United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Pre-Complaint Process for Employment Discrimination Complaints

If you believe that you have been subjected to discrimination or reprisal based on the relevant Federal Civil Rights Statutes, Regulations, and Policies, you may pursue your claim with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) beginning with the pre-complaint stage of the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Complaint Process. To initiate the pre-complaint process, you must first contact an EEO Counselor, or the NRC's Office of Small Business and Civil Rights (SBCR), within 45 calendar days of the date of the alleged discriminatory event. (In the event of a personnel action, the initial contact must be made within 45 calendar days of the effective date of that action.)

During the initial interview, the EEO counselor will advise you, in writing, regarding your rights and responsibilities in both the pre-complaint stage and the formal complaint stage of the process. In addition, pursuant to the regulations of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as defined in Title 29, Part 1614, of the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR Part 1614), the EEO counselor will advise you of your right to request to pursue resolution of your claim through the NRC’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program, during either stage of the process.

For additional information about the pre-complaint stage of the employment discrimination process, see the Discrimination Complaint Process Pamphlet and the following topics on this page, or contact us:

Responsibilities of the EEO Counselor

The EEO counselor has the following responsibilities:

  • Advise you in writing of your rights and responsibilities in the Discrimination Complaint Process, including your right to participate in the ADR Program.
  • Advise you of your option to bypass the administrative process under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and pursue a civil action directly in an appropriate U.S. district court, and the procedures and time limits imposed for exercising that right.
  • Advise you of your right under the Equal Pay Act to file a civil action in U.S. district court whether or not an administrative action has been pursued, and the procedures and time limits imposed for exercising that right.
  • Listen to and understand the viewpoints of all parties in order to facilitate a resolution.
  • Ensure that the claim(s)and basis(es) to be addressed are clearly defined.
  • Conduct a limited fact-finding inquiry to facilitate a resolution at the lowest possible level in the Agency and to determine jurisdiction in the event that a formal complaint is filed.
  • Refer you to an appropriate source if it is clear that your problem does not involve a basis(es) covered by the regulations.
  • Advise and issue you a Notice of Right to File a Formal Discrimination Complaint (NRTF), and where appropriate, the right to file a formal grievance through the NRC/National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) Negotiated Grievance Procedure or a mixed-case appeal through the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), if the dispute is not resolved during counseling.
  • Prepare a report to sufficiently document the counseling activity and any jurisdictional questions related to the complaint.

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The Counseling Inquiry

The EEO counselor must complete the inquiry and conduct the final interview with you within 30 calendar days of the date of your initial contact, unless you agree, in writing, to an extension up to an additional 60 calendar days.

If the matter is resolved during counseling, the terms and conditions may be reduced to writing and signed by the appropriate parties to the agreement. A copy of the signed agreement will be provided to you. You will also be advised of your rights and responsibilities in the event that you believe management failed to meet the terms and conditions stated in the agreement.

If the matter is not resolved during counseling (or the ADR process), the counselor will conduct a final interview with you and issue you a Notice of Right to File a Formal Discrimination Complaint (NRTF), and where appropriate, the right to file a formal grievance through NRC/NTEU Negotiated Grievance Procedure or a mixed-case appeal through MSPB. The NRTF will advise you of the applicable procedures and the time limits imposed for exercising those rights.

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Your Rights

During the pre-complaint stage of the employment discrimination process, you have the following rights:

  • Right to remain anonymous unless you waive your right to anonymity in writing.
  • Right to representation of your choice at any stage of the process as long as the individual identified does not create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest.
  • Right to a reasonable amount of official time to present your complaint and to respond to the agency’s request for information. Please note that the actual number of hours (official time) to which you and your representative (if employed by the agency) will be entitled will be determined in coordination with you, your representative, management, and the Office of Small Business and Civil Rights, prior to the use of any such time.
  • Right to request to participate in the ADR Program.

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Your Responsibilities

To avoid any undue delay in processing your claim of unlawful employment discrimination, you have a responsibility to cooperate with the EEO counselor in the following ways:

  • Make a request to your supervisor for use of official time in connection with your EEO matter, and receive approval prior to taking such time unless you have requested to remain anonymous.
  • Provide an explanation if your initial contact with the counselor is beyond the required period of 45 calendar days.
  • Provide written notice of designation of representative (name, address, telephone number), if applicable.
  • Attend scheduled meetings, and respond to requests for information in a timely manner to facilitate a resolution.
  • Provide notice of any change in address and telephone numbers for you and your representative, if represented.
  • Make a timely request if you wish to participate in the ADR Program.

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EEO Counselors

Contact an EEO counselor if you need assistance with or have questions about the EEO process, including the agency's ADR Program, or if you are an individual with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in any part of the EEO process. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, April 18, 2014