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29 C.F.R. Part 1614.105  Pre-Complaint Process
§1614.105   Pre-complaint processing.                                  

(a) Aggrieved persons who believe they have been discriminated    
against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin,  
age or handicap must consult a Counselor prior to filing a complaint  
in order to try to informally resolve the matter.                     
(1) An aggrieved person must initiate contact with a Counselor    
within 45 days of the date of the matter alleged to be discriminatory
or, in the case of personnel action, within 45 days of the effective  
date of the action.                                                   
(2) The agency or the Commission shall extend the 45-day time     
limit in paragraph (a)(1) of this section when the individual shows   
that he or she was not notified of the time limits and was not        
otherwise aware of them, that he or she did not know and reasonably   
should not have been known that the discriminatory matter or personnel
action occurred, that despite due diligence he or she was prevented by
circumstances beyond his or her control from contacting the counselor
within the time limits, or for other reasons considered sufficient by
the agency or the Commission.                                         
(b) At the initial counseling session, Counselors must advise     
individuals in writing of their rights and responsibilities, including
the right to request a hearing after an investigation by the agency,  
election rights pursuant to   1614.301 and 1614.302, the right to file
a notice of intent to sue pursuant to  1614.201(a) and a lawsuit under
the ADEA instead of an administrative complaint of age discrimination
under this part, the duty to mitigate damages, administrative and     
court time frames, and that only the matter(s) raised in precomplaint
counseling (or issues like or related to issues raised in             
pre-complaint counseling) may be alleged in a subsequent complaint    
filed with the agency.  Counselors must advise individuals of their   
duty to keep the agency and Commission informed of their current      
address and to serve copies of appeal papers on the agency.  The      
notice required by paragraphs (d) or (e) of this section shall include
a notice of the right to file a class complaint.  If the aggrieved    
person informs the Counselor that he or she wishes to file a class    
complaint, the Counselor shall explain the class complaint procedures
and the responsibilities of a class agent.                            
(c) Counselors shall conduct counseling activities in accordance  
with instructions contained in Commission Management Directives.  When
advised that a complaint has been filed by an aggrieved person, the   
Counselor shall submit a written report within 15 days to the agency  
office that has been designated to accept complaints and the aggrieved
person concerning the issues discussed and actions taken during       
(d) Unless the aggrieved person agrees to a longer counseling     
period under paragraph (e) of this section, or the agency has an      
established dispute resolution procedure under paragraph (f) of this  
section, the Counselor shall conduct the final interview with the     
aggrieved person within 30 days of the date the aggrieved person      
brought the matter to the Counselor's attention.  If the matter has   
not been resolved, the aggrieved person shall be informed in writing  
by the Counselor, not later than the thirtieth day after contacting   
the Counselor, of the right to file a discrimination complaint.  The  
notice shall inform the complainant of the right to file a            
discrimination complaint within 15 days of receipt of the notice, of  
the appropriate official with whom to file a complaint and of the     
complainant's duty to assure that the agency is informed immediately  
if the complainant retains counsel or a representative.               
(e) Prior to the end of the 30-day period, the aggrieved person   
may agree in writing with the agency to postpone the final interview  
and extend the counseling period for an additional period of no more  
than 60 days.  If the matter has not been resolved before the         
conclusion of the agreed extension, the notice described in paragraph
(d) of this section shall be issued.                                  
(f) Where the agency has an established dispute resolution        
procedure and the aggrieved individual agrees to participate in the   
procedure, the pre-complaint processing period shall be 90 days.  If  
the matter has not been resolved before the 90th day, the notice      
described in paragraph (d) of this section shall be issued.           
(g) The Counselor shall not attempt in any way to restrain the    
aggrieved person from filing a complaint.  The Counselor shall not    
reveal the identity of an aggrieved person who consulted the          
Counselor, except when authorized to do so by the aggrieved person, or
until the agency has received a discrimination complaint under this   
part from that person involving that same matter.       

How to File Informal (pre-complaint) Complaint of Discrimination in federal employment.

Federal EEO Process explained.
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