I've been working for Veterans Affairs Medical Center for over 30 years. My last promotion was 25 years ago (from GS 4 - GS 5, step 10) and that one turned out to be a dead end job. According to coworkers and other employees, I am good at my job, and very helpful. As matter of fact, some of them got promoted with my help. However, I've gone so long without a promotion.

Now, here is where I think maybe the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) need to be involved. Lab Manager is an Foreign African Black man and most of the employees that he either hired or promotes will get special rate (higher) pay. While I (American Black woman) get belittled for being the next lower grade until they (supervisor and manager) need me because I know and would help do the work of other higher grade employees. Most employees praise me for helping them but still I'm not getting an offer for a promotion. However, if I'm late all the time, or make (in my opinion) a tiny mistake, that will be a reason not to give a promotion.

  • 2
    "Most employees praise for help them but still I'm not getting an offer for a promotion." Are you able to apply for a new position/promotion within your company?
    – sf02
    Jun 8, 2022 at 19:07
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    Have you ever, in the 33 years you've worked there, talked to your manager about promotion and what it would take to get one? Have you met the requirements to be promoted to the next level?
    – Seth R
    Jun 8, 2022 at 20:02
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    You may want to consider not using your real name, in case your co-workers or boss see this.
    – Herb
    Jun 8, 2022 at 20:10
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    I'm a little confused by your comment " if I'm late all the time, or make to me tiny mistake, that will be a reason not to give a promotion". Are you in fact "late all the time"? That does seem like it would be a reason to not promote you.
    – DaveG
    Jun 8, 2022 at 20:26
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    It is very strange that you did not get any promotion for over 33 years. Have you considered getting a new job elsewhere ? New jobs usually give you a higher salary than getting promotions at old companies. Jun 8, 2022 at 20:37

1 Answer 1


The Department of Veteran Affairs has a Master Agreement (see also all resources for Resources for the VA-AFGE Master Agreement) with the American Federation of Government Employees. If you believe you've been improperly passed over for promotion, you should go talk to your union.

I recommend reading "ARTICLE 23 - Merit Promotion" from the Master Agreement, which outlines what's supposed to happen regarding promotions.

I think you should do this, rather than going directly to the EEOC, because:

  1. You union rep likely has experience in this area.
  2. If your manager has violated the labor contract, you probably don't even have to get into whether it was due to discrimination in order to get relief.

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