Rights and Responsibilities
Administrative and Judicial Remedial Procedures Available to Employees or Applicants for Employment in the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Process
1. Administrative Complaints
1.1. Individual Complaint
1.1.1. Counseling -- You must seek EEO counseling within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory event or in the
case of personnel action within 45 days of the effective date of the action. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.105(a)(1) (2003).
1.1.2. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) -- If the agency offers ADR in your case, you may choose
between participation in the alternative dispute resolution program and traditional EEO counseling. Where ADR is
offered and elected, the pre-complaint processing period shall be 90 days .
1.1.3. Formal Complaint -- You must file your formal complaint of discrimination within 15 days of receipt of
the Notice of Right to File Formal. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.106(b).
1.1.4. Hearing Request -- You may request a hearing before an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC) administrative judge within 30 days of receipt of the investigative file, or at any time after 180 days
have elapsed from the filing of the complaint. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.108(g).
1.1.5. Request for Final Agency Decision -- You may request that the Agency issue a final decision within 30
days of receipt of the investigative file. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.108(f).
1.1.6. Appeals -- Any dismissal of a complaint or any final action may be appealed to the EEOC within 30 days of
receipt of the dismissal, final action, or decision. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.402(a).
1.2. Class Complaint
1.2.1. Counseling -- You must seek counseling on a complaint of class discrimination within 45 days of the
alleged discriminatory event. 29 C.F.R.§ 1614.105 (a)(1); 29 C.F.R. § 1614.204(b).
1.2.2. Complaint -- You must file a complaint of class-wide discrimination not later than 15 days after receipt of the notice of the right to file a class complaint. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.204(c)(2).
1.2.3. Claim for Individual Class Relief – When discrimination is found in the final decision and a class member believes he or she is entitled to individual relief, the class member may file a written claim with the head of the agency or its EEO Director within 30 days of receipt of notification by the agency of its final decision.
1.2.4. Appeals -- Any dismissal, final action, or decision received by an agent, petitioner or individual claimant
must be appealed to the EEOC within 30 days of its receipt. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.402(a).
1.3. Mixed Case
1.3.1. Election -- You may initially file a mixed case complaint with the Agency pursuant to 29 C.F.R. pt. 1614 or an
appeal on the same matter with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) pursuant to 5 C.F.R. § 1201.151, but
not both. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.302(b).
1.3.2. Mixed Case Appeal -- If you file a mixed case appeal with the MSPB instead of a mixed case complaint and
the MSPB dismisses the appeal for jurisdictional reasons, the Agency shall promptly notify you in writing of the right
to contact an EEO counselor within 45 days of receipt of this notice and to file an EEO complaint. 29 C.F.R. §
1614.302(b). The date on which you filed your appeal with MSPB shall be deemed to be the date of initial contact
with the counselor. Id.
1.3.3. Mixed Case Complaint -- If you elect to proceed initially under 29 C.F.R. pt. 1614 rather than with the
MSPB, the procedures set forth for complaints of EEO discrimination shall govern the processing of the mixed case
complaint with the following exceptions:
126.96.36.199. If a final decision is not issued within 120 days of the date of filing of the mixed case complaint, you may appeal the matter to the MSPB at any time thereafter or may file a civil action, but not both;
188.8.131.52. If you are dissatisfied with the Agency's final decision on the mixed case complaint, you may appeal the matter to the MSPB (not EEOC) or may file a civil action within 30 days of receipt of the Agency's final decision, but not both; and
184.108.40.206. Upon completion of the investigation, the notice provided to you will advise you that a final decision will be issued within 45 days without a hearing. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.302(d)(1)
In addition, if you file a timely appeal with MSPB from the Agency's processing of a mixed case complaint and the MSPB dismisses it for jurisdictional reasons, the Agency shall reissue a notice giving you the right to elect between a hearing before an administrative judge and an immediate final decision. 29 C.F.R. § 1614. §302(b).
1.4. Negotiated Grievance
1.4.1. Negotiated Grievance Procedure -- If you are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that permits
you to raise allegations of discrimination under a negotiated grievance procedure, you must elect to either:
220.127.116.11. File a grievance pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement that permits allegations of
18.104.22.168. File a complaint in the EEO complaints system. 29 C.F.R. §§ 1614.301 and 1614.302.
1.4.2. Election -- An election to proceed under the negotiated grievance procedures is made when you file a
timely, written grievance. An election to proceed under the EEO complaints process is made once you file a formal
complaint. 29 C.F. R. §1614.301(a). If you elect to file a written grievance under a negotiated grievance
procedure, you may not then file an EEO complaint on the same issue, whether or not you mentioned
discrimination in your grievance. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.301(a).
1.4.3. Appeals -- If you file an EEO complaint after you filed a grievance on the same matter, your EEO complaint
will be dismissed, and you will be told to raise the matter of discrimination in your grievance. You will then have the
right to appeal the decision on the grievance to the EEOC. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.107(a)(4).
2. Civil Action Complaints
2.1. You may file a civil action within 90 days of receipt of the final action if no appeal has been filed. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.407(a).
2.2. You may file a civil action after 180 days from the date of filing the complaint if an appeal has not been filed and a final action has not been taken. 29 C.F.R. §1614.407(b).
2.3. You may file a civil action within 90 days of receipt of the EEOC’s final decision on an appeal. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.407(c).
2.4. You may file a civil action after 180 days from the date of filing an appeal with the EEOC if there has been no final decision by the EEOC. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.407(d).
2.5. If you are alleging that you were discriminated against because of your age, pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq . , you may elect to pursue your complaint through either, the EEO complaint system, or by filing a civil action against the United States Department of Commerce (United States Patent and Trademark Office) in the appropriate United States District Court.
2.6. If you are alleging that you were discriminated against because of your sex, pursuant to the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. 206(d) , you may file a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction within two years or, if the violation is willful, three years of the date of the alleged violation of the Equal Pay Act regardless of whether you pursued any administrative complaint processing. 29 C.F.R. § 1614.408