOC, and provide the agency with
a copy of the request, within 30 days of receipt of the ROI and election notification.
- File any motion to amend a complaint with the EEOC AJ, once a request for
a hearing has been made, and provide the agency with a copy.
- File any appeal of an agency dismissal or final action to the OFO within
30 days of receipt, and provide the agency with a copy.
- File any statement or brief in support of an appeal filed with the OFO
within 30 days of filing the notice of appeal, and provide the agency with
- Serve any opposition brief on the agency within 30 days of receipt of the
brief in support of the appeal, or if no brief has been filed, within 60 days
of receipt of the appeal.
- Notify the agency of acceptance of a written resolution offer within 30
days of receipt. Your rejection of an agency's offer of resolution made pursuant
to §1614.109(c) may limit the amount of attorney's fees or costs you
- Mitigate damages (e.g., those interim earnings or amounts which could be
earned by the individual with reasonable diligence). Generally, such earnings
must be deducted from an award of back pay. You must also seek treatment for
any injury you claim.
- Keep the agency and EEOC informed of your current mailing address.
- Fully cooperate with the presentation of information (including the scheduling
of meetings or conferences, responding to correspondence, and providing requested
material or information) in the processing of the complaint.
NOTE: Only matters raised at the counseling stage, or matters "like
or related" to matters raised at the counseling stage, may be the subject
of a formal complaint.Class complaint procedures and the responsibilities of
a class agent will be provided upon request.The time frames in this notification
are stated in calendar days.
** Where an Agency is covered by 5 U.S.C. section 7121(d) and where the
negotiated procedure and the statute cover the alleged discrimination, the
aggrieved individual would be required to elect either 1) the statutory procedure
for discrimination (the internal Agency EEO process) or 2) the negotiated
grievance procedure, but not both.
*** The aggrieved person has 20 calendar days from the date of the alleged
discriminatory act to file a mixed case appeal with the Merit Systems Protection
Board (MSPB) or 15 calendar days from the date of a counselor's notice of
final interview or 30 calendar days after the initial EEO counselor contact
to file a formal mixed case EEO complaint. S/he may not file both an MSPB
appeal and an EEO complaint on the same matter. The process selected first
is deemed the elected process.
This is to acknowledge that a copy of this handout was provided to me.
Signature of Aggrieved Person
Signature of EEO Counselor