The mission of the Equal Employment Opportunity Program is to manage the Commander’s EEO program to eliminate unlawful employment discrimination. EEO provides quality program, management services and promotes a diverse workforce founded upon equality of opportunity. It is the EEO Office’s vision to have a workplace where people trust that they will be treated fairly and empowered to achieve their best. Managers and supervisors who make decisions about hiring, training, performance, promotions or work assignments must implement EEO as an integral part of personnel management.
Management’s Role in the EEO Complaint Process
- Cooperate with everyone involved in processing the complaint (i.e. EEO staff, EEO counselor, IRD Investigator, EEOC Administrative Judge)
- Seek early and reasonable resolution
- Take immediate corrective action as required
- Keep your reactions intact – do not overreact
- Keep complaint information confidential
- Not retaliate
Civilian Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy
It is the policy of this command to provide equal employment opportunity to all employees, former employees and applicants for employment regardless of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability (physical and/or mental) and reprisal. White Sands Missile Range is committed to EEO principles and will not tolerate discrimination in any form. Employees are the cornerstone of readiness. They must know they will be treated fairly and with dignity and respect in all aspects of performing the mission. Employees have the right to work in an environment where there is the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.
Equal Employment Opportunity is the law and an essential element of good leadership. Managers and supervisors are encouraged to demonstrate the same dedication and involvement in achieving Department of the Army EEO goals, as they have displayed in accomplishing other missions and objectives.
Managers are welcome to consult EEO personnel when making employment decisions in the recruitment, selection, training, promotion, discipline, awarding or retention of civilian employees. The EEO staff is responsible for advising and assisting you in implementing and supporting the principles and objectives of the EEO program. When issues or systemic problems are identified, the goal of the EEO office is always to seek resolution at the lowest possible level of the chain of command.
Civilian employees or applicants who perceive they are victims of discrimination should assume responsibility to voice their opposition to these behaviors and to report incidents promptly to their chain of command first, then the EEO office.
Who May File a Complaint?
Any employee, former employee or applicant for employment covered by Army Regulation 690-600, who believes that he or she has been discriminated against in an employment matter, may file complaints of discrimination on one or more of the following bases:
- National Origin
- Age (40 and over)
- Disability (physical or mental)
- Reprisal for previous EEO protected activities or opposition to an unlawful employment practices under 29 CFR Section 1614
- Genetic Information
In lieu of the individual complaints process for age complaints, the complainant may elect to serve the Equal Employment Commission with notice of intent to file a civil action and after 30 days proceed directly into Federal Court.
Where to File an EEO Complaint
- U.S. Army Garrison – White Sands Missile Range EEO Office
- Building 124, Room 233, Crozier Street
- EEO Office (ATTN: IMWE-WSM-EE)
- White Sands Missile Range, NM 88002-5000
- Phone Number: (575) 678-1291, (DSN 258)
- Fax Number: (575) 678-1578, (DSN258)
How to File an EEO Complaint
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints will generally be processed at the activity where the alleged discrimination occurred. EEO complaints initiated at White Sands Missile Range EEO Office will generally be processed by the White Sands Missile Range EEO Office. In certain circumstances processing of the EEO complaint may need to be processed at a different location. There are three phases in the process – Information Inquiry, Pre-Complaint and Formal Complaint. A discussion of each phase is provided below.
- Information Inquiry Phase:
The initial step is made by contacting an EEO official either to seek general information concerning the EEO complaint process or to actually begin the EEO complaint process. At the Information Inquiry Phase the person has not initiated the EEO complaint process. This EEO contact is considered an “Information Inquiry” and the person is referred to as the “Individual”. Once it has been determined that the Individual has stated their intent to initiate the complaint process the next phase starts, referred to as the "Pre-complaint Phase".
- Pre-Complaint Phase:
At the pre-complaint phase the person initiating the complaint process is referred to as the Aggrieved.
The Aggrieved has the right to representation throughout the complaint process. If the Aggrieved notifies the EEO office in writing that they have attained representation from that point on all documents and contact will be through Aggrieved’s representative with a copy to the Aggrieved. The representative can be either an attorney or non-attorney.
The Aggrieved starts the EEO complaint process by meeting with an EEO official within 45 calendar days of the matter alleged to be discriminatory, or in the case of a personnel action within 45 calendar days of its effective date.
Processing of the pre-complaint begins with a “Pre-complaint Intake Interview” conducted by an EEO official who determines whether or not the employee is alleging discrimination within the protection of 29 CFR 1614 (Title VII), and the proper venue for an individual to use to address his or her concern(s). Once it has been determined that the matter presented is appropriate for processing under Title VII, the EEO official will define and record the date(s) and facts of the specific incident(s) or personnel action(s).
