Q: I have an EEO Complaint and I designated a representative to represent me. Initially, my representative was not employed. However, my representative recently began to work in EEO office of another agency. The Agency’s representative is now asking my representative if she would have a conflict of interest representing me. Can she be my representative?
A: In some cases, a representative can be disqualified for having a conflict of interest. As the Code of Federal Regulation states: “[i]n cases where the representation of a complainant or agency would conflict with the official or collateral duties of the representative, the Commission or the agency may, after giving the representative an opportunity to respond, disqualify the representative.” See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.605(c). In many instances, it would be a conflict of interest for an employee in the EEO office to represent an employee of the same agency in relation to an EEO matter. However, it is unlikely that your representative has a traditional conflict of interest in this matter; since she works for a different agency, representing you would probably not conflict with her duties to her agency. As such, I do not believe that your Agency’s lawyer would be able to disqualify your representative simply because she works for another agency.
However, your representative’s employing agency may still object to your representative representing EEO complainants. Furthermore, her employing agency is not required to provide her use of official time to represent you, as might be the case if your representative was an employee of your own agency.
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