The law protects a federal worker or an individual who is a job applicant from discrimination on the basis of their color, race, sex, age, religion, national origin, genetic information, or disability. The statute also provides protection to an individual from any sort of retaliation that they might face due to opposing employment discrimination, initiating a formal complaint, or playing a part in EEO grievance process provided by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Statistics provided by EEOC revealed that in Illinois, 4,392 of total charges were filed in 2017, representing 5.2% of total US charges. Furthermore, federal laws and regulations, coupled with executive orders (independent from EEOC) also prohibit and disallow discrimination based on marital or parental status, sexual orientation, or affiliation from a political party.
How to file a complaint?
If you feel that a federal agency has exhibited discriminatory behavior against you, then you are eligible to take action by filing a complaint. Each agency is obligated to provide information about the procedure to contact agency’s EEO office. Therefore, you can contact the relevant EEO office and get in touch with a counselor. You must ensure that you take this step within 45 days of the related event when discrimination occurred.
A counselor will provide you with a choice of EEO counseling or a mediation program known as alternative dispute resolution program (ADR). However, if the dispute remains unsettled by aforementioned methods, you have a right to file a formal discrimination complaint against the agency within 15 days of receiving notice from your EEO counselor.
Filing a Formal Complaint
A detailed investigation will be conducted in regards to your submitted formal complaint which may take up to 180 days. You will be provided with two choices: either request a hearing before an Administrative Judge of EEOC or request an issuance of result by respective. In case if you are not satisfied with their decision or you disagree with a particular part of decision, you can appeal in EEOC or challenge it in federal district court. You also have a right to appeal against issued final order to EEOC Office of Federal Operations within 30 days.
Furthermore, you may post a request for reconsideration of appeal decision. However, you must demonstrate that there was a mistake about facts of your case or incorrect law was applied to presented facts in order to submit your reconsideration claim. However, decision issued after reconsideration is deemed final.
Filing a Lawsuit
You are also eligible to file a lawsuit against the agency; however, you must go through the administrative complaint process first. Using an experienced employment lawyer, you can file your lawsuit in court under following circumstances:
· Passage of 180 days after a complaint and no decision was issued and no appeal has been filed.
· Within 90 days from the day since agency decision was announced and no appeal has been filed.
· Passage of 180 days after an appeal and no decision was issued by EEOC.
· Within 90 days from the day since EEOC announced a decision on your appeal.
If you feel like you have been discriminated against, unjustly fired, or been treated unfairly on your job by your employer and want to schedule a free consultation session with an experienced employment lawyer, contact the Law Office of Michael Smith at 847-220-5197.