A complainant who is an employee of an agency shall have a reasonable amount of official time, if otherwise on duty, to prepare an EEO complaint and to respond to agency and EEOC requests for information. If the complainant has designated another agency employee as a representative, that employee shall have a reasonable amount of official time, if otherwise on duty, to prepare the complaint and respond to agency and EEOC requests for information. 29 CFR 1614.605 (b).
- An agency employee is entitled to official time to represent another employee in non-pay status as long as the employee was an employee at the time of the alleged adverse action. Kwok v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC No. 05940368 (1994), 95 FEOR 3102.
- An agency must grant employees reasonable official time to travel to EEO meetings. Saunders v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC No. 01850205 (1986), 86 FEOR 3300. What is reasonable depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. Saunders v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC No. 05860155 (1986), 86 FEOR 22625.
- It is not unreasonable for a complainant to request that EEO meetings be scheduled while he is “on the clock.” Zuniga v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC No. 01831980 (1983), 83 FEOR 21338.
- A complainant who was not allowed to change his schedule so he could attend an EEO hearing in pay status was entitled to overtime pay because he had already worked a full work week. Edwards v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC No. 05950708 (1996), 97 FEOR 3039.
- The agency improperly denied the complainant official time to fill out a form to request EEO counseling. Accordingly, the EEOC directed the agency to credit the complainant with the 1.5 hours of time she spent off the clock filling out the form. Shepherd v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC No. 05960547 (1997), 98 FEOR 3049.
- Sixteen hours of official time to prepare for an EEO hearing was reasonable under the circumstances of the complainant’s case. Segura v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC No. 01841339 (1986), 86 FEOR 20167.
- The appropriate remedy for an improper denial of official leave depends on the circumstances of the case. “If appellant used annual leave to represent the complainants, then the agency shall restore the leave to him. If appellant prepared for the cases on his own time, the agency shall provide him with official time to be used as he deems suitable. As to when and how appellant should be allowed to utilize the official time due him, the Commission notes that reasonableness should be the guide, and that the parties should jointly determine when and under what circumstances the time shall be used. Finally, if appellant was required to take leave without pay in order to prepare the cases, then the agency shall reimburse him with back pay and any appurtenant benefits.” Harrell v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC No. 01942166 (1995), 95 FEOR 3213.
- The agency was ordered to restore four hours of annual leave to the complainant after the EEOC determined it improperly required the complainant to take the leave to prepare for a hearing when instead he should have been granted official time. Brown v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC No. 04940004 (1995), 95 FEOR 3123.
- Denying the complainant official time to represent co-workers in connection with petitions for EEOC review of MSPB decisions was “tantamount to reprisal discrimination.” Harrell v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC No. 01942166 (1995), 95 FEOR 3213.
Source: Official Time: EEO Cases