Civil Rights Programs Division
If you have EEO-related concerns or you would like to enter the administrative DEO complaint process, you may confidentially contact any of the following individuals for assistance at 703-648-7770 or (Toll Free) at 1-866-816-1106.
James Mays, EEO Manager
Lorri Jackson-Reid, EEO Counselor
Monica Hodnett, EEO Specialist
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Public Civil Rights
Title VI Federal Financial Assistance
Limited English Proficiency (LEP)
Environmental Justice (EJ)
Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1614 (29 CFR 1614) is the implementing Federal regulation which gives Federal agencies the authority to process Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints. It also promotes impartial, fair, and early resolution of complaints of discrimination. The 1614 regulation applies to all individual and class complaints of employment discrimination within the Federal Government that are prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Equal Pay Act.
Any employee or applicant for employment with the Federal Government who believes he/she has been discriminated against on the basis(es) of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 and above), physical or mental disability, sexual orientation¹, genetic information, or reprisal may file a complaint of discrimination. Former employees may also enter the EEO complaint process if they allege they are aggrieved by actions that took place at the time of their employment with USGS.
¹Executive Order 13087 issued on May 28, 1998, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Complaints involving allegations of sexual orientation are not processed under the Federal Sector Equal Employment Opportunity Regulations. The Department of the Interior has established an administrative procedure, which contains different rights and responsibilities, to process a complaint containing sexual orientation allegations.
Employees, former employees, or applicants for employment (Aggrieved Parties) who believe that they have been discriminated against on the basis(es) of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability (mental or physical), reprisal, sexual orientation¹ or genetic information must consult an EEO Counselor prior to filing a complaint. Aggrieved Parties filing on the basis of age (40 years of age and above) have the option of taking their claims directly to Federal Court.
An Aggrieved Party (AP) must initiate contact with an EEO Counselor or an EEO Official within 45 days of the occurrence of the alleged discriminatory action, or within 45 days of the effective date of the personnel action, or of the date he/she became aware, or should have been aware, of the alleged offense.The EEO Counselor’s job is to gather critical information from both the AP and the person the AP alleges has discriminated against him/her (usually referred to as the Responding Management Official (RMO)) and to try to achieve an informal resolution of the presenting problem.The EEO Counselor, serving as a neutral fact finder, will gather the critical data, interview key witnesses, and work between the AP and RMO in an effort to achieve resolution quickly and informally.The EEO Counselor will attempt to accomplish this task within 30 days of initial contact with the AP. However, when necessary, the counseling stage can be extended for an additional 60 days, if authorized by the AP.
EEO Counselors are strictly required to adhere to the requirements of the Privacy Act.
Note: Without written authorization from the employee, an EEO Counselor cannot make known to management that an employee has contacted the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity², except in certain circumstances.
Unless the AP agrees to an extended counseling period or enters into the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) process, a document called a Notice of Right to File a Discrimination Complaint or Notice of Final Interview (NOFI) shall be issued to the AP on completion of the counseling stage. The NOFI provides specific guidelines on how to file a formal complaint.
To file a formal complaint, the employee or applicant for employment must: (1) have contacted an EEO Counselor prior to filing formal complaint; (2) sign and date the Notice of Final interview (NOFI) and return it to the Departmental or bureau EEO Office; and (3) sign and file a formal written complaint, using Form DI-1892, within 15 days of receiving the NOFI. The complainant or their authorized attorney must sign the formal complaint.
Formal EEO complaints must be filed in writing with the Director, Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights, Department of the Interior; or the Chief, Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity (DEO), USGS, National Center. Formal complaints can also be filed with the Office of the Secretary of the Interior. When the USGS receives a properly filed formal complaint of discrimination, it must acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing and determine which claims(s) shall be accepted or dismissed based on the requirements set forth in 29 CFR 1614. The merits of the case (whether discrimination occurred) are not considered when the 'accept/dismiss' determination is made. The DEO must ensure that a thorough and unbiased investigation of the accepted claim(s) of discrimination is completed within 180 days from the filing date of the formal complaint. The complainant will be notified when the investigation has been completed. A Report of Investigation (ROI) will be issued to the complainant with a notice that the complainant may, within 30 days of receipt of the investigative report, request a hearing before an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Administrative Judge, or a Final Agency Decision (FAD) from the Department of the Interior's Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights. If the complainant does not make a selection, the DOI Civil Rights Office will issue a FAD.
