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EEO Policies, Plans, and Procedures

Equal Employment Opportunity

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is a fundamental right of all employees and applicants for employment. Employees and applicants are to be provided a full and fair opportunity for employment, career advancement and access to programs without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, disability (physical or mental), sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or parental status.

Equal Employment Opportunity Integrated into Our Mission

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ mission is to inform the development of national civil rights policy and improve enforcement of federal civil rights laws. See 42 U.S.C. § 1975a. In carrying out its mission, the Commission strives to maintain:

  • A work environment free of unlawful discrimination.
  • A workforce respectful of our nation’s diversity and our agency’s civil rights mission.
  • Equal employment opportunity institutionalized as an integral part of the Commission’s mission.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity professionals who are properly trained, impartial, and effective.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ Commitment to Equal Employment Opportunity

Commitment to a Safe Work Environment Free from Violence

It is the policy of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to promote a safe environment for its employees free from threats of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, and other disruptive behavior.

Nonviolence in the Workplace Policy

Anti-Harassment Policy

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ policy defines harassment/harassing conduct as any unwelcome conduct, verbal or physical, based on an individual’s race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, parental status or retaliation/reprisal for making reports or allegations of harassment or providing information related to such allegations when: (1) The behavior can reasonably be considered to adversely affect the employee’s work or the general work environment or (2) An employment decision affecting the employee is based upon the employee’s acceptance or rejection of such conduct. Commission employees who believe they have been the subject of an incident of harassing conduct in violation of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Policy Statement on Anti-Harassment must report the matter immediately to their supervisor or to Human Resources. The Commission’s Anti-Harassment procedures are designed to assist the Commission in 1) preventing harassing conduct before it becomes severe or pervasive, i.e., harassment within the meaning of the antidiscrimination laws, 2) conducting a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation into allegations of harassing conduct, and 3) taking immediate and appropriate corrective action when the Commission determines that harassing conduct has occurred.

Anti-Harassment Policy

Commitment to Work Environment Free from Sexual Harassment

The Commission is committed to providing a workplace that is free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment in the workplace is against the law and will not be tolerated.  When the Commission determines that an allegation of sexual harassment is credible, it will take prompt and appropriate corrective action. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines “sexual harassment” as unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature when: 1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment; 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance by creating an intimidating hostile or sexually offensive work environment. See 29 C.F.R. Part 1604.11 (a).  Sexual harassment may take many forms - subtle and indirect, or blatant and overt.

  • It may be conduct toward an individual of the opposite sex or the same sex.
  • It may occur between peers or between individuals in a hierarchical relationship
  • It may be aimed at coercing an individual to participate in an unwanted sexual relationship or it may have the effect of causing an individual to change behavior or work performance.
  • It may consist of repeated actions or may even arise from a single incident if sufficiently egregious.

All employees are subject to the Commission’s Zero Tolerance Policy of Discrimination and Harassment. Individuals who violate this policy may be subject to discipline ranging from a written warning up to and including discharge or other appropriate sanction.

Reports of sexual harassment to appropriate management officials are taken seriously and will be dealt with promptly. The specific action taken in any particular case depends on the nature and gravity of the conduct reported, and may include intervention, mediation, investigation, and the initiation of disciplinary processes as discussed above. Where sexual harassment is found to have occurred, the Commission will act to stop the harassment, act to prevent its recurrence, and discipline, where appropriate, those responsible.

Sexual Harassment Policy

Commitment to Work Environment Free from Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

It is the policy of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to provide a workplace free from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. As discussed in the policy, this type of discrimination is not permitted under Executive Orders or under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See David Baldwin v. Dep't of Transportation, EEOC Appeal No. 120133080 (July 15, 2015); Executive Order 13,087 entitled Further Amendment to Executive Order 11,478, Equal Opportunity in the Federal Government (May 28, 1998)(adding sexual orientation); See Macy v. Department of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821 (April 20, 2012); Executive Order 13,672 entitled Further Amendments to Executive Order 11,478, Equal Opportunity in the Federal Government (July 21, 2014)(adding gender identity).

