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EEOC Informal Discussion Letter

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

EEOC Office of Legal Counsel staff members wrote the following informal discussion letter in response to an inquiry from a member of the public. This letter is intended to provide an informal discussion of the noted issue and does not constitute an official opinion of the Commission.

Title VII/Race/Termination/Harassment/Criminal Record

February 26, 2013

Dear    :

This is in response to your letter to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), dated February 1, 2013. The EEOC enforces, among other laws, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination on the bases of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin.

Your letter raises issues concerning your termination and alleged racial harassment at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Our understanding from your letter is that the IRS terminated your employment, contending that you falsified your application Form 306 by indicating that you had no pending criminal charges. You state that you were subject to racial harassment prior to these allegations. Under OPM's rules, agencies may bar individuals from federal employment for up to three years if they are found unsuitable based on criminal or dishonest conduct, among other factors. See 5 C.F.R. § 731.202(b) (disqualifying factors from federal civilian employment may include: misconduct or negligence in employment; material, intentional false statement, or deception or fraud in examination or appointment). Discrimination arises if the agency treats applicants differently under these standards based on their race or if a standard is unrelated and unnecessary to the job and also excludes significantly more people of one race as compared to people of other races.

Your letter also states that you filed a complaint in federal district court, but the judge concluded that you were legally terminated because you misrepresented your criminal history on the employment declaration. The EEOC cannot address whether your case was properly decided by the court, and the EEOC cannot advise you about how to proceed. For help with evaluating your options, we suggest that you retain an attorney. You may call 1-800-669-4000 to locate the nearest EEOC field office and request a list of attorneys who handle employment discrimination cases on behalf of plaintiffs. Please note, however, that the EEOC may not have listings for attorneys in your area, and does not endorse the services of any attorney on any such lists. You may also contact the EEOC's website at for a list of EEOC offices and additional information concerning federal employment discrimination laws.

For your convenience, we have attached the following guidance:

We hope that this information is helpful. Please note that this letter does not constitute an opinion or interpretation by the Commission within the meaning of § 713(b) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-12(b).


Carol R. Miaskoff
Assistant Legal Counsel

This page was last modified on March 26, 2013.