If a complainant does not agree with the FAD issued by the Departmental Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights, the complainant may appeal said decision to the Office of Federal Operations at Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner. This administrative appeal must be filed within 30 days of receipt of the FAD. An appellant review by the Office of Federal Operations of the Final Agency Decision will be conducted and a final decision rendered. If the complainant disagrees with the final administrative appeal decision, the complainant may then file a civil action in Federal District Court.
As an alternative to the traditional 30-day counseling, an AP may be offered the option of using the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) program to resolve his/her complaint. If an AP elects to use the ADR program, informal counseling will cease.
ADR is a conflict resolution program that can efficiently and effectively streamline the process for settling employment-related discrimination complaints. In USGS, our goal is to achieve settlement of EEO complaints utilizing standard mediation methodology. A neutral third party trained to serve as a mediator conducts the mediation session.
Mediation is a voluntary problem-solving process that uses trained mediators to help individuals explore ways to resolve differences and reach an agreement that best addresses their interests. The mediator meets with the aggrieved employee, the immediate supervisor, and any other employees who can provide pertinent information in resolving the issues. As a neutral third party, the mediator will act as a facilitator between the parties involved, and attempt to achieve a settlement via communications and negotiations. Mediation is always confidential, and no written record is made except in cases where there is a resolution. If a resolution is achieved at the mediation table, a signed settlement agreement is submitted to DEO and is entered on the record, and is the basis for implementation of the agreement. The signed settlement agreement is a binding legal document. A breech of the terms of said settlement agreement (by either the employee or management) could result in the reopening of the original EEO complaint.
Generally, most issues may be considered for ADR if agreed to or requested by the disputed parties, and if approved by the Chief, DEO. However, allegations of sexual harassment, class complaints, discrimination from outside applicants for employment, and allegations involving the issue of removal will not be offered for mediation under the ADR program.
An aggrieved party/complainant may request the use of the ADR process at any time during the informal or formal stage of the EEO complaint process. Participation in the ADR process by the aggrieved party/complainant will be voluntary. The Department of the Interior and U.S. Geological Survey are committed to early resolution of discrimination complaints, and to the ADR process. In USGS, supervisors and managers are required to consider ADR as a tool for settling EEO complaints. If an an employee requests ADR, a management representative will participate in the mediation process with the employee in an effort to resolve the presenting problem.
The Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, USGS, National Center, should be contacted for further information on the EEO complaints process and the Alternate Dispute Resolution program.
The Public Civil Rights program covers federally conducted and federally assisted programs. The goal of the public civil rights program is to ensure that recipients of Federal financial assistance do not discriminate against the beneficiaries of their programs, services, or activities on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The same principles apply to all USGS Federally Conducted Programs. Related legislation includes:
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended
Title VI provides that no person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to unlawful discrimination under any program or activity conducted by, or which receives Federal financial assistance from, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Discrimination includes: denial of services, aids, or benefits; provision of different services or in a different manner; and segregation or separate treatment. This includes disparate impact on communities as well as individuals. Environmental Justice issues are also covered by this Title. The USGS Federally Assisted Program includes grants, cooperative agreements to include matched funding agreements, scholarships, certain in-kind agreements, and donation agreements and activities.
Additional information is available at: https://www.justice.gov/crt/file/703261/download
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, as amended
The principle objective of Title IX is to avoid the use of federal money to support sexually discriminatory practices in education programs such as sexual harassment and employment discrimination, and to provide individual citizens effective protection against those practices. Title IX applies, with a few specific exceptions, to all aspects of Federally funded education programs or activities. In addition to traditional educational institutions such as colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools, Title IX also applies to any education or training program operated by a recipient of Federal financial assistance.
Additional information is available at: https://www.justice.gov/crt/fcs/TitleIX-SexDiscrimination
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended
Prohibits discrimination based on an individual's disability in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance and in any program or activity conducted by any executive branch agency.
Additional information is available at: https://www.justice.gov/crt/page/file/1060276/download
Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, (42 USC § 6101)
Prohibits discrimination based on age in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance.