Department of Defense Education Activity

Resolution & Compliance


In light of the National Emergency declared by the President due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Office of Federal Operations (OFO) is issuing the following instructions regarding the processing of federal sector EEO complaints covered by 29 CFR Part 1614.

The DODEA EEO Office administers the formal EEO Complaint Process which may be used by DODEA employees and applicants for employment to raise issues of discrimination based on the following:

 Age (40 and over)    Disability    Equal Compensation    Genetic Information   National Origin    Pregnancy    Race/Color    Retaliation    Religion    Sex     Sexual Harassment

*Note that Sex includes being male or female, as well as being lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

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, which are detailed below.

1. Informal Complaints of Discrimination

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 at the lowest possible level. This process is administered by Area DMEO Program Managers. You must complete EEO counseling before filing a formal complaint.

  • There is a time limit for contacting an EEO representative, which is within 45 calendar days from the date of or of becoming aware of the discriminatory act.
  • Employees and applicants should contact the DMEO Area Program Managers for complaint counseling. After filling out an intake form the DMEO Area Program Manager will assign a counselor who will serve as an impartial third party.  As an alternative, the employee or applicant could contact the appropriate Area EEO Counselor.
  • Counselors seek resolution through facilitation and initiate a fact-finding inquiry into the discrimination allegations. Inquiries include talking with individual(s) alleged to have discriminated and witnesses with possible knowledge of the complaint issue(s). The counseling process should conclude within 30 days but may extend to 90 days due to extenuating circumstances.
  • Should the aggrieved opt  to use the Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR) process, the EEO Counselor will locate a third-party neutral to mediate the issues.    
  • Should a pre-complaint not be resolved, the EEO Counselor will issue the aggrieved employee or applicant a Notice of Final Interview and Right to File Formal.
  • The Resolution and Compliance staff do not make discrimination findings or decide whether or not complaints have merit.

2. Formal Complaints of Discrimination
  • The formal EEO complaint process is a legal procedure for the consideration of claims of employment discrimination. 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 or request a decision based on the record. The formal complaint process ends when the Agency issues a Final Agency Decision (FAD) on the complaint. Formal complaints of discrimination may only be filed after a complainant completes EEO Counseling.
  • Formal complaints of discrimination may only be filed after a complainant completes EEO Counseling.
  • Formal complaints are handled by the HQ DMEO office, rather than by the DMEO Area offices.
  • Within 15 calendar days of the final interview, a formal written complaint that specifically details the claim(s) the complainant raised in EEO Counseling and that the complainant wishes to pursue should be submitted. The formal written complaint must be signed by the complainant or the complainant's attorney .

3. The Appeal Process

The appeal process allows complainants to appeal FADs to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

  • The time for a complainant to appeal is 30 days from receipt of the agency's final action or dismissal.
  • Click here to review the EEO Notice of Appeal/Petition.
  • Merit decisions in mixed case complaints, which are complaints on issues that are appealable to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) -- are first appealed to the MSPB.

Four federal civil rights laws are enforced through the EEO complaint process: