Q & A Session – Findings from an Informal EEO Investigation


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I filed an EEO complaint against my supervisor. An informal investigation was completed after 6 months and the agency did not give me access to its findings, after I expected to receive this. A formal investigation followed. However, I was moved from my workplace to a separate location for allegations made against me by my supervisor. Can I obtain the findings from my informal investigation? Can I sue other federal employees for defamation of character?


Generally speaking, your rights are defined by and are limited to the EEO process. A separate civil action about the EEO process and a defamation or claim against your coworkers are most likely to be thrown out of court for lack of jurisdiction. Popular culture notwithstanding, the reality is that federal employees cannot sue for every perceived injustice and are limited in their recourse to narrowly defined rights.


Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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