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Civil Rights

MISSION: To provide counsel and recommendations to the Director on civil rights for all clients and employees.

VISION: A diverse workforce that, by reflecting the face of the Caribbean Area, will provide equal opportunity and quality of service to all customers.

NRCS Caribbean Area Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month 2016 - September 15 - October 15

Deputy EEO Official EEO Liaison Officer
Edwin Almodóvar, Director José A. Castro, ASTC-Programs
Phone: 787-281-4836 Phone: 787-281-4962
Fax: 855-415-2513 Fax: 855-415-2513
E-mail: E-mail:

Civil Rights Committee

Name / E-Mail, Program Title Telephone Fax
Lydia E. Collazo, Chair 787-743-2743 x.112 855-415-2507
Edwin Más, Vice Chair 787-831-3101 x106 787-831-3315
Fernando Arroyo, Civil Rights Liaison, ASTC Field Operations 787-766-5064 855-415-2513
Manuel Matos, Civil Rights Advisor 787-831-3101 x.108 855-265-9380
Esperanza Avilés, Federal Women's Special Emphasis Program Manager 787-831-3464 x103 855-415-2510
Gabriel Román, LGBTSpecial Emphasis Program Manager 787-831-3454 x104 855-415-2510
Ismael Matos, Hispanic Special Emphasis Program Manager 787-766-6139 855-415-2513
Yadira Feliciano, American Indian/ Alaskan Special Emphasis Program Manager 787-831-3416, x.104 855-415-2510
Vivian Vera, Asian/ Pacific Islander Special Emphasis Program Manager 787-743-2743, x. 109 855-415-2507  
Michelle Catoni, Disability Special Emphasis Program Manager 787-896-3565, x. 105 855-412-2514
Rudy G. O'Reilly, Jr., Black Special Emphasis Program Manager & Member at Large for USVI 340-692-9662 x. 106 855-415-2508
Josué Román, Veteran's Special Emphasis Program Manager 787-837-4450 x117 855-415-2524
Zahira Vega, Member at Large for PR 787-837-4450 x118 855-415-2524
Mabel Vega, Secretary 787-837-4450 x107 855-415-2524
Julie Wright, Outreach Coordinator 340-692-9662 x. 107 855-415-2508

Caribbean Area Civil Rights Outreach

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Employment Information

Discrimination Complaint Process

If you believe you have been discriminated against because of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, age (if over 40), national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or reprisal for equal employment activities, in an employment matter or in the workplace, and wish to initiate an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint, you must contact your EEO counselor within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory action. Contact the USDA-NRCS Civil Rights Employment Division at 301-504-2181 for assignment of an EEO counselor or visit the NRCS Civil Rights Division EEO Complaint site for more information.

NRCS Civil Rights Employment Division
5601 Sunnyside Avenue
Mail Stop #5472
Belstville, MD 20705-5472

Sexual Harassment Contact (Training & Concerns)

  • Sexual Harassment Hotline: 1-888-FIGHT IT (1-888-344-4848)
  • For information, advice, or assistance, call this toll free number from any phone. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. An NRCS staff member will respond during a 8-hour, workday. If a person is away from the desk, or if you call outside work hours, or on a weekend, an answering machine - one solely dedicated to this hotline which remains in a private, locked office - will tape whatever information you care to disclose.

Employee Assistance Program

Confidential, professional counseling is available at no cost to NRCS employees, provided by The Sand Creek Group, Ltd., Stillwater, MN.  They can help you deal with difficult problems (relationship issues, separation or divorce concerns, alcohol or other chemical abuse, concerns about your job, loss and grief, financial crisis, parent/child difficulties, and many other personal problems. 

  • Phone: 1-888-243-5744 or
  • TDD # 1-800-627-3529

Hispanic and Women Farmer / Rancher Claims Information (Atencion a todos Agricultores o Ganaderos Hispanos y a Mujeres Agricultoras y Ganaderas)

As part of continued efforts to close the chapter on allegations that discrimination occurred at USDA in past decades, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General Tony West have established a process to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who assert that they were discriminated against when seeking USDA farm loans. The program will provide up to $50,000 for each Hispanic or woman farmer who can show that USDA denied them a loan or loan servicing for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000. Individuals interested in participating in the claims process may register to receive a claims package, or may obtain more information, by visiting Completed Claims must be submitted by May 1, 2013.

Related Links


Lydia E. Collazo, Civil Rights Advisory Committee Chair, 787-743-2743 x.112