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FREQUENTLY ASKED EEO QUESTIONS (NON-SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES)

What is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint?
An EEO complaint involves allegations of workplace discrimination and harassment based on a protected category. EEO complaints also involve allegations of retaliation for engaging in certain types of activity, such as filing a harassment or discrimination complaint or being a witness.
What are the protected categories?
Under federal and state law, the protected categories are:
• Race, color
• Ancestry, national origin
• Religion, creed
• Age (over 40)
• Disability, mental and physical
• Sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or related medical conditions)
• Sexual orientation
• Gender identity, gender expression
• Medical condition
• Genetic information
• Marital status
• Military and veteran status
• Political Affiliation
What are the similarities between discrimination and harassment?
Both discrimination and harassment must be based on one of the protected categories.
What are the differences between discrimination and harassment?

Discrimination involves a personnel decision (e.g., hiring, promoting, or terminating an employee). Therefore, the perpetrator is one with authority to make a personnel decision, such as a supervisor or manager.


Harassment is unwanted, offensive conduct that is “severe” or “pervasive” that makes the workplace intolerable. A coworker, supervisor, or non-employee could be perpetrators of harassment.

What is a “zero tolerance” EEO policy?
A “zero tolerance” EEO policy aims to eliminate any undesirable behavior, not just “severe” or “pervasive” conduct. Therefore, one instance of inappropriate conduct based on a protected category is a violation of the EEO policy.
What do I do if I believe I am a victim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation?
You may report the conduct to any supervisor or manager OR to Human Resources.
What happens after I report a potential EEO issue?
The EEO Office will determine if it has jurisdiction to investigate. If so, it will interview witnesses, review documents, and make a conclusion if there is a violation of the City’s EEO policy. If there is a violation of the EEO policy, corrective action will be taken against the perpetrating employee.
Do I need to complete an EEO complaint form to start an investigation?
No. The City will consider any report (oral or written) of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation to be deserving of investigation
Will the Complainant receive the results of the investigation?
Yes. The Complainant will be notified of the results--specifically, whether there was a
violation of the City's EEO policy.
Will the Complainant be notified of the corrective action taken against the Respondent?
No. The Complainant will not be privy to the discipline imposed because of confidentiality issues.
Will my allegations be completely confidential?
The City cannot promise complete confidentiality. However, EEO complaints are processed as confidentially as possible to conduct a full investigation and to carry out due process.
Are there other options if I want to file a discrimination, harassment, or retaliation complaint?
Yes. Such complaints may also be filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Contact these agencies for filing requirements and deadlines.
If I report an EEO matter but ask the City to not investigate, will it honor my request?
No. Honoring such requests could place other employees at risk of harassment or discrimination as well as place the City at risk for failing to take prompt action.
If the harasser is not a City employee but rather a member of the public or a contractor, what are the City’s obligations?
The City is required to provide a work environment free of harassment; thus, it must take any action within its authority to stop the harassing behavior despite the person’s nonemployee status.
How can I help prevent discrimination, harassment or retaliation from occurring?
• Know the EEO policy.
• Be professional.
• Report potential issues to Human Resources or any supervisor/manager in a timely fashion.
What if I am not sure if the issue is EEO related?
Please contact Don Demavivas or Susan Edmonson at the EEO Office at (916) 808- 5825 to discuss the concern.