The discovery process in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints is a critical phase where both parties gather evidence to support their claims and defenses. Discovery helps ensure that both the complainant and the employer have access to relevant information, which can facilitate a fair resolution. This blog post provides an overview of the discovery process in the EEOC, explaining its purpose, key steps, and best practices for federal employees.

What is Discovery?

Discovery is an exchange of information. It is a pre-trial procedure where each party can obtain evidence from the other party through various means to try to better understand and strengthen their case. This process is essential for uncovering facts, identifying witnesses, and building a case. In the context of an EEOC complaint, discovery allows both the complainant and the agency to gather the information needed to substantiate their claims and defenses.

Key Components of Discovery

1. Interrogatories

Interrogatories are written questions that one party sends to the other. The recipient must respond in writing and under oath. Interrogatories are used to obtain detailed information about the facts of the case, witnesses, the opposing party’s contentions, and the evidence they plan to present.

2. Requests for Production of Documents

These requests compel the other party to produce relevant documents and records. This might include emails, personnel files, performance reviews, policies, and any other documents pertinent to the case. Ensuring comprehensive and timely responses to these requests is crucial for building a strong case.

3. Requests for Admission

Requests for admission ask the other party to admit or deny specific facts related to the case. This process can help narrow the issues in dispute and streamline the trial by establishing certain facts as true.

4. Depositions

Depositions are sworn, out-of-court testimony by witnesses. During a deposition, attorneys from both sides can ask questions, and the witness’s responses are recorded by a court reporter. Depositions allow parties to gather detailed testimony and assess the credibility of witnesses.

Importance of the Scheduling Order

The Administrative Judge will issue a scheduling order at the outset of the case. This order generally sets a deadline for when the parties must commence discovery and when they must complete discovery. It may also include procedures for addressing discovery disputes and motions. It is important to understand the schedule and comply with it to ensure complete discovery.

Best Practices for Federal Employees

1. Consult with an Attorney

Discovery can be a confusing and daunting process. Given the complexity of the discovery process, it is critically important to consult with an attorney experienced in federal sector EEOC cases. Legal counsel can help you understand your rights, fulfill your obligations, and develop a strategy for obtaining the evidence you need.

2. Understand Your Rights and Obligations

To successfully complete discovery, a complainant (or their attorney) must be familiar with the discovery rules and procedures outlined by the EEOC. Knowing what is expected of you and what you can request from the other party will help you navigate the process more effectively.

3. Organize Your Evidence

Keep meticulous records of all documents and communications related to your case. Organizing your evidence effectively will make it easier to respond to discovery requests and support your claims.

4. Be Thorough and Accurate

When responding to discovery requests, provide thorough and accurate information. Incomplete or misleading responses can harm your credibility and weaken your case. Ensure that all relevant documents are preserved and produced as required

5. Prepare for Depositions

There is no substitute for meticulous preparation. If you are scheduled for a deposition, prepare thoroughly. Review the facts of your case, practice answering
questions clearly and concisely, and work with your attorney to anticipate potential questions from the opposing counsel.

6. Maintain Professionalism

Throughout the discovery process, maintain a professional and respectful demeanor. A violation of the discovery rules could result in motions, an order compelling discovery, or sanctions. It is important to take the discovery process and your obligations under the rules seriously.


The discovery process in EEOC complaints is a vital component of building a strong case. By understanding the key steps, knowing your rights and obligations, and following best practices, federal employees can navigate the discovery process with confidence. Effective discovery can uncover critical evidence, clarify the issues in dispute, and support your claims of discrimination or retaliation.

While the discovery process may seem daunting, staying organized, seeking legal advice, and being proactive can significantly enhance your ability to present a compelling case. Remember, the ultimate goal of discovery is to ensure that both parties have access to the information they need to achieve a just outcome.

The attorneys of Bramnick Creed, LLC have a deep knowledge of federal employment law and extensive experience in representing federal employees. For more information about our federal employment practice or to contact us, go to our website at or contact Attorney Joe Creed at (301) 945-7800 or