WOW! AFGE’S GUIDE TO FIGHTING DISCRIMINATION 

AFGE has published online a 170-page roadmap to the EEO complaint process for employees and union reps that underscores two things about the union. First is its obviously deep commitment to civil rights issues.  This is not something that was pulled together overnight by one person. It reflects a great deal of experience and insight about how to fight discrimination.  Second is its policy of empowering reps and employees by putting the information out there for them to tap into anytime they wish.  The union could have sent out word that when members and reps have questions they can track down a staff person to get the answer. That is a great way to keep local folks dependent on the union staff, whether at the national, district or council level. It also helps keep the electorate more manageable. But, instead, it did what it so often does not just for its own members, but everyone in government by posting it online. Thanks, AFGE. Attached is a copy of the Table of Contents for the Guide to give you a quick sense of how valuable this is.  We recommend that union reps post the link to their Favorites tab.

Table of Contents 

What is Discrimination ……………………………………………………………………………………………….1 

What is Equal Employment Opportunity? ………………………………………………………………….1 

Federal Statues …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1 

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act …………………………………………………………………………1
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act ……………………………………………………….1
  • The Equal Pay Act  …………………………………………………………………………………………..2
  • The Rehabilitation Act, ADA and ADAAA …………………………………………………………2
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act ……………………………………………………………………..4
  • The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act ………………………………………………..4 

Protected Statuses ………………………………………………………………………………………………………5 

Theories of Discrimination ………………………………………………………………………………………….8 

  • Disparate Treatment Cases ………………………………………………………………………………..8
  • Disparate Impact Cases ……………………………………………………………………………………..9
  • Harassment Cases …………………………………………………………………………………………….9
  • Failure to Accommodate Cases ………………………………………………………………………..11
  • Retaliation/Reprisal Cases ……………………………………………………………………………….12 

Where can an EEO Claim Be Heard?……………………………………………………………………….12 

  • Chart:  Where Should I Bring My Complaint? ……………………………………………………14
  • Forum Selection Questions ………………………………………………………………………………15

Overview of the EEO Complaint Process …………………………………………………………..16 

Stages of the EEO Complaint Process ………………………………………………………………………17 

  • Informal Stage ………………………………………………………………………………………………17
    • Initial Counselor Contact …………………………………………………………………………………17
    • Pre-Complaint Counseling ……………………………………………………………………………….18
    • The Agency ADR Process ……………………………………………………………………………….19
    • If there is No Resolution at the Informal Stage …………………………………………………..19 

The Formal Stage ………………………………………………………………………………………….20

  • Drafting the Formal Complaint …………………………………………………………………………20
  • Letter of Acceptance of Claims ………………………………………………………………………..21   

The Investigation Stage …………………………………………………………………………………22

  • Authority of Investigator………………………………………………………………………………….22
  • Responsibilities of Federal Employees ………………………………………………………………22
  • At the Completion of the Investigation  ……………………………………………………………..23            

How to Request a Hearing  ………………………………………………………………………………23

How to Request a Final Agency Decision ………………………………………………………….23 

The Hearing Stage…………………………………………………………………………………………24

  • The Acknowledgment Order ……………………………………………………………………………24
  • Discovery ………………………………………………………………………………………………………25
  • Types of Discovery Requests……………………………………………………………………………25
  • Preparing Discovery Requests ………………………………………………………………………….26
  • Responding to Discovery Requests …………………………………………………………………..26
  • Objections ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..27
  • Failure to Respond to Discovery Requests …………………………………………………………28
  • Settlement and Offers of Resolution ………………………………………………………………….29
  • Summary Judgment/Decision Without Hearing ………………………………………………….30
  • Prehearing  …………………………………………………………………………………………………….31
  • Hearing  …………………………………………………………………………………………………………32 

Final Action Stage …………………………………………………………………………………………33

  • Request for Immediate Final Agency Decision …………………………………………………..33
  • FAD Following a Decision by the AJ  ……………………………………………………………….33 

Appeals to the Commission Stage  ………………………………………………………………….34 

  • Requesting an Appeal ……………………………………………………………………………………..34
  • Standard of Review for the Appeal ……………………………………………………………………34
  • Request for Reconsideration …………………………………………………………………………….35 

Right to Civil Action Stage …………………………………………………………………………….35 

  • Burdens of Proof ………………………………………………………………………………………………………36 
  • Disparate Treatment ………………………………………………………………………………………..38
  • Disparate Impact …………………………………………………………………………………………….39 Harassment/Hostile Work Environment …………………………………………………………….39
  • Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodation………………………………………………….44 Retaliation ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..46      

Additional information ……………………………………………………………………………………………..48 

  • Class Action Claims ………………………………………………………………………………………..48
  • Damages ………………………………………………………………………………………………………..49
  • Back Pay ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….49
  • Attorney Fees …………………………………………………………………………………………………49
  • Injunctive Relief……………………………………………………………………………………………..49
  • Front Pay ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….49
  • Compensatory Damages ………………………………………………………………………………….50
  • Post-Judgment Interest …………………………………………………………………………………….51
  • Punitive Damages …………………………………………………………………………………………..51
  • Settlements …………………………………………………………………………………………………….52
  • Nonmonetary Relief ………………………………………………………………………………………..52 

Additional Protections ………………………………………………………………………………………………53 

The No Fear Act……………………………………………………………………………………………..53

Management Directive 715 ………………………………………………………………………………53

Executive Orders …………………………………………………………………………………………….53

Mixed Case Complaints and Appeals ………………………………………………………………..55 

 

Appendix A:  Full Text of Part 1614 …………………………………………………………………57

Appendix B:  Sample Discovery Forms …………………………………………………………..113

Appendix C:  Sample Settlement Agreement ……………………………………………………140

Appendix D:  Sample Motion for Sanctions ……………………………………………………..146

Appendix E:  Sample MSJ Response ………………………………………………………………151

About AdminUN

FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
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One Response to

  1. Ningauble3020 says:

    This article is exceptional because it speaks to the very best of what makes AFGE a powerful progressive Union. Open source intelligence helps unionists tear down the old order whether fighting for civil rights as individuals or as a collective peaceful army. I have a dream that all unions will rise to the standard AFGE has promoted with their Equal Opportunity guide. Thank you, FEDSMILL!

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