STAGES OF YOUR EEO COMPLAINT PROCESS
Pre-Complaint * Informal Complaint * Formal Complaint * Admin Hearing
Below are the basic stages and processes of an EEO Complaint. Every case is different, and may or may not include everythng listed below. The list below is not every possible action that can happen in a case, particularly with the Administrative Hearing where there can be many possible legal technicalities and filings; However, our non-attorney representatves have years of experience representing federal employees at every stage of EEO Complaints and can handle any situation. We can represent you for some or all of the stages. When you need help you can hire us just to get you through the tough spot, or we can represent you from beginning to end. For a better understanding of how these stages apply to your case, call today for a free consultation.
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Representation against any Agency, in any State.
Contacting us before you file or if you are unsure if there has been discrimination
Contacting us after you have already contacted the EEO Counselor or filed your informal complaint
Contacting us before you file is important:
To determine if your complaint is an EEO complaint or better off as an MSPB appeal.
To make sure all of your "ducks are in a row", that there is not some step, notice, or request, that you must make sure you try before filing. Agencies often win cases because the Complainant did not make sure that they had followed all required procedures.
To make sure that the discrimination is severe and pervasive enough to establish a prima facie case. Sometimes we have to tell people that the discrimination needs to be greater and for the employee to wait until the Agency screws up bigger. We want to make sure that the Agency's actions can not be argued to be normal everyday errors.
In other words, you should contact us before you file to make sure you don't wind-up saying "I wish I would have..." or "I should have..."
Our initial consultation is free. If you are thinking about filing a complaint, contact us first - 888-817-8448
You have either contacted the EEO Counselor or maybe you filed your informal complaint. We can still help by amending your complaint.
Often, more important than what to put into a complaint is what to keep out. It will hurt the case if the Complainant tries to throw everything they can think of into a complaint.
They name every basis - Race, Age, Gender, Religion, Disability, Retaliation and anything else that could apply. This is a mistake. We look at the evidence and determine the most likely cause(s). By naming every possible basis, you are both dimishing the strength of your case, and mulitplying the work you will have to do later on.
They list everything wrong their supervisor has ever done, including to other people in the office. Bad move. This is not a general complaint about your boss, this is not "my boss treats me bad" complaint, this is not a "my boss treats everyone like crap" complaint. This is a discrimination complaint, and must be focused on the events that support the argument that whatever has happened to you has happened because of discrimination.
Employees often lose their case because their good evidence is lost in a sea of unrelated issues. There are times that an Agency will actually use what we have named - "The A**hole Defense" - that is when the Agency's defense is - "See, it is not discrimination, he treats everybody like crap...", and believe it or not, you can lose your case.
The shaping of your complaint will have great consequences later on, when your case is decided either by the Agency or by an EEOC Adminiatrative Judge. It will also affect how your complaint is investigated.
Even if you have already contacted the EEO Counselor or filed the inital complaint, contact us. We can review your filings and amend the complaint, and see you through the rest of the informal process. - 888-817-8448
Your Informal complaint was not resolved and you are about to, or already have filed your Request for Formal Investigation.
Important Tip - Do not wait to start preparing your Discovery requests. Start immediately after filing for Administrative Hearing
INITIAL CONFERENCE AND DISCOVERY
(this is our most requested service)
This is relatively new part of the process, and one that is very helpful. Before any requirements or deadlines start, the Administative Judge (AJ - yeah, get used to it), orders a conference call to go over the basics of the case, see if there are any issues that need to be addressed early, and to set-up deadlines. There can be motions which will require responses. All the possible issues that may or may not come up are too broad to be covered here, but if you have filed for a hearing and you have not yet had an initial conference, we can discuss this further in our free consultation. 888-817-8448
Interrogatories, Requests for Documents, and Requests for Admissions
Discovery is when each side asks the other for information and documentation. I promise you the Agency is going to ask you ridiculously broad questions which require you to give every detail of any event that may relate to your case; the dates, times and specifics of every conversation you have had with anyone about any of the issues in your complaint; and more. People hire us for this stage because they feel overwhelmed by the Agency's questions. We know how to object and limit the information you need to provide to be reasonable. We go over the Agency's Discovery Requests, prepare the Objections, and then tell you in plain English what information you need to provide. Often, we Object to entire questions as improper, and we respond if they file a Motion to Compel.
The other half of Discovery is you asking the Agency for information and documents. We ask you to make a list on information or documents (records, emails, etc) that you want that may support your case. We then translate them into proper discovery requests. Specific language and certain limitations are needed or you will get no answers. We also review your case and file addition requests based upon your types of claims and what has been helpful in similar cases. If the Agency does not provide the answers, or unreasonably objects, then we file a Motion to Compel against the Agency.
The process follows the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as a guide. There are many techincal parts to the Discovery process. We are experienced at objecting to the Agency's requests and making the process easy for you to understand. We will protect you against the unreasonable demands of the Agency. We will fight for you to get the information you need from the Agency.
