It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination.
Federal statutes protect employees and applicants from discrimination involving:
- Unfair treatment because of protected EEO bases.
- Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in the workplace, because of protected EEO bases.
- Denial of a reasonable workplace accommodation because of religious beliefs or disability.
- Retaliation due to opposition to discrimination or participation in EEO process.
The discrimination complaint process managed by the Office of Civil Rights (S/OCR) is an administrative process to resolve disputes alleging acts of employment discrimination prohibited by equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws and regulations. It is available to employees and applicants for employment with the Department of State who allege they have been subjected to unlawful discrimination based on an EEO protected characteristic.. The EEO process is available to all Department of State employees and U.S. citizen applicants for employment at the Department of State
EEO Protected Characteristics
The following are covered bases under the EEO antidiscrimination laws:
- Sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity)
- National origin
- Age (40 years old or over)
- Genetic information
- Retaliation for participation in the EEO process or opposition to discrimination.
Informal EEO Process
The informal EEO process primarily consists of EEO counseling. An aggrieved person must begin the informal EEO process within 45 calendar days of an alleged discriminatory act. This can be done by contacting an EEO Counselor or S/OCR to request EEO counseling. The purpose of EEO counseling is to attempt early and informal resolution of an allegation of discrimination. An EEO Counselor, who is a neutral party, will be able to answer questions about the discrimination complaint process and explain available options for seeking resolution. An EEO Counselor is trained to conduct inquiries into allegations of discrimination in an effort to resolve the matter before a formal complaint can be filed.
Formal EEO Process
If a Department of State employee or applicant has completed the informal EEO process and the allegation of discrimination has not been resolved, a “Notice of Right to File a Discrimination Complaint” will be issued. The individual may then elect to file a formal complaint of discrimination. The formal complaint must be filed in writing with S/OCR within 15 calendar days of receiving the “Notice of Right to File a Discrimination Complaint.” EEO Counselors are not authorized to accept formal complaints of discrimination. The purpose of the formal EEO process is to determine whether discrimination occurred.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
ADR provides an alternative to traditional administrative avenues to resolve the allegation of discrimination at issue. ADR is any dispute resolution process (other than litigation) where a neutral third party assists the conflicted parties to resolve a dispute. ADR utilizes many processes, but all are confidential and voluntary for Department of State employees and applicants. S/OCR employs mediation as its primary ADR process.
To file an EEO complaint, please contact the Office of Civil Rights at:
U.S. Department of State Office of Civil Rights (S/OCR)
2201 C Street, NW Washington, DC 20520
Tel: (202) 647-9295 Fax: (202) 647-4969
When filing your complaint, please provide the following information to help in the processing of your complaint:
- What is your employment status with the Department of State (USDH, contractor, applicant, LE Staff, etc.)?
- What Bureau were you working under?