EEOC has developed this Shutdown Contingency Plan in the event of an absence of appropriations, as required by OMB Circular A-11, and in accordance with the Antideficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. 1341-1342, the Comptroller General's opinion of March 3, 1980, and the Attorney General’s opinions of April 25, 1980, and January 16, 1981. This plan identifies excepted activities which will continue during the shutdown. It is expected that the shutdown process itself will be completed in less than one day. Office Directors who believe that certain shutdown procedures will take longer than one day will need to get approval for an extension from the Chair.
EEOC ACTIVITIES DURING GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN:
Pursuant to the plan, only activities involving the safety of human life or the protection of property will continue. Specifically, EEOC will: preserve the rights of aggrieved individuals under the federal employment discrimination statutes by docketing new charges and federal sector appeals; continue to litigate lawsuits where a continuance has not been granted; examine new charges to determine whether prompt judicial action is necessary to protect life or property and, if appropriate, file such action to obtain preliminary relief; maintain the integrity and viability of EEOC’s information systems; maintain the security of our offices and property; and perform necessary administrative support to carry out those excepted functions. The bulk of these activities would be handled by staff in our field offices.
EEOC ACTIVITIES THAT WILL NOT OCCUR DURING SHUTDOWN:
Section 124 of OMB Circular A-11 requires that agencies submit plans for an orderly shutdown in the event of a lapse in appropriations to OMB. The Circular requires that agencies include the number of employees to be retained under the plan in the following three categories of employees:
1) employees engaged in military, law enforcement, or direct provision of health car activities -- EEOC would retain 0 employees;
2) employees whose compensation is financed by a resource other than annual appropriations -- EEOC would retain 0 employees; and
3) employees who will protect life and property -- EEOC would retain 131 staff and contract personnel, many part-time or on call.
In a February 28, 2011 memorandum, the EEOC’s Office of Legal Counsel provided guidance on Government operations in the event of a lapse of appropriations. As described in more detail below, after effecting an orderly shutdown of the agency, EEOC would retain a very limited number of employees under the third category to protect government and individual property rights (the “emergency” exception).
Employees necessary to effect an orderly shutdown of the agency. These “shutdown personnel” can be excepted from the Antideficiency Act bar based on the “necessary implication” exception. “Shutdown personnel” may only work on shutting down the agency and must leave the workplace when their shutdown responsibilities are completed. Shutdown responsibilities include, among other things, placing messages about the government shutdown on voicemail and email accounts, canceling meetings and travel plans, requesting extensions in litigation, identifying excepted personnel and their functions, and posting a notice on the website explaining the shutdown and EEOC’s retained functions.
Employees who perform any of the following six functions that are excepted from a general government shutdown under the “emergency” exception. This exception to the Antideficiency Act allows an agency to accept voluntary services in emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property. EEOC has determined that, to ensure that charging parties’ or other workers’ rights under EEOC’s laws are not lost, the following six functions at EEOC fall within the emergency exception:
A. COVERAGE. This Shutdown Contingency Plan covers all EEOC officers, employees, and on-site contract personnel, except as noted below. All activities of the agency are subject to shutdown provisions when invoked, except as noted below.
B. EXCEPTIONS. In the event of a lapse of appropriations, the agency is to prepare for orderly shutdown by releasing through furlough all employees except for the following:
III. PLANNING FOR SHUTDOWN
To prepare for a possible lapse in appropriations, the Commission will do the following:
24 hours prior:
IV. SHUTDOWN ACTIVITIES
The orderly shutdown of Agency operations is an excepted activity. The suspension of Agency operations, which is to be completed as soon as possible on the day after the Commission’s appropriation has lapsed, is to be coordinated by Office Directors and District Directors. Shutdown responsibilities would include, among other things, placing messages about the government shutdown on voicemail and e-mail accounts; canceling meetings and travel plans; requesting extensions in litigation; identifying excepted personnel and their functions; and posting a notice on the website explaining the shutdown and EEOC’s retained functions. Employees not retained or excepted should depart upon completion of their excepted shutdown functions. It is anticipated that the majority of employees will complete their shutdown responsibilities in 4 hours or less, but a small number of employees may require 8 to 16 hours.
V. CONTINUING EXCEPTED FUNCTIONS
In order to maintain the six identified excepted functions, the following staffing levels have been authorized.
Office of Field Programs
In the absence of an appropriation, the bulk of the Commission’s emergency functions would be handled by staff in the Office Field Programs (OFP). Of specific concern would be the preserving the rights of potential charging parties to timely file a charge of employment discrimination; and obtaining preliminary relief when we conclude, after receiving a charge, that prompt judicial action is necessary to protect workers from harm. Depending upon the size of the office, OFP would authorize between one and two enforcement staff daily at each field location part-time. The retained staff would open and date-stamp all incoming mail and review mail for two purposes: 1) to determine whether any submitted charge(s) must be processed immediately in order to avoid expiration of the limitations period for filing and 2) to identify charges where emergency preliminary relief is required to protect the safety of life or property. For inquiries close to the limitations period, staff would contact the Charging Party, and conduct any necessary interview to ensure that a timely charge is taken and served. Preliminary relief cases would be given to the retained legal staff (see Office of General Counsel below). For the 13 offices with the largest inquiry and charge activity (5001 -11,000 annually), OFP would retain two staff each day; for the 16 offices with the next largest activity (3001 - 5,000), 1.5 staff would be retained; for the 13 offices with activity of 2001 -3,000, 1 staff person would be retained; and for the 11 offices with 2000 or less, OFP would retain one staff member on a part-time basis each day.
