Filing an EEO Complaint - Office of Resolution Management, Diversity & Inclusion (ORMDI)
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Office of Resolution Management, Diversity & Inclusion (ORMDI)


Filing an EEO Complaint

What is the role of Office of Resolution Management (ORM) in processing complaints of discrimination? ORM provides Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint processing services within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The complaint process includes counseling, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and investigation.
Who can initiate a complaint of discrimination? An employee, former employee, or applicant for employment, who believes discrimination occurred on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender orientation, national origin, age (40 or over), disability, genetic information, or retaliation for EEO activities, may initiate a complaint of discrimination.
What are the phases in processing a complaint of discrimination? There are two: The Informal Stage consists of EEO counseling. The Formal Stage requires a formal complaint of discrimination and may include an investigation.
Are there time limits in the informal stage? An aggrieved person must begin the informal stage within 45 calendar days of the date of the alleged discrimination by calling 888-566-3982 or visiting an ORM Office. If no contact is made within the 45-day period, the right to pursue an EEO complaint may be lost.  Below is a flowchart on the informal process from initiation to closure.
What will happen during the informal stage? The EEO counselor will advise the complainant that he/she may pursue resolution through EEO counseling or through his/her facility's Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program. The counselor will encourage ADR and explain its benefits. EEO counselors attempt to resolve disputes at the earliest possible time and lowest level.
What if the complainant pursues the dispute through traditional EEO counseling? The EEO counselor will try to facilitate resolution between the parties; must complete counseling within 30 calendar days of the initial contact; and issue the complainant a Notice of Right to File a Discrimination Complaint.
What if the complainant elects ADR? The informal stage may be extended up to 90 calendar days if ADR is elected. If resolution is not reached within that period or ADR continues beyond that period, the EEO counselor will issue a Notice of Right to File a Discrimination Complaint.
How and when does the formal complaint stage begin? If the informal stage does not result in the resolution of the dispute, the complainant may file a formal complaint, in writing, preferably on VA Form 4939, and submit it to the local ORM Field Office. The complainant must submit the formal complaint within 15 calendar days of receipt of the Notice of Right to File a Discrimination Complaint or the right to file a complaint may be lost.
What happens when ORM receives the complaint? ORM reviews the complaint to determine if it meets the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) requirements for acceptance and further processing.
What happens when the complaint is accepted for processing? ORM will assign an EEO investigator to the complaint. The investigator will take sworn statements from the complainant, responsible management officials, and other witnesses and gather relevant documents. The investigator will prepare a report summarizing the evidence. The complainant will receive a copy of the completed investigation file and be advised of the right to request either an EEOC hearing or a Final Agency Decision (FAD).
What happens if ORM does not accept the complaint for processing? ORM will advise the complainant of the right to appeal this decision to EEOC.
Who will issue the final decision concerning the complaint? The Office of Employment Discrimination Complaint Adjudication (OEDCA) issues a final agency decision (FAD) on the merits of complaints or, if the complainant has elected to have a hearing before the EEOC, after a decision has been made by an EEOC Administrative Judge.
What if the Complainant needs to add issues to the initial complaint? The complainant should contact ORM prior to the conclusion of the investigation to amend the complaint.
What should the complainant do if he/she believes the terms of a complaint settlement agreement have been breached?

The complainant must notify the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Resolution Management, in writing, within 30 days of the alleged breach of the settlement. Send notice to:

Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Resolution Management (08)
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420.

Absent notice within 30 calendar days, the right to claim a breach of settlement may be lost.

What resources would help my understanding of EEOC’s handling of complaints?

29 CFR Part 1614

EEOC Management Directive 110