EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY (EEO) CASE PROCESSING PROCEDURES IN LIGHT OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY
The physical safety and EEO rights of NASA’s workforce, its contractors, and applicants, are of the utmost importance. In light of the national emergency, the Equal Opportunity Programs Office (Code 120) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is taking the following steps effective immediately and until further notice
- In-person intake and EEO Counseling have been suspended. These services will now be performed telephonically and/or by email.
- If you have previously scheduled an in-person appointment, your appointment will be changed to a telephone interview.
- You are encouraged to call our office at (301) 286-7348 to schedule an intake appointment by telephone. The office will NOT accept walk-ins at this time.
- If you are interested in filing an informal complaint or have questions regarding an existing complaint, you are encouraged to email Marian Carson (Complaints Manager) at (301) 286-0628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- WFF employees may also contact Sherley “J” Jones (EEO Manager) at (757) 824-1412 or email@example.com.
We are unable to accept in-person, mail, and fax communications.
If you have any questions, you may still call the main office line at (301) 286-7348 and leave a voice message and someone will return your call.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR):
The Equal Opportunity Programs Office (Code 120) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is committed to providing the GSFC workforce with the opportunity for early resolution of EEO complaints while ensuring the safety and health of our mediators during this COVID 19 situation. For this reason, if parties agree to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), NASA will deliver ADR services virtually during this very challenging time.
Mediation is the most commonly used ADR technique utilized at NASA. Mediation will be conducted telephonically and/or via video conferencing, utilizing Adobe Connect, Skype, or Microsoft Teams. We recognize that face-to-face mediation is generally the preferred method, but virtual mediation can work with good preparation, technological support, and with the assignment of an experienced mediator.
Please contact Marian Carson (Complaints Manager) at (301) 286-0628 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the use of ADR in EEO cases.
Goddard Space Flight Center’s (GSFC) Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Complaints Process provides a means for resolving individual and class discrimination complaints.
Contacting the Equal Opportunity Programs Office (EOPO) is the first step for an employee, applicant or contingent worker who believes s/he has been discriminated against on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, age (40+), disability (physical/mental), sex, sexual harassment, or retaliation.
If you believe you have been discriminated against and/or subjected to harassment and wish to seek relief through the EEO complaint process, you must contact the EOPO and/or an EEO counselor within 45 days of the discriminatory action or 45 days that you became aware of the action.
The Agency has an internal complaint process for complaints based on Sexual Orientation.
The Agency SXO discrimination process is described at https://www.nasa.gov/offices/odeo/complaints-policy-processing and https://odeo.hq.nasa.gov/documents/SxO_FAQs.pdf.
For more information on how to initiate the complaints process please contact the EOPO or visit the Agency’s e-file complaints system https://www.nasa.gov/offices/odeo/complaints-efile.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (Mediation)
Alternative Dispute Resolution is an “umbrella” term used for various types of dispute resolution techniques. Mediation is NASA’s preferred method of resolving disputes and is sometimes used interchangeably with ADR.
The goal of mediation is to provide a neutral and independent forum for parties to discuss a dispute, using a third-party mediator. If mediation does not lead to a successful resolution, an individual can file a formal complaint of discrimination.
An individual must an EEO Counselor with 45 days of the alleged incident or the day they became aware. The EEO Counselor will explain both the traditional EEO Counseling and the ADR processes to the aggrieved. The aggrieved will be given an option to select which process they would like to enter. If ADR is preferred, the EEO counselor will contact the ADR Manager to start the process.
Documentation: Mediation is a confidential process. Any notes, information and documents shared during the mediation will be kept confidential among the parties and shredded at the end of the mediation. If a resolution is reached, the terms of the agreement will be reduced to writing in a settlement agreement.
Anonymity: It is not possible to remain anonymous during mediation.
Role of the Mediator: The mediator is a neutral party unaffiliated with NASA GSFC EOPO whose role is to facilitate communication and to assist the parties to get a clearer understanding of the allegation raised in the dispute. The mediator is not an advocate for either side, nor is s/he a decision-maker.
Mediation Criteria: NASA GSFC EOPO will assess whether a particular dispute lends itself to resolution through the use of mediation and will review each case on an individual basis. Participation in the mediation process by all parties involved is completely voluntary.
Mediations will be led by local professionally certified mediators unaffiliated with NASA GSFC.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The foregoing should not be interpreted as interference with or discouragement of any individual’s right to seek relief through any statutory or regulatory grievance or complaint procedure. Employees involved in workplace disputes may have legal entitlements to raise issues through a formal grievance or complaint procedure. Formal procedures have time limits to take initial action. These time limits are not extended because an individual chooses to seek informal resolution of an issue through ADR. Employees who are unsure of their lawful rights and remedies are advised to seek counsel from their personal representative, legal representative, union representative, or Labor Relations Specialist, as appropriate.
For more information about the Goddard ADR program see http://adr.gsfc.nasa.gov.
For more information about the Agency ADR program see https://www.nasa.gov/offices/odeo/alternative-dispute-resolution.
Other Grievance and Administrative Processes
The MSPB is the an appeal forum if the employee has been the subject of an adverse action such as a suspension for more than 14 days, a demotion, or a removal. It is also a forum if the employee alleges an employment action was based on his/her whistle-blowing or other protected activity.
The OSC is a forum if a personnel action (appointment, promotion, adverse action, disciplinary or corrective action, detail, transfer, reassignment, reinstatement, restoration, reemployment, some performance evaluations, decision concerning pay or benefits, decision to order examination, or any other significant change in duties, responsibilities or working conditions) has been threatened, proposed, taken, or not taken allegedly because of the employee’s whistle-blowing or other protected activity. Call 1-800-872-9855 to seek advice.
Office of the Inspector General (OIG) – Ethics and Conduct
This process deals with possible violation(s) of law, rules or regulations; mismanagement; gross waste of funds; abuse of authority; or danger to the public health and safety. The OIG normally does not act on matters for which there is another complaint process that handles the issue; however, investigations may be conducted on the basis of matters referred by OSC or MSPB.
A bargaining unit employee may elect to pursue the union grievance procedure for any grievance covered by 5 U.S.C. 7103 (a) (9) in accordance with the process set forth in the collective bargaining agreement.
For more information on whether an employee is in a bargaining unit please contact your OHCM representative.
The Administrative Grievance process covers any matter (except those defined in Section 2.3.2. of NPG 3771.1) of employee concerns or dissatisfaction for which personal relief is possible and which is subject to the control of NASA management, including any matter in which an employee alleges that coercion, reprisal, or retaliation occurred against him/her for using the grievance procedure.