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Meeting of July 18, 2012 – Public Input into the Development of EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan

Written Testimony of Joe Leonard, Jr., PhD
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Note: You will participate as a panelist on a discussion entitled, “Federal Sector Roundtable”. Co-Panelists: Jason Zuckerman, U.S. Office of Special Counsel; Banjo Akinyemi, Federal Disability Workforce Consortium; Sharon Eller, U.S. Department of the Interior; Ernest Hadley, Federal Employment Law Training Group; Leonard Hirsh, Federal GLOBE; National Coalition for Equity in Public Service; Patricia Randle, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO.

I. Thank You & Acknowledgements

Firstly I want to thank Jackie Berrien for her determined leadership as Chairwoman of the EEOC, and for the invitation to participate in this important meeting regarding the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan. I also want to thank Carlton Hadden and Dexter Brooks for their guidance, and for the technical assistance they have provided to me over the last three years. As the only Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the federal government who oversees delegated authority over a Department’s Title VI and Title VII responsibilities, I knew it would be important to seek the EEOC’s input. I also want to thank Secretary Tom Vilsack for his principled leadership, guidance and trust during the past three years.

II. Recommendations to EEOC

  1. Training for Supervisory, Leadership, and Management 11, 13, 14, 15, and SES.
  2. Greater oversight by the EEOC of the individual agencies’ Civil Rights apparatus.
  3. All EEO Director’s should report to the head of the Agency
  4. The EEOC backlog of cases exists because the Federal employee does not trust the Civil Rights apparatus in their Department or Agency. If the apparatus is working, there would be less of a backlog at EEOC.
  5. The EEOC/Civil Rights apparatus in the Department must find a way in the conclusion, the hearing, the FAD or in the Order of Relief to reconcile with the employee.
  6. ADR must be fully utilized.

II. What I am Most Proud of

In 2009 when I was confirmed by the Senate, 65% of USDA employees elected to go to EEOC for a hearing. Today 65% of USDA employees elect to work through our office for a FAD. I can’t help but think that this sea change is due to their enhanced trust of our Civil Rights apparatus.

With that, I would like to thank Carl Martin Ruiz, Violet Hall, and Kirk Perry for their dedicated service to the employees of USDA to make that change reality.

Thank You.