Naomi Churchill Earp assumed the role of Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on August 31, 2006, after serving as Vice Chair of the Commission since April 28, 2003.
I am pleased to present the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) for Fiscal Year 2008. This report contains the agency’s assessment of its FY 2008 program and financial performance, as well as an updated Strategic Plan that was approved by the Commission and now covers the period through FY 2012.
In FY 2008, while trying to maintain sufficient staff levels, our private sector charge receipts rose to 15.2% above last year’s level. Nevertheless, we continued to focus on improving our delivery of services to the public and strengthening our systemic enforcement efforts. In September, I appointed one of our key field office directors to serve as the national systemic investigation program manager. I also promoted two regional attorneys to senior litigation project managers for the program. Our strong and growing systemic program is crucial to the elimination of any and all instances of unlawful pattern or practices, policy and class discrimination which have a broad impact on an industry, profession, company, or geographic location.
In early December 2008, we will complete the move of our Washington Headquarters and Washington Field Office to 1 NoMa Station, located in a newly developing area northeast of the Capitol. We are confident that our new location, in the heart of an increasingly vibrant commercial and residential community, will address our infrastructure needs and enhance our efforts to serve the public.
In the context of service, the transitioning of our National Contact Center, which was responsible for receiving initial calls and inquiries from the public, from an outside contractor to an in-house operation, known as the Intake Information Group (IIG), is nearly complete. The steps taken during FY 2008 included hiring and training IIG staff and beginning the process of acquiring the technology needed to provide superior customer service. We expect that the transition, which began in December 2007, will be completed by February 2009.
While this has proven to be another year of significant challenge, I am gratified that we have received an unqualified opinion for the fifth consecutive year from independent auditors. I am confident that the financial information and the data measuring EEOC’s performance contained in this report are complete and accurate.
We have also worked together to manage our internal controls environment. Based on a review of agency-wide materials and the assurances of the agency’s senior managers, the agency’s management and financial controls environment under the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) was sound in FY 2008. The agency did identify 20 financial non-conformances, including seven that were carried over from the previous fiscal year. Of the 20 identified, 16 financial non-conformances were fully corrected in FY 2008, including the seven that had been carried over from FY 2007. Of the four remaining financial non-conformances, the agency has implemented corrective action plans to resolve all of the findings in FY 2009.
On the policy front, in fiscal year 2009, we will address the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), which prohibits public and private employers from using genetic information in employment decisions. The EEOC will also be providing tailored training and technical advice and assistance to its full array of stakeholders regarding GINA and its implementing regulations that will be issued in fiscal year 2009. In addition, the agency will be issuing regulations implementing the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, which changes the way EEOC will be evaluating charges of discrimination received under Title I of the ADA and federal sector complaints brought under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act.
In looking ahead, we find that race and color discrimination are still very much alive in the American workplace and that significant work remains to be done. Beyond traditional outreach and education efforts, we will pursue charges for priority, novel or emerging legal issues in the context of race and color discrimination, through the agency’s E-RACE Initiative.
We will also pursue several other key outreach programs, as part of our proactive prevention efforts, including continuing our work with small and medium-sized businesses and Commission Initiatives, such as the Youth@Work and LEAD Initiatives. We will continue our fee-based training and our outreach, education and technical assistance programs to meet the needs of diverse audiences and will partner with the employer community and other stakeholders to foster strategies to recognize and prevent discrimination in the workplace
All of our activities during the past fiscal year were in furtherance of our mission of promoting equality of opportunity in the workplace, while providing high-quality, professional customer service that the public expects. With the achievement of solid and meaningful results, we have made enormous progress towards ensuring equal employment opportunity for America’s workforce, present and prospective.
Naomi C. Earp
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
November 17, 2008