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EEO Complaint Process

USDA prohibits discrimination against its employees. USDA employees and applicants for employment who believe they have been subjected to employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity and expression), national origin, age (if 40 or over), disability, reprisal (for prior participation in an EEO activity or having opposed discrimination), political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, or genetic information, have the right to file an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint.

The EEO complaint process consists of the informal process, and the formal process. If you wish to file an EEO complaint, you must begin with the informal process.

Informal Process

Effective Oct. 1, 2008, the EEO Counseling function returned to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) from the Farm Service Agency. An employee or an applicant for employment who believes that he/she has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, age (if over 40), sex, disability, religion, reprisal, or USDA prohibitions (Sexual Orientation, Marital or Parental Status, Political Affiliation or Protected Genetic Information) and they wish to file an EEO Complaint, must first contact an FNS EEO Counselor.

The contact must take place within 45 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory act, of learning of an act, or the effective date of a personnel action.

During the informal complaint process, the EEO Counselor will:

  • Ask for information to contact you and your representative, if you are represented;
  • Advise you of your rights and responsibilities; and
  • Give you an opportunity to choose to resolve your complaint through EEO counseling or ADR.

If the complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of all parties during the informal EEO complaint process, the counselor will issue the aggrieved party a "NOTICE OF RIGHT TO FILE (NRF)" a formal EEO complaint. The NRF will explain how and where to file your formal EEO complaint. A Complaint of Employment Discrimination Form will be provided with your NRF.

Formal Process

Upon receipt of the NRF, you will have 15 calendar days to file a formal EEO complaint. If your complaint is not resolved during the informal complaint process, you have the right to file a formal EEO Complaint.

Your written complaint must be a signed and dated statement that includes all of the following information:

  1. Your name, address, and telephone number. If you have a representative, you will also need to provide your representative's name, address, and telephone number;
  2. The name of the USDA agency you believe discriminated against you;
  3. The basis on which discrimination is alleged. You may give more than one basis, if applicable.
  4. Specific description of the issues of the discrimination complaint, including the dates of the alleged discriminatory event;
  5. The name and telephone number of your EEO counselor; and
  6. Corrective action requested.

The following options may be used to file formal complaints:

  1. Mailing to the official mailing address:
    Employment Complaints Division
    Office of Adjudication
    United States Department of Agriculture
    1400 Independence Avenue SW
    Stop Code: 9440
    Washington, DC 20250-9440

    FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc., should use Physical Address:
    Employment Complaints Division
    Office of Adjudication;
    United States Department of Agriculture
    Patriot Plaza III
    355 E Street SW, 7th Floor
    Washington, DC 20024

  2. Via facsimile at (202) 205-8206
  3. Via electronic mail at

For information, please reference our EEO brochure, which outlines the EEO Complaints Process.

  • EEO Counselor – Keishla Acevedo-Nazario, 703-756-0229 or Edna Gomez Velez, 703-305-2704
  • Civil Rights Director – Roberto Contreras, 703-305-2195

For additional information on how to file an EEO complaint, click this link to the USDA website:

Page updated: December 22, 2023