The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) manages the Department of Commerce's Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Sexual Orientation Discrimination Complaint Processes. This fact sheet includes basic information about complaint investigations.
A. OCR assigns Investigators to collect information on all EEO and Sexual Orientation Discrimination complaints that are accepted for processing.
A. Investigators develop evidence related to the complaint by interviewing complainants, management officials, and other witnesses and collecting documents. They do not determine whether a law has been violated, or give advice to the complainant or other witnesses.
A. During each interview, investigators should:
A. Testimony is usually summarized in signed statements, also called declarations. Other methods may be used, including:
Whatever method is used, witnesses swear to the truth of their testimony under penalty of perjury.
OCR determines the method of investigation.
A. OCR must complete its investigation within 180 calendar days after the date a complaint is filed.
In some cases, the deadline may be extended.
A. Yes, It is available if the Departmental EEO ADR Manager has determined the conflict is suitable for ADR. Complainants are informed through a Notice of Investigation memorandum of the possibility of ADR. If the employee elects ADR and management agrees to participate, arrangements will be made for a mediator and the mediation session.
A. If resolution is not reached through mediation, the complaint will be returned to the stage in the complaint process where it originated for further processing.
A. Yes. All Department employees are required to cooperate with EEO Investigators.
An employee may have do the following:
A. Yes. The Report of Investigation (ROI) includes the Investigator's summary of the evidence, procedural correspondence, documents and statistics collected by the Investigator and declarations.
The ROI is sent by Certified Mail to the complainant and the complainant's representative, if any, unless other arrangements have been made with the Office of Civil Rights.
Unauthorized disclosure by anyone of personal information contained in the Report of Investigation is prohibited.
A. In most EEO complaints, complainants may choose to:
In a Sexual Orientation Discrimination Complaint, the Department will issue a final decision within 60 days after the ROI is issued.
With the ROI, complainants are also sent a letter that outlines their rights and the next steps in the complaint process.
Reasonable Accommodations: Individuals who need an accommodation to participate in the EEO or Sexual Orientation Discrimination Complaint processes (e.g., sign language interpreter, print materials in accessible format) should inform the bureau EEO Office or OCR so appropriate arrangements can be made.
Published January 2003
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