Equal Employment Opportunity at the CIA
Everyone wants to work in an environment where they feel comfortable and accommodated. At the Central Intelligence Agency, the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (OEEO) ensures that every employee and applicant has a chance to experience a work environment conducive to productivity.
“We give the workforce a voice by providing a place to share EEO issues and concerns,” said Sheryl Brown-Norman, OEEO director. “In turn, OEEO can communicate these concerns to Agency leaders who can make the appropriate changes. We are the link between the employees and Agency leadership on EEO issues.”
Who is OEEO?
OEEO is a resource to all officers and applicants, helping to ensure that the Agency maintains a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. The office also allows every officer the chance to fully contribute to the Agency’s mission, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability.
OEEO offers many services to Agency employees and applicants, including:
- Advice and guidance
- Complaint processing
- Training on EEO issues
- Reasonable accommodations
If CIA employees run into a problem or need to speak with someone, they can call OEEO for help. OEEO provides counseling and addresses claims of harassment or discrimination following the Federal complaints process. Counselors and investigators help employees resolve issues through outreach, training and fact-finding efforts.
Counselors and investigators are responsible for advising employees and supervisors on how to prevent and respond to claims of discrimination. Counselors are available to employees and managers who want to discuss harassment issues in general, and to employees who want to talk about a situation but are not sure that they want to file a claim of harassment.
“OEEO wants to stay in touch with the workforce,” said Martha G., an OEEO counselor/investigator. “We want to keep up with the concerns of employees and managers, so we know what needs to be changed and improved.”
When employees require a sign language interpreter or an adjustment to a workstation relating to a reasonable accommodation, they can call OEEO to facilitate the services needed.
Reasonable accommodations provided include:
- Sign language interpreters;
- Reader services for employees who are blind;
- Appropriate equipment and technology including amplification and signaling devices, teletypewriters (TTY's) for the telephone, print enlargers, screen readers and Braille terminals, alternative keyboards, and voice recognition systems; and
- Workplace modification.
“OEEO provides resources—such as interpreters and assistive technology—to employees who are deaf or hard of hearing so that they can have equal access and accommodations that allow them to do their jobs just like their colleagues,” said Milo M., the lead interpreter and coordinator of interpretive services for OEEO. “OEEO also provides training about deaf awareness and culture for Agency officers and contractors who work with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing.”
Director Brown-Norman stresses that OEEO is a place for Agency applicants and employees to have their voices heard.
“It’s OK to voice your issues and concerns,” she said. “That’s how you bring about change for the better.”