The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a “Guide to Writing Appeal Briefs for Unrepresented Complainants”, intended to assist federal employees and applicants with their employment discrimination complaint appeals to the EEOC.
As a resource for federal employees or applicants without legal representation, the guide explains what content should be included in an appeal brief and how it should be organized. The guide helps make the appeal process more accessible by providing an explanation of how to support or oppose an appeal, sample briefs that can be downloaded and used as templates, and a glossary for technical and legal terms.
“This new resource represents an important milestone in enhancing access to the federal sector process for the many unrepresented individuals who assert their right to be free from discrimination under the laws we enforce,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “EEOC is committed to helping all workers—including the nation’s approximately 2.8 million federal employees—understand and protect their rights.”
The first step to reporting discrimination for federal employees or applicants is to contact their federal agency’s equal employment opportunity (EEO) counselor who will guide employees and applicants through the discrimination complaint process. This process will result in a voluntary resolution of the complaint or a final decision issued by the federal agency. At the end of the process, employees or applicants who disagree with an agency’s final determination may file an appeal with the EEOC or challenge the decision in federal court.
“Many people cannot afford to hire an attorney to help them, and everyone should have the opportunity to make their best case,” said Carlton Hadden, director of the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO). “We developed this guide to serve as a useful resource for those seeking to appeal their agencies’ decisions. It’s important to understand what information is most useful to provide in an appeal.”
Approximately three-quarters of all appeals on the merits involve self-represented federal employees or applicants and about half of them do not submit appeal briefs. Over the five-year period of fiscal years 2016 to 2020, a little more than one-third of the federal sector appeals decisions that found that agencies had subjected complainants to discrimination involved self-represented employees or applicants.
“We hope this guide can assist unrepresented federal employees and applicants to present their arguments more effectively, leading to more satisfaction with the process, and ultimately better outcomes,” said Edmund Chiang, EEOC senior attorney advisor and lead developer of the guide.
The Office of Federal Operations will host a webinar on February 22, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. EST to discuss the guide in detail. Registration for the webinar is required: Guide to Appeal Brief Writing. Closed captioning will be provided. Send requests for reasonable accommodation to FedeNews@eeoc.gov with “Request for Accommodation” in the subject line. For detailed information on upcoming webinars follow the EEOC’s OFO on Twitter @EEOC_OFO and on Facebook. The public may also receive federal sector information updates and news items via GovDelivery.
Federal executive branch employees and job applicants are protected from employment discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. The law also protects them from retaliation for opposing employment discrimination, filing a complaint of discrimination, or participating in the EEO complaint process (including for other employees).