The EEOC issues regulations that govern how complaints are processed. These regulations impose time limits on each step of the complaint process. The following table shows some important time frames in the complaint process and how they are affected by electing EEO Counseling or mediation.
|Where in Process||Stage||With EEO Counseling||With Mediation|
|PRE-COMPLAINT||Informal Stage||Counseling must be completed within 30 days of contact with the EEO Office.||Pre-Complaint period may be extended, but cannot exceed 90 days from date of contact with the EEO Office.|
|COMPLAINT||Formal Stage - Investigation||Investigation must be completed within 180 days of the filing date.||Investigation may be extended up to 90 days (270 days total). Investigation will continue during mediation.|
|COMPLAINT||Formal Stage - Adjudication||Times vary depending on election of hearing or final agency decisions.||All time limits on adjudication can be extended up to 90 days for mediation.|
In all cases, extension of regulatory time frames must be agreed to by the complainant or his or her representative in writing. Extensions may be requested or granted for reasons other than electing mediation, and the time frame for completing investigations may be further extended if formal complaints are consolidated or amended.