No matter where you are in the Discovery Process, call us so we can discuss your case,and how we can help. 888-817-8448
At some point the AJ is going to order you provide a settlement offer and for the Agency to make a counter-offer (which is usually nothing at that point). However, if you have a good case and have presented it well, the AJ sometimes takes a more active role and settlement is possible (no one wants to annoy the AJ). However, you will need to know what can be included, and what will be excluded, from the harms you have suffered. We will also need to present how what the Agency did was the causee or proximate cause of the damages you have suffered. Presenting these arguments in the proper way is crucial to you getting your maximum award. There also may be types of harms, that you may not have thought of, for which you can recover. Most importantly is to have a realistic idea of what most AJs are likely to value your harms.
Be sure to have someone experienced in EEO Administrative Hearings assist with any negotiations. 888-817-8448
Typically, the Prehearing Report is just a list of the witnesses you want to call, and any documents you want to use that are not in the ROI (remember to include receipts and records of expenses); however sometimes individual AJ asks for more. It could be anything from a new settlement demand, all the way to wanting every fact you are going to present written out, but typically it is fairly easy. If you get an AJ asking for more than you can handle, give us a call and we can go over the AJ's requirements and we'll go over how we can help. 888-817-8448.
This is what you want to get to- a hearing in front of the EEOC Administrative Judge. A hearing is similar to civil court proceedings but are often less formal. One of the biggest differences is that the AJ takes a far more active role, including taking a turn questioning witnesses, which is very helpful for nervous Complainants.
Most of clients hire us to get them to this point- so they can explain their case, what happened to them, to someone outside the Agency. We do our best to get you to have your day.
Of course, some clients hire us to handle the Hearing as well, but if you are looking for representation for your hearing, you will not make that decision based on a website.
Congratualtions, you made it past the first round of the Agency stalling. Next comes the investigation.
Just like with the informal, the first thing we are concerned with is the complaint and whether or not it needs to be amended before the Investigator is assigned (usually 30-60 days after request has been filed). We can review how the Agency has framed your complaint. Often the Agency will frame your complaint in the worst way possible for your case, or will leave out critical information. There is even term, "fragmentation" that is a common action of Agency's. Fragmentation is when the Agency takes each example of a hostile work environment and takes each on separately instead of combining them into one charge. They do that in order to keep the claim from rising to the level of severe and persistant that is needed to win your case. We can stop that from happening by properly amending your complaint.
Next we prepare you for the Investigator's phone interview of you under oath.
For the interview itself, we conference in you and the Investigtor so we are with you during the interview. We help keep you focused on the answers and make sure you include the important information. Almost everyone gets nervous and forgets to mention important facts; we make sure that information gets included. We and the Investigator are EEO professionals, our clients are not, so we often have to re-word the Investigator's questions in the best way for our client to understand and give the answers that are the best presentation for your case.
After your interview, if needed, we submit a list of witnesses that support your case, and/or submit questions or issues we want to ensure the Investigator asks the Agency's witnesses. The Investigtor is not required to comply, but we understand their legal obligations and know what is expected and reasonable. Typically the Investigator accepts most or all of our questions and witnesses. If the Investigator does not question our witnesses, we will ask the witness to write out a statement and we later file to have the statements included in the official Report of Investigation (ROI - get used to it, it is a term you will hear often later in the process).
Rebuttal is when you choose to respond to the Management's statements.
After the Investigtor interviews you, they interview the witnesses including the Responsible Management Official (RMO - another term you will hear again).
In most cases, the Investigator provides us with a copy of the RMO's and witnesses' affidavits. Do not be surprised when you read how they will misrepesent or leave out facts. From that, if needed, we work with you to provide rebuttal. Remember, you know what happened and how your unit works better than we do, so you will tell us what is wrong with their statements, or what information they failed to provide. We then re-work the information and submit the rebuttal, and usually request specific questions be asked of the RMO and/or supporting witnesses.
This process can go back and forth several times.
REPORT OF INVESTIGATION
The Investigator will take all of the information gathered and file a Report of Investigation. We will go over this report. Remember that the Investigator does not issue a finding or decision.
You then have a choice:
Final Agency Decision - FAD. Which is the ROI being sent to the Agency to make a decision. Our experience is that few employees choose this because they doubt the Agency will find against itself.
Request Administrative Hearing. This is when the case will be heard by an EEO Administrative Judge, and will be the first time someone outside the Agency wil be making decisions about your case.
Remember you have 30 days from receiving the ROI to file your request for Administrative Hearing, or it will automatically go for FAD If you are our client, we will file the request for you..
No matter where you are in you formal complaint process - call us for a free consultation. Even if there is nothing more to be done on your investigation, if you plan on filing for an Administrative Hearing you need to start planning now. - 888-817-8448
Initial Status Conference & Discovery - Settlement Negotiations - Prehearing Hearing Report - Hearing
Please note: The stages presented are not all inclusive. There are other possible issues and motions and we can handle them all. Call today for free consultation to discuss your case and situation.
Call us for a free consultation so we can discuss what is going on in your case, and what we can do to help. We can provide experienced representation in any state, against any Agency. - 888-817-8448