Federal law protects employees in government service from acts of discrimination and retaliation. This includes Title VII, the ADEA, the Rehabilitation Act, the Equal Pay Act, and GINA. There are many complexities associated with these rights. A covered federal employee who experiences discrimination must contact an EEO counselor within 45 days. Failing to met deadline will likely waive any right to further protections.

If contact with a counselor is timely there other deadlines that must be met. After the initial counseling session is complete (usually via notice from an EEO counselor), a covered employee has just 15 days to file a formal complaint. This must be filed with Agency where the acts of discrimination or retaliation occurred. There are also requirements about the contents of a formal complaint. This is not a complete list of requirements. There are other timelines and restrictions applicable to both informal and formal complaints. Most importantly, a formal complaint is critical because it is a prerequisite to a lawsuit. In sum, any federal employee subjected to unlawful conduct should immediately research their obligations. Otherwise, they risk waiving important legal protections.