How EEOC Complaints Work

If you plan to file a formal complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you will need to do so within 15 days after you have been given notice from your EEO Counselor about how to file. This notice should be sent after you have had a final interview with the EEO Counselor. The complaint has to be filed at the same EEO office that you received counseling from. The agency is also required to provide you with a reasonable amount of time during work hours to prepare your complaint. If you don’t think you have been given a reasonable amount of time, you should contact the agency's EEO Director or EEOC's Office of Federal Operations.

What Do I Need to Include in My Complaint?

You should include the following in your complaint:

  • Your name, address, and telephone number
  • A brief description of the events that you believe were discriminatory
  • Reasons you believe you were discriminated against
  • A description of any injury you suffered
  • Your signature

After you file your complaint, the agency will review it to decide if your case should be dismissed for procedural reasons. The agency will then investigate the claim if it is not dismissed. If the claim is dismissed, you have 30 days to appeal the decision.

The agency has 180 days from when you filed your complaint to finish its investigation. The investigation can be extended by another 180 days if new incidents are added to your complaint. You also have the right to ask for an extension of up to 90 days.

After the investigation is finished, the agency will give you two options: you can request a hearing before an EEOC Administrative Judge or ask the agency to issue a decision about whether discrimination occurred.

Do you need help filing an EEOC complaint? Contact our DC team of federal employment attorneys to schedule a free consultation.