Informal Complaint Process

Intake Process for Filing an Informal Complaint

An EEO Specialist will be the first point of contact when an individual makes contact with APHIS Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Center and expresses an interest in filing a complaint of discrimination. The Specialist takes relevant basic information from the individual. The complainant is to provide his or her current address and telephone number(s) for him or herself and any representative.

A designation of representation form will be mailed to the complainant and is required to be returned to the agency. The case will then be assigned to an EEO Counselor. In some cases, a counselor may also take basic information from an individual. That does not mean the individual who took the information will be the one to handle or process the complaint.

The individual will be advised of his or her rights and responsibilities in the EEO process, including the option to elect ADR, under the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines.

Different Types of Complaints Individual Class Complaint

An individual complaint which is filed before or after the class complaint is filed, which comes within the definition of the class allegation(s), will not be dismissed but will be subsumed within the class complaint. If the class complaint is dismissed at the certification stage, the individual complaint may still proceed. If the class proceeds to a hearing, the individual claim may be used by the class representative at the liability stage of the process, or it may be presented at the remedy stage by the complainant. If the class complaint is dismissed at the certification stage, the class members may not proceed unless they have timely filed individual complaints.

Class Complaint

A class complaint is a written complaint of discrimination filed on behalf of a class by the agent of the class, alleging that the class is so numerous that a consolidated complaint by the members of the class is impractical, that there are questions of fact common to the class, that the claims of the agent are typical of the claims of the class, and that the agent of the class or, if represented, the representative, will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class. Section 1614.204(b) provides that, as with an individual complainant, an employee who seeks to represent a class of employees must seek counseling and be counseled in accordance with 1614.105, i.e., (See Section Information Complaint Process)

MSPB Mixed Case Complaints

In addition to negotiated grievance procedures, an aggrieved person may present an allegation that constitutes a mixed case. A mixed case is one which alleges discrimination in connection with a matter which is also appealable to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

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