Equal Employment Opportunity Complaint Process
If you are an AAFES employee or job applicant, the law protects you from discrimination because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. The law also protects you from retaliation if you oppose employment discrimination, file a complaint of discrimination, or participate in the EEO complaint process (even if the complaint is not yours.)
There are also Executive Orders (which are not enforced by EEOC) that prohibit discrimination on other bases, such as sexual orientation or parental status.
If you are an AAFES employee or job applicant and you believe that AAFES has discriminated against you, you have a right to file a complaint. AAFES posts information about how to contact an AAFES’ EEO Counselor in the Human Resource Office, on employee bulletin boards in every facility, and in the AAFES Office of EEO, Diversity & Inclusion (EEODI). To file a complaint, contact 1-800-527-6790 (option 6, then option 1) or EEOCounseling@aafes.com and you will be provided the required documents. Once these documents are returned, an EEO Counselor will be assigned and will contact you.
The first step is to contact an AAFES EEO Counselor. Generally, you must contact the EEO Counselor within 45 days from the day the discrimination occurred.
The EEO Counselor will give you the choice of participating either in EEO counseling or in mediation.
If you do not settle the dispute during counseling or through mediation, you can file a formal discrimination complaint against AAFES with the Office of EEODI. You must file a formal complaint within 15 days from the day you receive notice from your EEO Counselor about how to file.
Filing a Formal Complaint
Once you have filed a formal complaint, AAFES will review the complaint and decide whether or not the case should be dismissed for a procedural reason (for example, your claim was filed too late).
If AAFES doesn't dismiss the complaint, it will conduct an investigation. AAFES has 180 days from the day you filed your complaint to finish the investigation.
When the investigation is finished, AAFES will issue a notice giving you two choices: either request a hearing before an EEOC Administrative Judge or ask AAFES to issue a decision as to whether the discrimination occurred.
AAFES Issues a Decision (Final Action)
If you ask AAFES to issue a decision and no discrimination is found, or if you disagree with some part of the decision, you can appeal the decision to EEOC or challenge it in federal district court.
Requesting a Hearing
If you want to ask for a hearing, you must make your request in writing within 30 days from the day you receive the notice from AAFES about your hearing rights. If you request a hearing, an EEOC Administrative Judge will conduct the hearing, make a decision, and order relief if discrimination is found.
Once AAFES receives the Administrative Judge's decision, AAFES will issue what is called a final order which will tell you whether AAFES agrees with the Administrative Judge and if it will grant any relief the judge ordered. AAFES will have 40 days to issue the final order. It will also contain information about your right to appeal to EEOC, your right to file a civil action in federal district court, and the deadline for filing both an appeal and a civil action.
Filing an Appeal of AAFES’ Final Order
You have the right to appeal AAFES' final order (including a final order dismissing your complaint) to the EEOC Office of Federal Operations. You must file your appeal no later than 30 days after you receive the final order.
EEOC appellate attorneys will review the entire file, including AAFES' investigation, the decision of the Administrative Judge, the transcript of what was said at the hearing (if there was a hearing), and any appeal statements.
If AAFES disagrees with any part of the Administrative Judge's decision, it must appeal to the EEOC.
Request for Reconsideration of the Appeal Decision
If you do not agree with the EEOC's decision on your appeal, you can ask for a reconsideration of that decision. A request for reconsideration is only granted if you can show that the decision is based on a mistake about the facts of the case or the law applied to the facts. You must ask for reconsideration no later than 30 days after you receive the EEOC decision on your appeal.
Once the EEOC has issued a decision on the appeal, AAFES also has the right to ask the EEOC to reconsider that decision.
Once the EEOC has made a decision on your request for reconsideration, the decision is final.
Filing a Lawsuit
You must go through the administrative complaint process before you can file a lawsuit. There are several different points during the process when you will have the opportunity to quit the process and file a lawsuit in court, including:
- After 180 days have passed from the day you filed your complaint, if AAFES has not issued a decision and no appeal has been filed
- Within 90 days from the day you receive AAFES' decision on your complaint, so long as no appeal has been filed
- After the 180 days from the day you filed your appeal if the EEOC has not issued a decision, or
- Within 90 days from the day you receive the EEOC's decision on your appeal.