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U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

 

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

In Any Clime and Place

Civilian EEO

The following questions and answers are provided to give the reader a basic understanding of the civilian Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints process.

Q. Who can file an EEO complaint?
A. Any civilian employee (or former employee) working in an appropriated fund or non-appropriated fund position at Marine Corps Base, or applicants to such position. The complainant may be permanent or temporary, part-time or full-time, minority or non-minority, male or female, supervisory or non-supervisory, etc.

Q. What constitutes an EEO discrimination complaint?
A. If a complainant alleges that the reason or motive for a supervisor taking adverse action was based on race, color, age (over 40 years), religion, national origin, sex (sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination), physical or mental disability, then such a complaint is processed in the EEO discrimination forum. Additionally, if someone alleges having suffered adverse action in reprisal for having participated in the EEO process or for opposing an unlawful employment practice under the anti-discrimination laws, then that person may also file an EEO discrimination complaint. If a complainant alleges that the reason or motive for a supervisor taking adverse action was based on race, color, age (over 40 years), religion, national origin, sex (sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination), physical or mental disability, then such a complaint is processed in the EEO discrimination forum. Additionally, if someone alleges having suffered adverse action in reprisal for having participated in the EEO process or for opposing an unlawful employment practice under the anti-discrimination laws, then that person may also file an EEO discrimination complaint.

Q. What, if any, law or regulatory time limits are imposed for filing an EEO discrimination complaint?
A. A complainant must contact an EEO Counselor within 45 calendar days of the date of the incident that gave rise to the complaint or within 45 calendar days of the effective date of the actions being complained of.

NOTE: A person can file an informal EEO complaint regardless of the time that has passed, however, if the complainant is not satisfied with the results of the informal inquiry, and they decide to file a formal complaint, the complaint may dismissed based on provisions relating to timely filing provisions contained in 29 CFR 1614.107. A person can file an informal EEO complaint regardless of the time that has passed, however, if the complainant is not satisfied with the results of the informal inquiry, and they decide to file a formal complaint, the complaint may dismissed based on provisions relating to timely filing provisions contained in 29 CFR 1614.107.

Q. What are the steps involved in handling an EEO complaint?
A. The first step is the informal (pre-complaint) stage where the EEO counselor attempts to resolve the claims via the informal inquiry method, at the lowest possible local level, without making a determination as to whether discrimination did-or-did-not occur. If the complaint is not resolved within 30 calendar days, the next step is a formal investigation by an investigator from the DoD Office of Complaint Investigations. The investigator provides the agency an analysis(es) of the case once the investigation is completed. If dissatisfied with the results of the investigation, the complainant may request a hearing before an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Administrative Judge, or request a final Air Force Decision without an EEOC Hearing in accordance with provisions in 29 CFR 1614.110(b). Either request must be completed within 30 days after the complainant receives the Investigation file. If neither of these options is chosen and the complaint is not otherwise withdrawn or settled, a final Air Force decision will be issued within 60 calendar days. There are several other appellate steps which could lead the case to a Federal Court.

Q. What are the rights and responsibilities of a management official who has had an EEO complaint filed against her/him?
A. Any management official who has been named "Responding Management Official" (RMO) has the right to know what the charges are against them, and the right to have a representative of her/his choice present at every phase of the process. It is a RMO's responsibility to cooperate fully and promptly with the EEO counselor, OCI Investigator and/or EEOC Administrative Judge assigned to the case and to make a good faith effort to resolve EEO complaints.

Q. What are the rights and responsibilities of complainants?
A. Complainants have numerous law-based rights. However, the ones most misunderstood are: (1) the right to anonymity during the informal stage of the complaint; (2) the right to be accompanied by a representative of complainant's choice at all phases of the process; and (3) the right to be free from retaliation/reprisal, or interference, coercion and/or threats. Complainants are personally responsible for providing the specific information regarding their claims/allegations and cooperating with the counselors, investigators, and AJ.

Q. Do complainants have to notify their supervisor if they file an EEO complaint?
A. Because complainants have the right to anonymity at the informal stage of the process, they may choose not to notify the supervisor that they have filed an EEO complaint. However, if they later file a formal EEO complaint, they lose the right to anonymity.

Q. In general, what is the best outcome for both the complainant and management?
A. In almost all instances, informal resolution, freely arrived at by all parties involved in the dispute, is the best outcome that could result from an EEO counseling activity. In almost all instances, informal resolution, freely arrived at by all parties involved in the dispute, is the best outcome that could result from an EEO counseling activity.

Q. What is the EEO counselor's role in the complaint process?
A. The counselor is required to conduct a limited inquiry into the claims made for the purpose of obtaining information that may be used during settlement efforts, and to determine jurisdictional questions if a formal complaint is filed. The role of the counselor is to attempt to facilitate a resolution, not to develop or advocate specific terms of an agreement. Additionally, under no circumstances should the EEO counselor attempt to dissuade a person from filing any complaint. For further information relating to the EEO discrimination complaint process, you may contact the EEO Office at (910) 451-5272.