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Air Force testing program to expedite civilians’ EEO complaints

By Robert Goetz | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | April 7, 2017

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — An Air Force test program is allowing civilians who file equal employment opportunity complaints to pursue an option that can expedite their cases.

The pilot program for the Compressed, Orderly, Rapid and Equitable process, also known as CORE, began Oct. 1 and will continue through fiscal year 2018.

“The goal of CORE is to reduce processing time of formal complaints,” said Maria Preda, equal opportunity and alternative dispute resolution manager at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph. “CORE addresses the formal stage – from the filing of the formal complaint to the issuance of the final decision. The process is completed within 127 days, compared to the traditional process, where the investigation itself takes 180 days.”

CORE can be used for most cases, but not for class complaints and mixed cases, Preda said. Mixed cases are claims of employment discrimination related to or stemming from an action that may be appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board.

“EEO cases are employment-related,” she said. “Examples are people who are not hired or promoted in violation of Title VII.”

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information and reprisal.

An employee who files a formal complaint may elect the CORE process or the traditional process known as Part 1614, but use of the CORE process must be accepted by the Air Force Civilian Appellate Review Office, Preda said.

“CORE combines the investigation and hearing processes, thus reducing processing time from 400-plus days to 127 days,” she said. “This is referred to as the CORE Fact Finding Conference.”
However, complainants may elect alternative dispute resolution prior to the CFFC, Preda said.

“If resolution is achieved, there is no future litigation,” she said. “In the event ADR does not resolve the complaint, then the complainant and agency officials enter into the CFFC.”

At the conclusion of the CFFC, the investigator recommends a final agency decision, or FAD, and provides a recommendation of remedies if a violation is found, Preda said.

The complaint file and FAD must be sent within 25 calendar days of the CFFC’s conclusion to the AFCARO, which issues a final FAD within 20 days of receipt of the documents.

“It’s important for those who want to get the complaint heard and processed so they can get back to work,” Preda said. “It takes a toll on people because it’s a very exhaustive process.”