In EEO complaints filed by federal employees, the reason cited most frequently is reprisal/retaliation, followed by age discrimination and physical disability discrimination, the EEOC has said.

The complaints say those violations most commonly were carried out through harassment of a non-sexual nature, disciplinary actions, and changes in the conditions of a job, it added.

A new report covering fiscal 2015 also shows that agencies on average take 184 days to investigate a complaint, about the same as in 2011 but down from 207 days in 2013; the standard is 180 days. After the investigation, an employee may file a request a hearing with an EEOC administrative judge, who is to issue a decision within a further 180 days. However, the average time spent at that stage of the process was 462 days, up from 345 in 2011.

Those decisions in turn may be appealed to the EEOC, where appeals take 444 days on average to reach a decision, up from 378 in 2011.