Each ATF region has an EEOC Office with counselors. Many types of discriminatory practices are covered by EEOC laws including standard categories such as race, age, religion, ethnic background, disabilities and hostile work environment. Discrimination can occur just through disparity of treatment. If there are multiple compplaints by similarly situated employee, the group may file a class. These procedures are also captured in the MD110. If at any point you begin to suffer from psychological, emotional or physical problems resulting from the abuse you are incurring from ATF or the agencies action, IMMEDIATELY contact the EAP, a private phsician/psychologist or family doctor and document all issues. The amount and severity relates directly to the damages you can recover when you have prevailed in the process.
You must be aware that any failure to respect mandatory timelines within this process can be fatal
to your complaint. For comprehensive, step-by-step guidance on pursuing an EEO complaint, see EEOC Management Directive MD110
ATF management has often completely ignores
statutory timelines, fails to comply with mandatory procedures, and in many cases, actively obstructs
and subverts the process wherever possible. The ATF Counsel’s Office routinely acts like a private law firm representing the interests of managers that are alleged to have committed serious acts of discrimination, and consistently refuses to resolve such matters at the lowest possible level as prescribed by law.
At the lower levels, the process can seem somewhat disorganized and does not
provide the protections intended by the anti-discrimination laws (as currently administered by ATF). Things do not
operate in a vacuum within ATF, so always assume that nothing
you say, do or file is “confidential”. Recent law changes suggest that ATF management must be made aware that a complaint has been filed in order to be held accountable for their infamous tendency to retaliate against employees who dare to file complaints. If you file an informal or a formal EEOC complaint, do not
rely upon any representation made by an ATF counselor to the effect that you are “absolutely protected”, because you are not
. Once you file a complaint, immediately notify your entire chain-of-command that you have done so (in-writing via email or fax or some other method that leaves a verifiable paper trail).
Be aware that EEOC counselors are mediators and basic fact finders, not
investigators. They need only be apprised of the basic facts concerning your complaint and do not need, nor are they entitled to your actual evidence of discrimination.
If an investigation is initiated, and outside contractors are used, remember the following items:
If your complaint is not
resolved and you intend to pursue it until you are made whole (via administrative hearing or U.S. District Court), make sure all
attachments and exhibits or other supporting evidence are submitted to the investigators. If you have proof of perjury, false documentation or unethical practices during the process, you may want to introduce these later at trial. Allow and even assist management in locking themselves into asserting that your allegations are “not credible” or “untruthful”. The true facts will be exposed at hearing, under oath.
The EEO staff may draft your declaration for you. Ensure that all relevant facts are included in the statement and make any necessary amendments.
Although it is always wise to consult an attorney on such matters, the decision to retain one is solely yours
. The administrative hearing process is fairly straightforward. Simply follow the procedures described in EEOC MD 110.
If you decide to pursue the process on your own in the early stages, make sure that the information requests you submit to ATF during the discovery process (as provided in MD 110) are very specific, focused and clearly relevant to your complaint
. ATF Counsel will almost invariably attempt to withhold documents that you are absolutely entitled to by asserting that your requests are “too vague” or “not relevant”, etc. However, if they ignore legitimate discovery requests, they are obstructing justice and violating the law, and you can
hold them accountable.
Use Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests simultaneously to obtain documents and evidence. The following resources can be assist you with that process:
Carefully review everything
. ATF will often deliberately turn over documents at the very last minute, long after mandatory deadlines, to deny you an opportunity to adequately review them. If any of this occurs, promptly file a “Motion to Compel” with the Judge to force ATF’s timely compliance. Be very specific in your requests.
You may conduct your own depositions as well during the administrative process. You are entitled
to administrative time to prepare your complaint and for your hearing.
The ATF Counsel’s Office has an obligation to represent the Bureau, not corrupt managers.
If they withhold evidence, fabricate or misrepresent facts to the Executive Staff, file a timely complaint with their respective BAR, DOJ Depertmental Ethics Office
, Attorney General’s Office of Ethics, Office of Special Counsel
, or the DOJ Office of the Inspector General