Before federal employees can file a discrimination complaint, they must first talk to their agency’s EEO officer and formally complain within 45 days. There’s no excuse for not following that rule, as long as training materials address the requirement and bulletin boards include the notice.
Recent case: Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee Ricky claimed that some of his co-workers created a sexually hostile work environment when he was falsely accused of sexual harassment. He complained directly to the EEOC.
When challenged on why he never contacted his EEO officer, he claimed he didn’t know he had to.
But the TSA showed that it included the EEO requirement in his training materials and displayed a poster containing the details on the employee bulletin board. That was enough to get the case dismissed. (Campbell v. Burgess, et al., No. 3:11-CV-0068, WD NC, 2012)