If you are a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) or Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) federal employee, former employee, or applicant for employment with BIA or BIE, you may initiate the complaint process if you believe you have been discriminated against based on one or more of these factors: race; color; religion; sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and/or sexual orientation); national origin; age (40 and over); disability (physical and/or mental); genetic information; or retaliation for prior EEO activity or for opposing unlawful discrimination.

Informal Process

To initiate the EEO process, you must first contact an EEO Counselor at BIA, Office of Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights Programs (OEOCRP) to file an informal EEO complaint. You must do so within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory act (limited exceptions apply). During the informal stage (also known as pre-complaint or counseling stage), at the initial counseling session, you may select either traditional EEO counseling or mediation, a type of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

EEO Counseling

The EEO Counselor will advise you of your rights and responsibilities in the EEO complaint process. You have the right to request confidentiality during the informal stage of the process. With your permission, the EEO Counselor will attempt to informally resolve the dispute by conduct an informal inquiry regarding your claim(s). The informal process begins the day you contact the BIA OEOCRP, and the process lasts up to 30 days, beginning on the initial date you contacted the office. If no resolution has been achieved, the EEO Counselor will conduct a final interview with you regarding your complaint and issue you a Notice of Final Interview and Right to File a formal complaint.

Filing a Formal Complaint

Once the EEO Counselor issues your Notice of Final Interview and Right to File, you will have 15 calendar days from receipt to inform your EEO Counselor or the BIA OEOCRP in writing if you wish to file a formal complaint. This would be completed by emailing, faxing, mailing, or hand carrying a completed and signed formal complaint form (DI-1892) to the BIA OEOCRP. Your formal complaint must be specific, and limited only to those matters previously discussed with the EEO Counselor. The complaint will then be accepted or dismissed, based on timeliness and whether the alleged discrimination affects a term or condition of your employment, among other factors. If your complaint is accepted for processing, an investigation will be conducted. When the investigation has been completed, you will receive a copy of the Report of Investigation. In most cases, you may then request a hearing, or a Final Agency Decision without a hearing.* If your complaint is dismissed, you may generally appeal that decision to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or file a civil action in U.S. District Court.


If you request a hearing, that hearing will be held by an EEOC Administrative Judge (AJ). After the hearing, the EEOC AJ will issue a decision on the complaint. The Department will then issue a Final Order, informing you of whether DOI, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) agrees with the AJ, and whether OCR will grant any relief in your case. If you are dissatisfied with the DOI OCR Final Order, you may appeal it to the EEOC, or file a civil action in U.S. District Court.

Final Agency Decision Without a Hearing

If you request a Final Agency Decision without a hearing, DOI, OCR will issue a decision on the complaint. If you are dissatisfied with the DOI, OCR Final Agency Decision, you may appeal it to the EEOC, or file a civil action in U.S. District Court.


You may request mediation at any time during the complaint process. If you select mediation and management agrees to participate, a neutral third party will work with you and management in an effort to reach a settlement. If you choose to enter into mediation, the will continue to process your EEO complaint.

** If your case is a mixed-case complaint, you will not receive an option for EEOC hearing or appeal a DOI, OCR decision to the EEOC. However, you will automatically receive a FAD within 45 days after the investigation is completed. Within 30 days of receiving the FAD for a mixed case, you will have the option to appeal the decision to the MSPB . Please see Notice of Rights and Responsibilities for further information on mixed cases.