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Federal Employee’s EEO Contact Timely

Updated: Apr 13, 2018

On January 8, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Office of Federal Operations (EEOC’s OFO) issued a decision that reminds federal employees they have only 45-days from the date of the last discriminatory action to initiate EEO contact.



On January 8, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Office of Federal Operations (EEOC’s OFO) issued a decision that reminds federal employees they have only 45-days from the date of the last discriminatory action to initiate EEO contact. In Carolann P., v. Dept. of Commerce, EEO Appeal No. 0120152471 (Jan. 8, 2016), the federal employee initiated EEO contact by sending an email to the EEO counselor on March 6, 2015, in which she requested counseling “regarding a complaint of impact.”  The employee was complaining that she was denied training on January 24, 2015, and other times previously. The Agency dismissed the employee’s EEO complaint for (1) untimely EEO contact and (2) failure to state a claim.


Pursuant to 29 C.F.R. § 1614.105(a)(1), a federal employee who thinks that they have been aggrieved has only 45-days to initiate contact with an EEO counselor. The EEOC has held that counselor contact does not occur until an individual signals an intent to begin the EEO process. Allen v. USPS, EEO Request No. 05950933 (July 9, 1996). In its decision, the EEOC’s OFO explained that the Agency erred dismissing the complaint because the employee’s initial email to the EEO counselor signaled an intent to begin the EEO process and therefore the claim related to the January 24, 2015, denial of training was timely.  Although the Agency additionally alleged that the employee was not aggrieved by the denial of training, this decision also held that by stating that she was denied training, the employee was alleging a harm or loss that stated a claim.

Because of the short 45-day deadline, federal employees who suspect they may have been subjected to discrimination should not delay in contacting their Agency’s EEO counselor.  If you would like a consultation with Lynette A. Whitfield to discuss your EEO complaint, please call 301.869.8774, or click here make your request for a consultation.

This blog is not intended to provide legal advice or representation, but rather to provide very general information regarding a variety of subject areas. The viewing of the information contained on this blog does not create or establish an attorney-client relationship. Further, this information should not be relied upon without first consulting with an attorney regarding your specific situation.
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