The Department of Commerce Office of Civil Rights administers
the formal EEO Complaint Process which may be used by Department of Commerce
employees and applicants for employment to raise issues of discrimination
based on the following:
- Sex (including sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and gender identity)
- National origin
- Genetic information
- Sexual orientation
- Age (40 years of age or older)
- Disability (mental and physical)
Related retaliation may also be raised in the EEO Complaint
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) process is
governed by the regulations, management directives, guidance, and case
law of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as
applicable federal court cases. The EEO process consists of three parts:
- The informal process, also called EEO Counseling, provides an opportunity to define the complainant's concerns, obtain information necessary to address the issues, and attempt to resolve the issues informally. This process is administered by Bureau EEO Officers. You must see an EEO Counselor within 45 days of the action believed to be discriminatory, the effective date of a personnel action, or the date that you have enough information to reasonably suspect that you have a valid EEO claim, and you must complete EEO counseling before filing a formal complaint.
- The formal EEO complaint process is a legal procedure for the consideration of claims of employment discrimination based on race, color, sex (including sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and gender identity), national origin, religion, age (40 years of age or older), genetic information, sexual orientation, and disability (mental and physical). Claims of retaliation for opposing these types of discrimination or for participating in the EEO complaint process can also be raised. If a complaint meets procedural requirements established by regulation, an investigation is conducted. In most cases, complainants may also elect to have a hearing before an EEOC Administrative Judge. The formal complaint process ends when the Department issues a Final Agency Decision (FAD) on the complaint.
- • The appeal process allows complainants to appeal FADs to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Merit decisions in mixed case complaints -- complaints on issues that are appealable to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) -- are first appealed to the MSPB.
EEO Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is also available
throughout both the informal and formal complaint processes, if the complaint
is determined to be suitable for ADR.
The informal counseling process is administered by the Bureau
EEO Officers. The Department's Office of Civil Rights administers
the formal complaint process for all bureaus, except the Patent and Trademark
Office (PTO). At the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), the Bureau EEO Officer
administers both the informal and formal complaint processes. Contact the
EEO Office for more information.
Four federal civil rights laws are enforced through the
EEO complaint process:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended;
- the Equal Pay Act of 1963;
- the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; and
- the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as
The OCR Web site contains information originating from other organizations,
both public and private. The Web site also contains hyperlinks to documents
and resources from such public and private organizations. While every
attempt is made to ensure that all information is accurately referenced
on our site, we do not guarantee the accuracy, timeliness or quality
of the content of these outside sources. The inclusion of hyperlinks
does not indicate endorsement of any particular products, companies,
information providers or the content of the referenced sites.
US Department of Commerce,
Office of Civil Rights, 1401 Constitution Ave., NW, Room 6012, Washington,
Page last updated:
Tuesday, January 30, 2018