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Office of Civil Rights

At the Department of State, diversity is not just a worthy cause: it is a business necessity. Diversity of experience and background helps Department employees in the work of diplomacy. The Secretary believes that diversity is extremely important in making the State Department an employer of choice. The Secretary has delegated both tasks of advancing diversity within the Department and ensuring equal opportunity to all employees to the Director of the Office of Civil Rights (S/OCR), who also serves as the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO).

S/OCR advises and assists the Secretary and other principal officers in equal employment opportunity (EEO) policy and diversity management issues that relate to the Department of State. The office is symbiotically separated into three sections: Diversity Management and Outreach, Intake and Resolution, and Legal.

The Diversity Management and Outreach section helps the Department foster a work environment free of discrimination by maintaining an affirmative outreach program. It performs this task by preparing workforce diversity reports, managing special emphasis programs, delivering EEO and diversity briefings, conducting workforce analysis to eradicate barriers to equal employment opportunity for individuals and groups, organizing commemorative events to recognize the contributions of a diverse array of individuals and groups, and more.

The Intake and Resolution section handles all complaints surrounding employment discrimination in both the informal/counseling process and the formal complaint process. The Intake and Resolution section manages the Department's Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program and the counseling program. Any employee or applicant who believes he/she has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or reprisal for protected EEO activity should contact S/OCR or an EEO counselor within 45 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory act.

S/OCR is one of the few EEO offices within the federal government to employ in-house counsel. The Legal section seeks to advance the mission of S/OCR by providing assistance with legal compliance as it relates to the administrative processing of EEO complaints and other EEO issues. The Legal section also investigates sexual and discriminatory harassment complaints within the Department reported pursuant to the requirements of 3 FAM 1525 and 1526.

S/OCR is in the forefront of establishing best practices for EEO and diversity management within a federal agency. The Department of State is the first cabinet-level agency to appoint a Chief Diversity Officer with oversight authority to integrate and transform diversity principles into practices in the Department's operations. Another best practice cited by the EEOC is a dialogue between S/OCR and each bureau within the Department to discuss the bureau's current diversity statistics and ways that each bureau can work to improve the diversity of staff, experiences, and thought.

For more information about EEO and diversity, please contact us at:

Office of Civil Rights
S/OCR, Room 7428
Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
Email: socr_direct@state.gov
Tel: (202) 647-9295 or (202) 647-9294
Fax: (202) 647-4969


John M. Robinson Named Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Chief Diversity Officer
John M. Robinson was sworn in on Monday, March 3, 2008, as Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Chief Diversity Officer. Robinson serves as the primary advisor to the Secretary of State and the Department’s senior leadership on equal opportunity, diversity, affirmative employment and related issues. Robinson is coming to State from the staff of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). [more]

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