The EEOC has proposed what it terms a “limited procedural change” in the way it handles cases brought by federal employees there alleging various forms of discrimination.

The notice of proposed rulemaking, published in the February 14 Federal Register for a 60-day comment, reflects a policy adopted in December by its governing board regarding when a federal employee may choose to withdraw an administrative appeal to the EEOC from the employing agency’s final action and instead file a lawsuit in federal court.


Said the notice, “Federal complainants are not required by statute to appeal to the EEOC before going to court; they simply have that option under the EEOC’s regulation. Under the statute, however, complainants may go directly to court within 90 days of the employing agency’s final action.”

Because an EEOC administrative appeal is an “optional step,” it says, the rule would permit complainants to withdraw an EEOC administrative appeal and file in court within 90 days of the final agency action. The rule also would make a similar change in the procedures governing a complainant’s optional request for reconsideration of an EEOC administrative appeal decision.