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Equal Opportunity and Peace Corps

The Peace Corps is committed to providing equal opportunity to all employees, Volunteers, and applicants for employment and volunteer service. Peace Corps policy prohibits discrimination and harassment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 or over), disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, parental status, political affiliation, union membership, genetic information, or history of participation in the Equal Employment Opportunity process, grievance procedure, or any authorized complaint procedure.

The Peace Corps success in embracing and leveraging the diversity of its employees and volunteers is central to its goal of promoting a greater understanding of Americans throughout the world through the reflection of America's diversity. The Peace Corps invites you to join our agency as we continue to help fulfill the realization of a fully inclusive workplace where everyone's abilities and skills are appreciated.

Discrimination Complaints

Discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status is prohibited in the Federal government. Federal regulations require that agencies provide for the counseling of aggrieved employees and applicants and for the prompt, fair and impartial processing of complaints of discrimination.

Claims of discriminatory treatment are initially handled through the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Counseling Program, which provides an opportunity to resolve complaints through counseling or through an Alternative Dispute Resolution process. Claims that are not resolved through that Program can be filed as formal complaints and proceed through the Formal Complaint Process.

EEO Counseling Program

The first step for an employee or applicant for employment who believes that the Peace Corps has discriminated against him/her on one of the bases listed above is to consult with an EEO counselor to seek informal resolution of the disputed matter.

The Peace Corps has a number of collateral duty EEO counselors throughout the organization, in the headquarters office and in the Regional Recruitment Offices, to serve Peace Corps staff and applicants in the United States and overseas.

The role of the EEO counselor is to act as a bridge between the aggrieved person and management to seek informal resolution of matters which could give rise to a formal complaint of discrimination. The EEO counselor does not act as an investigator, or as an advocate for management or the complainant, or as a judge of the merits of the allegation(s).

The EEO Counseling Program also includes the opportunity for complaints by staff at headquarters to be resolved through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. The ADR process is an informal, voluntary process for complaints to be resolved through mediation and settlement rather than litigation.

Formal Complaint Process

If an allegation of discrimination is not resolved through counseling or through the ADR process, the aggrieved person has the right to file a formal complaint of discrimination. The complaint must be submitted in writing and be signed by the complainant. The complaint may be delivered in person or submitted by mail to the Manager of the Peace Corps American Diversity Program.

The complaint is reviewed for compliance with procedural guidelines, such as timeliness, and to determine if the allegation(s) are within the purview of equal opportunity laws. If the complaint meets these requirements, it is then assigned to an independent investigator.

The role of the investigator is to collect factual information concerning the issues in the complaint and to prepare an investigative report. If the complaint is not settled or the complainant is not satisfied with the results of the investigation, s/he has the right to request a final agency decision or hearing from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Complaint Procedure

The steps to follow if you feel you have experienced discrimination are:

  1. Contact an EEO counselor within 45 calendar days of the date of the incident that is the cause of your complaint if you are an employee or employee applicant; Volunteers and Volunteer applicants should contact a counselor within 30 calendar days;
  2. During the next 30 calendar days, the counselor will attempt to help you resolve your complaint, or
  3. Headquarters staff may use the ADR program, which will extend the time period;
  4. If your complaint is not resolved through counseling within 30 days, or through ADR, you have 15 calendar days from the date of your final interview with the EEO counselor to file a formal complaint.

Contact Information

Peace Corps
Office of Civil Rights & Diversity
1111 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20526
Phone: 202.692.2139
Fax: 202.692.1251

Last updated Nov 20 2013

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