Civil Rights and Diversity

The Peace Corps is committed to providing equal opportunity to all employees, Volunteers, and applicants for employment and volunteer service.

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It is the mission of the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity (OCRD) to provide leadership and guidance on all civil rights, equal employment opportunity and diversity matters; and to address issues of discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment, in the recruitment/employment of staff and in the recruitment/service of Volunteers/trainees. 

OCRD encourages management, employees, and Volunteers to value diversity in order to build and maintain a culture that values inclusion of all employees and Volunteers. 

In addition, OCRD supports the creation of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and offers guidance to those who want to create new groups. OCRD ensures that EEO principles and diversity management initiatives are fully integrated into the Human Resources and organizational data systems.

This mission is directly linked to and is meant to maintain solidarity with Peace Corps' mission. As a continuation of OCRD's strategic plan, most OCRD programs, staffing functions, requests for resources, training syllabi, and administration of EEO complaints are in alignment with one or more of the six elements for a Model EEO Program, as well as other federal EEO regulatory requirements.


Diversity and inclusion

Statement

Executive Order 13583 of August 18, 2011 establishes a coordinated government-wide initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in the Federal workforce.

Peace Corps recognizes that honoring the voices and identities of our Volunteers as well as host country national and US staff is central to our success. As an agency we need to ensure that diversity of thought, experience and personal background is valued and encouraged. Such diversity within the workforce enhances the relevance and substance of our work, and also helps us adhere more closely to our mission.

Diversity is defined as the characteristics and attributes that make each one of us unique. Diversity has many dimensions, including race, gender, physical ability, ethnicity, national origin, nationality, religion, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identification, educational access, and age. Even more broadly, diversity includes but is not limited to geographic location, work experience, family status, socio-economic class, and diversity of political thought. Our goal is to leverage the varied experiences and ideas that each individual brings for the good of the agency and all of the communities that we serve.

We define inclusion as a culture that connects each employee to the organization; encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness; and leverages diversity throughout the organization so that all individuals are able to participate and contribute to their full potential.

With fair and transparent policies and practices, clear communication, mutual respect, and a collaborative atmosphere that provides both professional and personal development opportunities, Peace Corps offers an inclusive and welcoming workplace that values the efforts of all contributors.

Special observations

Days and months declared by Presidential Proclamation or Congressional decree to hold special significance in U.S. American culture.

  • Third Monday in January – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • February – Black/African American History Month
  • March – Women’s History Month
  • April – Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  • May – Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
  • June – LGBTQ Pride Month
  • September 15 – October 15 – Hispanic Heritage Month
  • October – National Disability Employment Awareness Month
  • November – American Indian Heritage Month
  • November 11 – Veteran’s Day

View full descriptions of special observations

Employee Resource Groups

Employee Resource Groups at the Peace Corps were established in 2014 in order to better support employees from underrepresented communities, to provide a direct line of communication between underrepresented employees and Agency leadership, and to assist the Agency in advancing intercultural competence, diversity, and inclusion (ICD&I) goals. The Peace Corps currently sponsors nine ERGs:

  • AVID Corps – Awareness of Visible and Invisible Disabilities
  • HALO – Hispanic Association for Leadership and Opportunity
  • Interfaith
  • Lotus Corps – Asian Pacific American
  • Peace of Mindfulness
  • Sankofa – Black and African American
  • Spectrum – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Minority
  • Veterans Corps
  • [email protected] – Women’s Empowerment at the Peace Corps

For more information about diversity and inclusion and the Peace Corps, contact [email protected].


Disability program

Accessibility

The Peace Corps is committed to making its information and facilities accessible to individuals with disabilities by meeting or exceeding the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.

View accessibility statement

Affirmative action employment plan

Federal regulations require agencies to describe how their affirmative action plan will improve the recruitment, hiring, advancement, and retention of applicants and employees with disabilities.

View full affirmative action plan [PDF]

Disability hiring

The Peace Corps uses a variety of hiring authorities, including a Schedule A equivalent process and hiring authorities for Veterans with disabilities, which provide non-competitive channels for hiring for people with disabilities. 

To learn more about disability-related non-competitive hiring opportunities and processes, please contact the Peace Corps’ Special Placement Program Coordinator

Requests for accommodation or personal assistance services

The Peace Corps is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodations in its programs, activities, Volunteer service, and employment for individuals with disabilities. The Peace Corps’ Office of Civil Rights and Diversity facilitates reasonable accommodation requests on behalf of the agency and also provides sign language interpretation, captioning services, and access to assistive listening devices. 

We ask that employees and employee applicants make requests for accommodation with at least 14 days’ notice, though we will make our best effort to fill requests submitted with less notice. 

If you would like to request a reasonable accommodation to access any aspect of the Peace Corps, including its employment or Volunteer application processes, information and communication technology, building, facilities, or if you have a targeted disability and would like to request personal assistance services, please contact:

Peace Corps Office of Civil Rights and Diversity
1111 20th Street NW
Washington, DC 20526
[email protected]
202-692-2139

For Peace Corps employees that are working in the United States or who are US Citizens working abroad, see procedures for requesting and processing reasonable accommodations and personal assistance services [PDF]

Please note that the processes for requesting personal assistance services, determining whether such services are required, and the agency’s right to deny such requests when provision of the services would pose an undue hardship, are the same as those processes for reasonable accommodations.

Volunteers with disabilities

Volunteers with a variety of disabilities have a long history of serving in the Peace Corps.  If you are in need of a reasonable accommodation due to a disability in regards to any aspect of Peace Corps service, including the application process, please contact [email protected]

Read about some of the experiences of Peace Corps Volunteers with disabilities:    

Serving the global disability community

The Peace Corps Act states that “the Peace Corps shall be administered so as to give particular attention to the programs, projects, and activities which tend to integrate disabled people into the national economies of developing countries, thus improving their status and assisting the total development effort.”  

Read about some of the ways the Peace Corps is working on disability inclusion throughout the world:


Equal Employment Opportunity

Peace Corps policy prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis 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 (EEO) process, grievance procedure, or any authorized complaint procedure.

View: EEO policy statement [PDF] | Harassment policy statement [PDF]

EEO complaints

If you are among the following groups and believe you have been discriminated against and/or harassed, federal and/or Peace Corps regulations require that agencies provide for counseling of the aggrieved party and for the prompt, fair, and impartial processing of complaints of discrimination or harassment:

  • Employee
  • Applicant for agency job
  • Applicant for Peace Corps Volunteer or Peace Corps Response service
  • Trainee
  • Serving or returned Volunteer

See details on complaint procedures and counseling program


No FEAR Act

Federal agencies must post statistical data relating to equal employment opportunity complaints filed against the agencies on their public websites. The Peace Corps provides this statistical information in accordance with the No FEAR Act, updated on a quarterly basis.

View latest No FEAR Act data