Filing an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Complaint

At HRSA, employees, former employees, or job applicants who believe they have been subjected to discrimination have a right to file an EEO complaint. Under federal laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to protect against discrimination, an individual may assert a basis, or reason, they wish to bring forward a complaint under one or multiple of the protected groups listed below:

  • Age
  • Disability (mental, physical, or sensory)
  • Equal pay or compensation
  • Genetic information (including family medical history)
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Race or color
  • Religion or belief
  • Retaliation
  • Sex (including gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, or sexual stereotyping)

EEO Complaint Process

The EEO Complaint Process consists of three different stages.

Informal stage – Intake and Counseling

The first step of the EEO process is to contact HRSA’s EEO Intake Coordinator within 45 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory occurrence – Commissioned Corps Officers must initiate EEO contact within 60 calendar days. Contact an Intake Coordinator through:

  • Email:; or
  • Call us at 301-443-5636; or
  • Visit us: HRSA, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 14N-156, Rockville, MD 20857

The Intake Coordinator will provide you a choice to either participate in EEO counseling or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

ADR is a term used to describe procedures that are used to settle disputes by means other than conventional litigation. ADR mediation can be elected in lieu of traditional EEO counseling at the informal stage or at any time during the formal stage of the process.

If your EEO complaint is not resolved during counseling or through ADR, you will be given the opportunity to file a formal complaint of discrimination. You must submit your formal EEO complaint to the Office of Civil Rights, Diversity and Inclusion (OCRDI) at within 15 calendar days of receipt of a Notice to File a Formal Complaint of Discrimination (NRTF) – Commissioned Corps Officers must file within 10 calendar days of receipt of the NRTF.

Formal stage – Accept or Dismiss complaint and Investigation

Once you have filed a formal complaint, OCRDI will review the complaint and decide on whether or not your allegations of discrimination should be accepted or dismissed. If OCRDI accepts your complaint, an investigation will be conducted. The Agency has 180 calendar days from the date you filed your formal complaint to complete the investigation. If your complaint is dismissed, you have the right to appeal to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

When the investigation is completed, OCRDI will notify you of your right to one of the following courses of action: 1) request a hearing before an EEOC Administrative Judge, or 2) request a final decision on your complaint by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – Commissioned Corps Officers will receive a final decision from the Surgeon General and have no appeal rights.

Adjudication stage – Hearing, Final Agency Decision, Appeal, and Civil Court

Electing for a Hearing

If you elect a hearing, you must submit your written request to the EEOC within 30 calendar days from the day you received a notice about your hearing rights. If you request a hearing, an EEOC Administrative Judge will conduct the hearing and render a decision on your EEO complaint.

Electing a Final Agency Decision and Appeal

If you elect a Final Agency Decision, and HHS issues a decision finding no discrimination, you have the right to appeal the decision to the EEOC or file in federal district court.

Other Protections Offered Against Discrimination

At HRSA, we commit to ensuring a workplace free of discrimination and harassment based on:

  • Family or parental status
  • Marital (a civil union or domestic partnership status)
  • Past or present military service
  • Political affiliation

These protections extend to all personnel and employment programs, management practices, and decisions, including but not limited to:

  • Appraisal systems
  • Benefits
  • Merit promotions
  • Recruitment and hiring practices (including transfers and reassignments)
  • Training and career development programs
  • Separations

If you are alleging discrimination based on these bases, you may file a written complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) at: 

U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC)
1730 M Street NW, Suite 218, Washington, DC 20036-4505

You may also visit the OSC website.

Date Last Reviewed:  May 2021