Sexual Orientation Gender Identity EEO Policy

For Employees and Applicants – Filing a Complaint of Discrimination

What is a Complaint of Discrimination?

  • A discrimination complaint is an allegation reported by an aggrieved person (current or former employee, or applicant for employment) who believes that they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, disability, retaliation/reprisal, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or parental status due to an action or inaction that adversely affects their employment.

How to File an EEO Complaint?

  • Who Can File? Any present or former U.S. Commission on Civil Rights employee or applicant for employment who believes they have been discriminated against based on race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, disability, retaliation/reprisal, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or parental status.
  • When Must Allegations of Discrimination be Raised? You must contact an EEO counselor within 45 calendar days of the date of the alleged discriminatory act or, if a personnel action is involved, within 45 calendar days of its effective date. The EEO Counselor must fill out an intake form, provide you with a statement of your rights, and an overview of the EEO process, and immediately notify the agency of the complaint. EEO Notice for Employees and Applicants
  • How to Contact an EEO Counselor? Please reach out to the EEO Director, Latrice Foshee at 202-376-7665 or email at lfoshee@usccr.gov.
  • What Information Will the EEO Counselor Collect?
    • Name, mailing address, email address, and telephone number.
    • Position, grade, office, and duty station location, or for applicants, the position applied for.
    • Specific basis(es) of discrimination alleged, i.e., race, color, sex, etc.
    • Brief description of the action that gave rise to the complaint, the date of the event(s) and requested remedy.
    • As appropriate, supporting documentation and list of potential witnesses.

Policy on Alternative Dispute Resolution in the EEO Process

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires all federal agencies to establish or make available an ADR program during the pre-complaint and formal complaint stages of the EEO process. Additionally, EEOCs regulation, 29 C.F.R. § 1614.603, requires agencies to make reasonable efforts to voluntarily settle EEO discrimination complaints as early as possible in, and throughout, the administrative process.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy

EEO Data Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act

The No Fear Act (Public Law 107-174) requires that federal agencies be publicly accountable for violations of anti-discrimination and whistleblower protection laws. Federal agencies must post both quarterly and annual statistical data relating to federal sector Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints on its public website, reimburse the Judgment Fund for any payments made, and notify employees and applicants for employment about their rights under the federal antidiscrimination and whistleblower laws. The No Fear Act and its implementing regulations also require federal agencies to report annually on:

  • The number of cases pending or resolved in Federal District Court in each fiscal year arising under federal anti-discrimination and whistleblower protection laws;
  • The total number of employees disciplined and the specific nature of the disciplinary action taken for violation of antidiscrimination and whistleblower protection laws;
  • Final year-end statistical data of federal sector EEO activity;
  • A detailed description of the agency’s policy for taking disciplinary action for conduct that is found to violate federal antidiscrimination and whistleblower protection laws;
  • An analysis of the trends and causes of complaints of discrimination, as well as practical knowledge, gained through experience and actions planned or taken to improve complaint or civil rights programs with the goal of eliminating discrimination.
  • Amounts reimbursed for any payments made from the Judgment Fund and any budgetary adjustments required to comply with the reimbursement obligation; and
  • A written plan to train employees about their rights.

Each year, the Commission must submit its No Fear Act report to Congress, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Justice, and Office of Personnel Management.

In addition to posting the annual report, Section 1614.703(a) of the EEOC’s Rules requires agencies to post their statistical data pertaining to EEO complaints each quarter (quarterly report), The quarterly report contains the number of complaints filed; the number of persons filing those complaints; the number of persons filing multiple complaints; the bases and issues alleged in the complaints; the average length of time in takes an agency to complete certain stages of the complaint process; the number of final agency actions in which discrimination is found, broken down by issue, basis, and whether a hearing was held; the number of pending complaints that were filed in previous fiscal years, including the number of persons who filed those complaints; and, the number of complaints for which an investigation was not completed in a timely manner. Agencies must post current fiscal year data, updated quarterly, as well as data for the past five fiscal years.

