To help eliminate barriers to equality of opportunity in all aspects of federal employment, a complaint system exists for those who feel they have been discriminated against because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability status, genetic information, sexual orientation, and/or the fact that you have participated in prior discrimination complaint activity.
If you are a PHMSA employee or an applicant for employment with PHMSA and you believe that you have been discriminated against, based on one or more of the EEO factors identified above, you must contact (orally or in writing) the PHMSA Civil Rights Office or a PHMSA EEO Counselor. This contact must be within 45 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory action or within 45 calendar days of acquiring knowledge of the action. Matters brought to the Civil Rights Office or an EEO Counselor after the 45 calendar days will be counseled by the EEO Counselor; however, if the complaint is not resolved and a formal complaint is filed on the matter, the complaint may later be rejected for untimeliness.
Within 30 calendar days after the contact is made – unless the time is extended, the EEO Counselor will make an informal inquiry into the matter and seek to resolve the issue. During the counseling process, you may ask that your identity not be revealed. You may be accompanied, represented, and advised at all counseling interviews by a representative of your choice. You may also select Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as an alternative means of resolving issues. Contact the PHMSA Office of Civil Rights for more information and assistance on ADR. The EEO complaint procedure places a strong emphasis on reaching informal settlements at all stages of the process.
Once counseling is complete and there is no resolution to the matter, you will be given a letter that provides you with your rights to file a formal complaint. The EEO Complaint Process document explains the complete complaint process and provides time frames for each step in the process.
Although you may believe that a particular individual discriminated against you, EEO complaints are filed against the agency and the Secretary of Transportation, not against individuals. Those individuals named in your EEO complaint will be: (1) informed of your complaint allegations, (2) provided the opportunity to respond to the allegations, and (3) informed of their right to representation.