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Classification & Qualifications General Schedule Qualification Standards

Positions Involving Equal Employment Opportunity Collateral Assignments

These qualification requirements cover Federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) collateral duties only. Employees assigned such collateral duties must, of course, meet the qualification requirements for the occupational series and grade levels to which their positions are classified.

Definition of EEO Collateral Assignments

EEO collateral assignments are official EEO duties and responsibilities assigned to an employee in addition to the primary duties and responsibilities of the position the employee occupies.

EEO Assignments not covered by this standard.

If an assignment has any of the following characteristics it is not a collateral assignment, and this standard should not be used:

  • The EEO assignment controls the grade of the position. (Guidance for determining if an assignment is grade-controlling can be found in the "Introduction to the Position Classification Standards.")
  • The EEO assignment is the primary reason for establishing or continuing the position.
  • The EEO assignment is intended to be a permanent assignment.

EEO assignments that meet any of the above criteria are not collateral duties, and should be treated as continuing regular assignments. The position must be classified according to position classification principles, including principles for classifying mixed-grade positions. If the official EEO assignment results in a promotion, agency merit promotion procedures must be followed, the employee must meet qualification requirements for the grade level and series of the resulting new position, and the nature of the promotion action must be consistent with the intended duration of the assignment. Agencies must comply with adverse action regulations if removal of a permanent EEO assignment from a position results in a reduction in grade level or pay.

Documenting EEO Collateral Assignments

Official EEO duties and responsibilities assigned to employees on a collateral basis must be described in the official position description that covers the position the employee occupies. This documentation reflects the requirements imposed on the position by the EEO collateral assignment, and permits a determination that there is no grade-level effect of the collateral assignment.

Before EEO collateral duties are assigned to any employee, the agency should make a reasonable effort to determine if the assignment will affect the classification of the position, including grade level, or otherwise constitute a non-collateral assignment.

Basic Qualification Requirements for all EEO Collateral Assignments

In addition to meeting the qualification requirements for the series and grade level of their positions, employees who receive EEO collateral assignments should possess the following:

  • Understanding of how agency policies and practices affect the equal employment opportunities of all employees;
  • Understanding of the intent of the laws and regulations governing Federal equal employment opportunity;
  • Understanding of the employment problems of underutilized persons and classes in the workforce and labor market, particularly racial and ethnic minorities, women, older workers, people with disabilities, or the economically disadvantaged;
  • Ability to establish effective working relationships with and gain the confidence of managers and supervisors at all levels of the agency, as well as with employees regardless of their occupation, race, sex, ethnic heritage, or socioeconomic background; and
  • Potential to acquire the following:
    • Knowledge of the general structure of the Federal personnel system including classification, staffing, recruitment, performance evaluation, career development, labor relations, appeals, grievances, adverse actions, and employee rights and responsibilities;
    • General knowledge of the missions, organizational structure, and distribution of responsibilities within the agency; and
    • Understanding of the current labor market, e.g., types of jobs available, supply of and demand for certain types of skills, recruiting methods, sources of recruitment, and projected employment needs of the agency.

For EEO Counselor Positions:

EEO counselor collateral assignments also require the ability to:

  • Learn complaint procedures in detail;
  • Learn basic EEO principles and terms;
  • Communicate orally to explain procedures and regulatory requirements to complainants and management officials who may be angry, confused, or distressed because of the circumstances that caused the complaint, or because of the complaint itself;
  • Obtain and organize facts presented by persons who may be angry, confused, or distressed;
  • Conduct factfinding to locate and obtain necessary documentation materials in connection with informal resolution of a complaint;
  • Gain an understanding of a particular EEO case, identify the issues, and apply the relevant personnel regulations and principles;
  • Clarify issues, discuss issues, and resolve misunderstandings if they exist (during the informal stage of a complaint);
  • Report facts objectively; and
  • Write simple, clear, and factual narrative statements (for reports).

EEO counselors who have not demonstrated the required knowledge, skills, and abilities within a reasonable period of time on the job, e.g., 6 months, should not be retained as EEO counselors.

For EEO Program Manager Positions:

In addition to the basic requirements for all EEO collateral assignments, EEO program managers must possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for entry level positions in the Equal Employment Opportunity Series, GS-260.

Additional and higher level knowledge and skills, such as those required for equal employment opportunity specialist positions at higher grade levels, may be required when they are related to the duties and responsibilities of the collateral assignment.

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