USCCR No FEAR Act Report FY 2019

Commitment to Hiring Individuals with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities are important members of the diverse culture that makes up the federal workforce. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is committed to improving employment opportunities for all individuals including disabled veterans, individuals with disabilities, and individuals with targeted disabilities. The Commission’s human resources specialists understand federal hiring regulations specific to individuals with disabilities and work to ensure that resumes of qualified Schedule A candidates are received. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights fills its positions through competitive and non-competitive hiring. To apply for a non-competitive appointment through the Schedule A (5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u)) hiring authority, individuals with specific disabilities (deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial paralysis, complete paralysis, epilepsy, severe intellectual disability, psychiatric disability, and/or dwarfism) must have documentation from a licensed medical professional (a physician or other medical professional certified by a state, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory to practice medicine); a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist (state or private); or any federal agency, state agency, or agency of the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory that issues or provides disability benefits. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply for jobs filled either way. All applicants who will be considered for potential employment must meet the position qualification requirements and be able to perform the essential duties of the position.

Reasonable Accommodations

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights provides reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the hiring process, please notify the Commission Janice Minor, Human Resources Specialist at 202-376-7571 or via TTY at (202) 376-8166. Commission employees should submit a reasonable accommodation request to the Director of the Office of Management. Decisions on granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.

Provision of Reasonable Accommodations

Personal Assistance Services

On January 3, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a final rule amending the regulations implementing Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The amended regulations require federal agencies, as an affirmative obligation, to provide Personal Assistance Services, absent undue hardship, to individuals who need them because of their targeted disability. Targeted disabilities are a subset of disabilities deemed more severe on the Office of Personnel Management's Standard Form 256, such as Traumatic Brain Injury and paralysis. Personal Assistance Services means assistance with performing activities of daily living that an individual would typically perform if he or she did not have a disability, such as eating and using the restroom. Agencies must provide Personal Assistance Services when the individual is working or on work-related travel.

It is the Commission’s policy to provide Personal Assistance Services to its employees in accordance with 29 Code of Federal Regulations § 1614.203(d)(5), absent undue hardship on the agency. In addition, the Commission shall not discriminate against individuals in employment decisions based on their need for Personal Assistance Services. Employees requesting Personal Assistance Services shall notify their supervisor and/or their servicing Reasonable Accommodation point of contact in order to initiate the process. In order to address requests for Personal Assistance Services, the Commission shall follow the following policy:

Personal Assistance Services Procedures

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. § 794d)

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 508) requires all electronic and information technology (also referred to as information and communication technology) that is developed, procured, maintained, or used by a federal agency to be accessible to people with disabilities. Examples of information and communication technology includes web sites, telephones, multimedia devices, and copiers. Access available to individuals with disabilities must be comparable to access available to others. Standards for Section 508 compliance are developed and maintained by the United States Access Board. Further information about the Access Board's standards and Section 508 generally may be found at www.section508.gov.

If you have questions about the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ Section 508 program supporting information and communication technology, please e-mail section508@usccr.gov. For information about filing a complaint against the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights under Section 508, contact Lenore Ostrowsky at (202) 376-8591 or TTY at (202) 376-8116. To file a complaint against another agency, contact that agency's Section 508 Coordinator. Contact information for Section 508 Coordinators may be found at www.section508.gov/508-coordinator-listing.

Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. §§ 4151--57)

The Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) requires access to facilities that are designed, built, altered, or leased with Federal funds. The Access Board is the federal agency responsible for enforcing the Architectural Barriers Act. The Access Board's accessibility standards are available on their website at www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-aba-standards. Complaints about inaccessibility of U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ buildings or facilities should be made directly to the Access Board. Please visit the following for information on filing a complaint: www.access-board.gov/aba-enforcement/file-a-complaint.

   Updated: December 19, 2019