New Data Show Declining Processing Time and Inventory for Hearings and Appeals; Increasing Monetary Benefits for Victims
WASHINGTON - Discrimination complaints filed by federal employees and applicants against Cabinet departments and agencies are being processed faster by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the pending inventory of hearings and appeals has been reduced, and monetary benefits have increased, according to preliminary data for Fiscal Year (FY) 2004 (which ended on September 30).
"The Commission has made impressive gains over the past year in processing its federal sector caseload," said EEOC Chair Cari M. Dominguez. "We are moving in the right direction and making clear progress. Nevertheless, much more needs to be done to make the federal sector complaint system more efficient, expeditious, fair, and cost effective government-wide which will benefit employees, federal agencies and taxpayers alike."
Under the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR, Part 1614), employees or applicants who believe that they have been discriminated against by a federal agency have the right to file an equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaint with that agency. A complainant may request a hearing before an EEOC Administrative Judge after 180 days have expired for the agency to complete its investigation. Additionally, the EEOC may receive a complaint on appeal by either the complainant or the agency. In FY 2004, based on preliminary data, the Commission received 8,924 requests for hearings and 7,831 appeals. Included among the EEOC's accomplishments in processing the federal sector caseload are (note: processing times do not include complaint investigations by federal agencies):
An important way in which the EEOC is assisting federal agencies in eliminating discrimination and creating model workplaces is by providing practical guidance through the implementation of Management Directive (MD-) 715. The Directive, which was approved by the full bi-partisan Commission by unanimous vote in August 2003, became effective government-wide at the start of Fiscal Year 2004. Federal agencies are required to submit their first compliance reports to EEOC under MD-715 by January 31, 2005. MD-715 superceded Management Directives 712, 713 and 714, which were issued in the 1980s. The full text of MD-715 and related information is available on the Commission's web site at www.eeoc.gov.
"As the first new affirmative employment policy issued to agencies in many years, MD-715 is a major step forward on the road to building a model, discrimination-free federal workplace," said Carlton M. Hadden, Director of EEOC's Office of Federal Operations. "This Directive sets forth upgraded standards and contemporary methods by which agencies will measure and analyze diversity, recognizing that equality of opportunity is key to ensuring a top-quality workforce to serve the American people. Under MD-715, federal agencies continue to implement diversity programs and to take affirmative steps toward increasing the employment of under-represented groups, including women, people of color, and individuals with disabilities."
Mr. Hadden pointed out that under MD-715, agencies collect more, not less, statistical information. "For the first time, agencies are now required to use these data to identify and act on root problems causing disparities. Under prior federal policy, agencies often resorted to hiring by the numbers rather than taking meaningful action to remove discriminatory barriers," he said.
The EEOC has adjudicatory responsibilities in the federal EEO complaint process and oversight responsibility for federal programs required by Section 717 of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Title VII and Section 501 mandate that all federal personnel decisions be made free of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or disability, and also requires that agencies establish a program of equal employment opportunity for all federal employees and job applicants. Further information about the laws enforced by the EEOC and the agency's role in the federal sector system is available on the Commission's web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on October 13, 2004.
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