The EEO official then explains WSMR’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program. Mediation is the form of ADR used by the Department of Army. The EEO official will explain the ADR process as well as the difference between ADR and traditional counseling and the right to choose participation in ADR or traditional counseling, should an offer of ADR be made.
If the EEO official determines that the complaint is suitable for ADR (mediation), then an offer of ADR may be made to the Aggrieved. The Aggrieved will make an election to proceed with traditional counseling or ADR (if offered).
If the Aggrieved accepts an offer of ADR (mediation) the EEO staff will schedule the mediation and the mediation will be completed within 90 calendar days of the initial contact with an EEO official. If the complaint is not resolved, the EEO office will conduct a final interview and issue the Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint of Discrimination, to include their right to pursue the matter as a formal complaint, to the Aggrieved.
If the Aggrieved elects traditional counseling, an EEO counselor will be assigned and the counseling will be completed within 30-calendar days of the initial contact date with an EEO official. The EEO counselor will conduct an informal inquiry consisting of interviews, data collection, and preparing an EEO counselor report. Resolution at the lowest level is always the goal throughout the complaint process. If the complaint is not resolved, the EEO counselor will conduct a final interview and issue the Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint of Discrimination, to include their right to pursue the matter as a formal complaint, to the Aggrieved.
If the dispute is resolved through the use of ADR (mediation) or traditional counseling the pre-complaint resolution will be documented in the form of a negotiated settlement agreement (NSA). The Aggrieved will be provided with a copy of the NSA signed by all parties.
- Formal Complaint Phase:
Representation: The Complainant has the right to representation throughout the complaint process. If the Complainant notifies the EEO office in writing of attaining representation then from that point on all documents and contact will be through the Complainant’s representative with a copy to the Aggrieved. The representative can be either an attorney or non-attorney.
An employee should exhaust the pre-complaint stage before filing a formal complaint of discrimination, either by traditional counseling or through the use of ADR (mediation). In the formal phase the person initiating the formal complaint is referred to as the “Complainant”.
Filing Formal Complaint: If the individual elects to pursue the matter as a formal complaint. The individual should file their formal complaint of discrimination within 15 calendar days of receipt of the Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint of Discrimination. Complaints must be in writing, preferably on a DA Form 2590 (for ease of completion this form is on the Army Publishing Directorate's web site http://www.apd.army.mil/USAPA_PUB_formnum_f.asp and can be access by entering the form number 2590 into the search request). The complaint must be filed in person or by mail with any of the following officials listed below.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Officer
- ATTN: IMWE-WSM-EE
- Bldg. 124, Room 233, Crozier Street
- White Sands Missile Range, NM 88002-5000
- ATTN: IMWE-EEO
- 2450 Stanley Road, Suite 101
- Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-7517
- Secretary of the Army
- ATTN: SAMR-EO-CCR
- 1901 South Bell Street, Suite 109B
- Arlington, VA 22202-4508
If the complaint is filed with any official other than the White Sands EEO officer the complaint will be sent to the EEO officer for processing. Therefore, it is recommended that your complaint be filed with the EEO officer to ensure the most expeditious processing.
Accept/Dismiss: Upon receipt of the formal complaint the EEO office should acknowledge receipt of the formal complaint within 3 days of receipt. The EEO office, within 15 calendar days, should notify the complainant in writing whether their formal complaint was accepted or dismissed. The complainant will be notified in writing of the EEO officer’s decision to accept or dismiss the formal complaint. If the EEO officer dismisses the formal complaint the written notification will provide the reason(s) for dismissal and explains the right to pursue an appeal. If the EEO officer accepts, or partially accepts the formal complaint the written notification states the formal complaint has been accepted or partially accepted and that the EEO office will request an investigation.
Processing of the formal complaint will continue and the steps that each individual formal complaint follows may vary: The following are the remaining complaint processing steps:
- Investigation conducted by the Civilian Personnel Management System, Investigation and Resolution Division (IRD)
- Hearing by an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Administrative Judge (AJ)
- Final Agency Decision (FAD) by the Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance and Complaints Review (EEOCCR)
- Final Agency Action (FAA) by the Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance and Complaints Review (EEOCCR)
- Appeal to EEOC Office of Federal Operations (OFO)
- Request for Reconsideration
If you have questions in relation to EEO Complaint Processing please contact the White Sands EEO Office:
- Equal Employment Opportunity Office
- Building 124, Room 233, Crozier Street
- ATTN: IMWE-WSM-EE
- White Sands Missile Range, NM 88002
- Phone: (575) 678-1291
- Fax: (575) 678-1578
- DSN: 258