Office of Adjudication (OA)
The Office of Adjudication supports OASCR’s mission largely through its Employment and Program Directorates.
What We Do
1. Employment Complaints Division (ECD)
ECD’s primary mission is to review formal equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaints filed against the various sub-agencies and offices of the Department under various Federal anti-discrimination statutes and regulations. ECD accepts or dismisses formal EEO complaints and refers accepted claims to the Employment Investigation Division for investigation, or issues a Final Agency Decision dismissing the complaint on various procedural grounds. Additionally, ECD reviews requests for amendments and modifications to formal complaints previously accepted and referred for investigation, and issues Amendments or Modifications accordingly. ECD is also responsible for maintaining and transmitting the complete complaint file for all appeals filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
2. Employment Investigations Division (EID)
EID is responsible for ensuring the fair and thorough investigation of EEO complaints in strict compliance with EEOC regulations and Management Directive (MD) 110. Additionally, under applicable regulatory authorities, EID ensures the agency and any Federal employee serving as a witness produce documentary and testimonial evidence, as the investigator deems necessary. The investigator takes testimonial evidence from witnesses under oath or affirmation. When a party fails, without good cause, to respond timely and fully to requests for documents, records, comparative data, statistics, affidavits, or attendance of witnesses, the investigator may note such failure in the Report of Investigation (ROI). The ROI addresses each issue accepted for investigation. EID ensures a complete and impartial and factual record, allowing a factfinder to decide whether discrimination occurred. Before release, EID reviews ROIs for legal sufficiency. Upon receipt and review of an ROI, a complainant may request either a hearing before the EEOC, or a Final Agency Decision from the Department.
3. Employment Adjudication Division (EAD)
EAD’s primary mission is to independently and objectively analyze the facts and apply the applicable laws to complaints of employment discrimination filed by current and former USDA employees, or applicants for USDA employment, and to then objectively and impartially issue Final Agency Decisions on the merits. EAD also monitors all findings of discrimination, settlement agreements, EEOC and MSPB Orders of Relief to ensure compliance with all terms. Furthermore, EAD keeps abreast of developments in federal sector employment law, EEOC Guidance, Executive Orders, and keeps abreast of court rulings relating to federal sector employment law. Under the applicable regulatory authorities, EAD:
- Reviews Reports of Investigation and writes Final Agency Decisions.
- Monitors all settlement instruments to ensure compliance with same.
- Analyzes complaints of non-compliance and writes Final Agency Decisions addressing non-compliance allegations.
- Addresses remands from the EEOC.
- Prepares reports outlining the progress of the division.
1. Program Complaints Division (PCD)
PCD’s primary mission is to determine, under Federal civil rights laws, regulations and policies, the disposition of complaints from persons alleging discrimination in USDA’s federally conducted or federally assisted programs. The process includes jurisdictional determinations and disposition of correspondence determined to be “non-complaints.” Through PCD, USDA accepts complaints for investigation, dismisses complaints on jurisdictional grounds, or refers complaints to the proper jurisdictional agency. PCD staff independently and objectively investigates accepted complaints. The program investigation process is an impartial process to determine the facts and evidence surrounding the complaint; its purpose is to establish a face-based, evidence-supported record of the accepted allegations. PCD forwards the results of its investigations to the Program Adjudication Division for final determination.
2. Program Adjudication Division (PAD)
PAD’s primary mission is to independently and objectively analyze the facts and apply the applicable laws to complaints of discrimination involving programs or activities conducted or assisted by the USDA, and to then objectively and impartially issue Final Agency Decisions on the merits. Additionally, PAD is responsible for analyzing complaints of non-compliance and writing Final Agency Decisions addressing non-compliance allegations.
Final Agency Decisions are final unless the complaint involves an allegation of disability discrimination in a program or activity conducted by USDA. If a complaint alleges discrimination based on disability in a conducted program, the complainant may appeal the Final Agency Decision to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights within 90 days of receiving the Final Agency Decision. These appeal procedures only apply to complaints alleging discrimination based on disability in a conducted program.
How We Can Help
For information on the status of your complaint, contact the OASCR Information Research Service at CR-INFO@ascr.usda.gov.