Step One: Informal Complaint
If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination in your work or through the employment process, you must initiate contact with an Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor (EEOC) within 45 days of the occurrence of the alleged discrimination.
The Counselor will advise you of your rights and will conduct an informal inquiry regarding your allegation.
During this time, the Counselor will attempt to resolve the complaint. if the complaint is not resolved within 30 days of your initial contact, the Counselor will issue a Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint. You will have 15 days from your receipt of that notice to decide whether you wish to file a formal complaint.
During the Informal Complaint Process, you may elect to participate In the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program. The program is designed to encourage an open atmosphere in which human relationships may be improved; it encourages employees and managers to mediate concerns and disputes without fear of reprisal; and it enables the parties to settle disputes at the lowest possible level, quickly, fairly, and impartially. Also, Alternative Dispute Resolution can reduce "disharmony" costs such as lowered morale or productivity; provide increased awareness / knowledge to allow parties to resolve disputes themselves; and reduce administrative delays and costs.
Step Two: Formal Complaint
After completing the informal process, you may decide to file a formal complaint. To do this, you should send to the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer a Department of Justice (DOJ) Form 201A, Complaint of Discrimination, that was included with the Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint. You must file your complaint within 15 days of your receipt of the Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint.
You may choose to include a letter or any other supporting materials with your complaint: however, you should submit a Department of Justice Form 201A. You can obtain this form from the U.S. Marshals Service Equal Employment Opportunity Office if you did not receive one with your Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint.
Your complaint must be specific and limited only to those matters that you previously discussed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor. You will receive written acknowledgment of the EEO Office's receipt of your complaint. It will inform you of the date that your complaint was filed. If your complaint is accepted for investigation. an impartial investigation will be conducted. The U.S. Marshals Service will ensure that it is a thorough and fair investigation and is completed within 180 days from the date you filed your formal complaint. During this 180 days, the U.S. Marshals Service has the following responsibilities: to conduct and complete the investigation; to make attempts at settlement; and to provide you with a copy of the investigative file and your notice of rights.
Within 30 days of your receipt of the investigative file and notice of rights, you may request either an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hearing or an immediate final agency decision by the Department of Justice Complaint Adjudication Office (CAO).
If you fail to respond to your notice of rights or request an Immediate final decision, the U.S. Marshals Service will forward your case to the Complaint Adjudication Office for a final agency decision, which will be based on the Complaint Adjudication Office's review of the Investigative report and complaint file.
If you request a hearing from Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor, an Administrative Judge will oversee discovery, conduct a hearing, and issue a decision. If a finding of discrimination is made, the Administrative Judge will order an appropriate remedy. The judge must complete this process within 180 days from receipt of your request for a hearing.
The Complaint Adjudication Office, within 40 days of receipt of the Administrative Judge's decision, must take final action on the complaint by issuing a final order. This final order will notify you whether the agency will fully implement the Administrative Judge's decision or will appeal the decision to the Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor.
After you receive the agency's final order, you may appeal it to the Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor within 30 days of receipt. You may file a civil action in a U.S. District Court within 90 days of your receipt of the Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor decision. You also have the option of filing a civil action in a U.S. District Court at any point beyond 180 days of filing your formal complaint, as long as there has been no final action or appeal.
Complaints filed on the bases of sexual orientation and parental status will be processed through final agency decision. There is no right to a hearing or appeal to the Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor or to bring an action in U.S. District Court.