Filing Complaints of Employment Discrimination
May 12, 2017
SEC’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (OEEO), Compliance and Resolutions Branch, is comprised of a small team of diverse professionals with significant expertise in legal analysis, proactive prevention, conflict management, investigative techniques, federal sector EEO and processes, and program management. It processes informal and formal complaints of discrimination filed by SEC employees, former employees, and applicants for SEC employment.
Most SEC employees or job applicants alleging discrimination must first complete the administrative EEO Process described below before they may bring lawsuits in federal court. Different procedural rules can apply to cases alleging discrimination because of age and cases alleging gender-based pay differences.
EEO Counseling and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) through the Conflict-to-Resolution (C2R) Program
If you believe you have been subjected to unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, the first step is to request EEO counseling under 29 C.F.R. Part 1614 through OEEO. Generally, you must contact OEEO within 45 calendar days from the date you suspect discrimination occurred. In most cases, you will have the choice to participate either in EEO counseling or in ADR through OEEO’s Conflict-to-Resolution (C2R) Program. OEEO’s primary goal during both EEO counseling and ADR is to attempt to resolve workplace issues at the lowest level of the EEO complaint process.
Contact OEEO within 45 calendar days of the matter you think is discriminatory.
EEO Formal Complaints and Investigations
If the workplace issues you raise are not resolved during EEO counseling or through C2R, you can file a formal complaint with OEEO. You must file within 15 calendar days from the date you receive the notice about how to file a formal complaint.
Once you have filed a formal complaint, OEEO will review the complaint pursuant to 29 C.F.R. Part 1614 regulations and decide whether to accept the complaint or to dismiss it for a procedural or jurisdictional reason (e.g., your claim should be filed elsewhere). If OEEO accepts the complaint, it will oversee an independent contractor who conducts a fact-gathering investigation on behalf of the SEC. Information will be gathered from witnesses and relevant documents collected for an investigation record. All SEC employees who are contacted by an investigator must cooperate in EEO investigations. OEEO generally has 180 days from the day you filed your complaint to complete the investigation.
When the investigation is completed, you will have two choices: request a hearing before an EEOC Administrative Judge or ask OEEO to issue a final written decision on behalf of SEC, to determine based on the investigation record, whether or not discrimination occurred and the appropriate remedy or damages, as applicable.