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Equal Employment Opportunity

Overview of Equal Employment Opportunity

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is the concept that every person, regardless of their personal identifying factors - race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age (40 or more years of age), disability status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or complaint status - has the right to fully participate in every aspect of employment and to be afforded all of the same terms, conditions, and privileges of work.

The EEO Program is the management tool by which the concept of EEO is implemented. The objective of the EEO Program is to promote equal opportunity in employment and to identify and eliminate discriminatory policies and practices.

An effective EEO program includes a vigorous affirmative action program and a discrimination processing system that facilitates the early resolution of complaints. The PHMSA Office of Civil Rights develops and implements PHMSA's equal employment opportunity, and diversity programs, in accordance with, but not limited to, the requirements of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Management Directive 715, and Sections 501 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The PHMSA Office of Civil Rights also sponsors training for managers, supervisors, and employees, to include such subjects as leadership, conflict management, Equal Employment Opportunity (EE), diversity management, and harassment prevention.

Legal Authorities

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the:
    • Equal Pay Act of 1963;
    • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967;
    • EEO Act of 1972;
    • Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and,
    • Civil Rights Act of 1991.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
  • 29 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1614.
  • Executive Order 11246: Equal Employment Opportunity

Prohibited Discrimination

Federal law prohibits discrimination against employees and applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age (40 or more years of age), and/or mental or physical disability. Federal law also prohibits restraints, interference, coercion, discrimination, reprisal, retaliation against persons who actively pursue discrimination complaints or who act as their representatives or witnesses.

Federal law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. It is the policy of the Federal Government to ensure equality of opportunity and full participation by persons with disabilities with regard to employment, use of public services, and telecommunications. Agencies are required to make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental disabilities of individuals. Building accommodations must comply with the standards set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to ensure ready access to and use by persons with disabilities.

DOT policy prohibits discrimination against civilian employees or applicants for civilian employment on the basis of sexual orientation. Procedures for processing complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation have been established and implemented.

Sexual harassment is unacceptable behavior and should not be tolerated by anyone. Unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Initiating the EEO Complaint Process

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, 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 within 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) a PHMSA or any other DOT EEO Counselor. This contact must be within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory action or within 45 days of acquiring knowledge of the action. Matters raised after the 45-day time limit will be counseled by an EEO Counselor, although a formal complaint may later be rejected for untimeliness.

The EEO Counselor will make an informal inquiry into the matter and seek a resolution of the matter on an informal basis within 30 calendar days after such contact is made - unless the time is extended. The EEO Counselor will not disclose your identity during his/her inquiry without your prior written approval. 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.

Although you may believe that a particular individual discriminated against you, EEO complaints are filed against the agency, 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.

People with Disabilities Program

PHMSA is committed to providing equal access for all Americans and preventing discrimination against persons with disabilities.

Reasonable Accommodation

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, managers and supervisors are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified Federal employees and applicants. Reasonable accommodations are changes or modifications to a job or work environment that make it possible for an employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of that job.

DOT Disability Resource Center (DRC)

The DRC provides job accommodations, training and other related services to DOT employees and job applicants.

Section 508

Section 508 establishes requirements for electronic and information technology developed, maintained, procured, or used by the Federal government. Section 508 requires Federal electronic and information technology to be accessible to people with disabilities, including employees and members of the public. is the federal government's one-stop website for information of interest to people with disabilities, their families, employers, service providers and many others.

PHMSA Web Accessibility

Visit PHMSA's Accessibility pages for additional information on these topics.