With regard to customer service and information needs, the Commission’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) will have a message informing people of the shutdown, providing specific instructions for potential charging parties who are nearing the time limits for filing, and telling all other potential charging parties to send a letter or questionnaire to the EEOC office nearest them or to EEOC Headquarters. The external website would also have a message informing the public of the shutdown with similar information and a link to the questionnaire. Depending on the availability of security in some of the offices, face-to-face accessibility may be limited. Therefore we anticipate that most contact with the public will be made by phone or email and not in person during the shutdown.
Finally, two staff members would also be retained in order to review all incoming Intake Information Group (IIG) e-mails to filter inquires approaching the tolling of their statute of limitations period.
Total staff: 84 OFP staff would be retained – some full-time and some part-time.
Office of General Counsel
In the absence of an appropriation, staff will be needed to monitor incoming mail concerning pending litigation; to review new charges in order to seek emergency judicial relief as authorized by statute or procedural rules; and/or to comply with litigation responsibilities and obligations under court orders where extensions and stays have not been granted.
The Office of General Counsel will retain 20 staff members—15 Regional Attorneys in the Field1 and 5 Staff in Headquarters in order to support these excepted emergency functions.
Office of Federal Operations
In order to carry out the intake and logging of appeals and requests for reconsideration, three to four staff will be retained as needed to protect filing dates for intake, phone, and mail functions.
Office of the Chair and Commissioners
The Chair, and all other presidentially-appointed staff subject to Senate confirmation, will continue to carry out their responsibilities. To support the duties of the Chair, the Chief Operating Officer and one additional support staff (the Administrative Officer, the Executive Assistant, or Administrative Support Assistant) will remain on call as needed. To support the duties of the remaining Commissioners, the Chair’s support staff person will also be able to perform payroll functions and address travel emergencies for all Commissioners as necessary
Total staff: Two staff would be retained or on call.
Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs
In order to maintain needed communication with Congressional and media stakeholders and provide timely and necessary information to the Office of the Chair concerning congressional developments and actions, the Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs will retain the Office Director and Deputy Director on a rotational basis.
Total Staff: One staff member would be retained on call.
Office of Information Technology
To provide IT support for the retained staff, the Office of Information Technology will:
Total Staff: To support the above emergency functions, the OIT will have 8 staff members and one contractor on call for security/COOP issues/incidents, to oversee computer room operations, to monitor and perform incident response for telecommunications, and to monitor and perform incident response for essential systems. In addition, OIT will retain one part-time (4 hours a day) contractor to perform system backup and monitoring functions.
Office of Human Resources
Under a shutdown, OHR will have to ensure that timecards are certified and released for the pre-shutdown pay period; process furlough actions, approve furlough actions; respond to inquires from employees; and obtain daily roll call from essential employees for payroll purposes. The following employees will be retained to support these operations: The Chief Human Capital Officer, Personnel Operations Director (initially for three days and possibly on rotation with the Chief Human Capital Officer) and an HR specialist.
Total Staff: Three staff members will be retained, some full-time and some part-time.
Office of the Chief Financial Officer
In the event of a shutdown, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) will need to retain one employee to ensure the security of EEOC’s offices and property and to monitor the security of EEOC offices. In addition, OCFO will need to retain staff for the following functions: monitoring contractors performing excepted functions, financial/E2 system issues and as a point of contact for NBC business transactions. OCFO will also need to retain one staff member to oversee financial issues including overseeing the use of credit cards and exceptions. Finally, OCFO will need to retain skeletal staff to handle incoming mail/express delivery, PO Box pickup etc.
Total Staff: Five to six staff members would be retained.
Office of Legal Counsel
In order to respond to legal questions from staff performing excepted functions, the Office of Legal Counsel would retain two staff members on a rotating, on-call basis.
Total Staff: One staff member will be on call.
The Offices not named above Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), Office of the Inspector General (OIG), and Office of Research, Information and Planning (ORIP)) will not have designated retained employees beyond the shutdown period. However, should an emergency situation arise involving the protection of human life or property and necessitating the involvement of individuals from these offices, the Chair or COO will notify and retain appropriate staff for the amount of time necessary to address the specific emergency.
VI. STAFF TOTALS
A. STAFF ON-BOARD: EEOC expects to have approximately 2600 staff and contract personnel on board before implementation of the shutdown contingency plan.
B. STAFF RETAINED: EEOC expects to retain 131 staff and contract personnel, many part-time or on call, during an agency shutdown.