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Equal Employment Opportunity Information for SEC Job Applicants and Employees - Filing Complaints of Employment Discrimination

May 12, 2017

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has the authority to establish the federal agency process for complaints of employment discrimination made by applicants or employees who believe they have been discriminated against in violation of Federal Antidiscrimination Laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of age (40+), color, disability, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender-based wages), or retaliation for participating in the EEO process or opposing employment discrimination.

Overview of Federal Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Law Coverage

  • EEOC's regulations for the federal administrative complaint process are published in the Code of Federal Regulations at 29 CFR 1614.
  • The SEC complies with EEOC regulations and directives for handling EEO complaints from applicants for SEC jobs and from SEC employees.
  • See EEOC Information for Federal Job Applicants and Employees.

Time Limit: Administrative EEO Process Must Begin Within 45 Days of Discriminatory Act

To preserve their rights under EEO laws, applicants for employment and employees are required to timely contact an SEC EEO Counselor.

  • Timely contact means making the contact within 45 calendar days from the day the individual learned of the matter believed to have been employment discrimination.
  • Applicants for SEC jobs may call the SEC Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (OEEO) to enter EEO Counseling: 202-551-6040.

EEO Counseling

EEO Counseling is required before a formal complaint of discrimination may be filed. Individuals must cooperate in good faith with the EEO Counseling process to preserve their rights to access the formal EEO Complaint Process. During EEO Counseling, the EEO Counselor provides about legal rights and responsibilities related to the Administrative Complaint process. Attempts to resolve disputes will be made by an EEO Counselor or by an EEO Mediator. EEO Counseling usually takes from 30 to 90 days.

Formal Complaints of Discrimination

Most SEC employees or job applicants alleging EEO discrimination must first complete the administrative EEO Process before they may bring lawsuits in federal court. For information about the different procedural rules that apply to cases alleging discrimination because of age and cases alleging gender-based pay differences, see

  • Notice given at the end of EEO Counseling or Mediation explains the requirements for filing complaints of discrimination.
  • Detailed information about the formal complaint process is published in EEOC regulations 29 CFR 1614.106 -110.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: EEO Mediation

EEO Mediation is the Alternative Dispute Resolution process SEC uses upon request in appropriate EEO Administrative Process cases. EEO Mediation may be used instead of traditional EEO Counseling to resolve informal complaints and may also be used to resolve formal EEO Complaints. EEO Counselors provide information about EEO Mediation to aggrieved individuals who enter EEO Counseling. EEO Mediation may be requested at any stage of the Administrative Process. Requests for EEO Mediation must be approved by the SEC's OEEO Director.

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