These are the steps a government employee typically must take in order to file a discrimination complaint against the agency or department he or she works for:
1. Contact an EEO counselor at the agency where the discrimination took place within forty-five days of the discriminatory action.
2. Decide between either the EEO counseling or an alternative dispute resolution program if the agency offers one. Counseling must be completed within thirty days, An alternative dispute resolution program must be completed within ninety days.
3. If counseling or the alternative dispute program are not successful, then the employee can file a formal complaint with the agency.
4. The agency is required to conduct an official investigation.
5. If the complaint contains at least one issue that can be appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the employee then has the option of sending the case to the MSPB to be processed under the Board’s procedures. When an employee sends a case to the MSPB, the employee has the option of either proceeding to a full trial with witnesses, or he or she can provide the MSPB with all relevant documents along with a legal brief. If you are in this situation, you should consult with an attorney to determine which option is best for your case.
6. For a case that is brought before the MSPB, if the employee does not agree with the decision, he or she can appeal the parts of the decision concerning discrimination to the EEOC. The employee can also take an appeal of the MSPB ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
7. If the complaint does not contain an MSPB issue, the employee may either request a hearing before an EEOC administrative judge or an immediate final determination from the agency.
8. If the employee does not agree with the final determination from the agency, the employee has thirty days to appeal to the EEOC.
9. If the employee decides to have an EEOC hearing, the administrative judge must issue a decision within 180 days. If the judge finds that the complaint is valid and that there was discrimination, the judge will order the appropriate relief. The agency then has forty days from receiving the order of relief from the judge to comply with the ruling. However, if the agency does not agree with, or refuses to comply with, the order from the EEOC administrative judge, the agency must file an appeal within forty days. On the other hand, if the employee does not agree with the decision of the EEOC administrative judge, the employee must file an appeal within forty days.