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Chair's Message

I am pleased to present the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) for fiscal year 2015. EEOC is dedicated to effective enforcement of the nation's equal employment opportunity laws. The PAR highlights the agency's major achievements and progress toward advancing our mission to stop and remedy unlawful employment discrimination.

In this 50th anniversary year of the Commission, we have had a chance to reflect on the progress we have made as an agency and as a nation, as well as the challenges we have ahead. This is a pivotal moment to renew our national commitment to combating discrimination. There is a growing awareness - across racial and ethnic lines - that we must do more as a country to address issues of equality.

At EEOC, we view this as a critical time to lead our country in identifying persistent barriers to opportunity as well as constructive solutions to address our most stubborn and difficult workplace challenges. Indeed, EEOC's role remains as vital today as it was 50 years ago: To eradicate discrimination in the workplace and promote opportunity for all through enforcement, voluntary resolutions, public education, and outreach.

As we look ahead to the challenges that remain, it is essential that, as a nation, we continue to invest the resources necessary to fulfill our steadfast commitment to equal employment opportunity. In fiscal year 2015, EEOC continued to implement its Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012 -2016, which OMB authorized the Commission to extend through fiscal year 2018, and the related Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). Significant agency accomplishments in fiscal year 2015 include:

  • Benefits for Victims of Discrimination. EEOC secured more than $500 million for victims of discrimination in the workplace, which included:
    • $356.6 million in relief for those who work in the private sector - secured through the agency's mediation, conciliation, and other administrative enforcement efforts.  EEOC achieved record success in its conciliation of private sector charges, with 44 percent of conciliations successfully resolved and 64 percent of systemic investigations resulting in voluntary resolutions. 
    • $65.3 million in relief for charging parties - obtained through litigation. EEOC also obtained substantial targeted equitable relief in both its administrative enforcement and its litigation to remedy violations of equal employment opportunity laws. The agency put new practices in place to prevent future discriminatory conduct in the workplace.
    • $105.7 million in relief for federal employees and applicants through our federal sector process.
  • Challenging Systemic Discrimination. Systemic cases address patterns or practices of discrimination or policies that have a broad impact on a region, industry, or a group of employees or job applicants. In fiscal year 2015, EEOC field offices resolved 268 systemic investigations during the administrative process. In doing so, the agency obtained more than $33.5 million in remedies. In litigation, EEOC resolved 26 systemic cases, six of which included at least 50 victims of discrimination and 13 that included at least 20 victims. 
  • Extensive Outreach and Public Education Activities. In fiscal year 2015, the agency's outreach programs reached more than 330,000 people through more than 3,700 no-cost educational, training, and outreach events. The EEOC Training Institute educated 12,000 individuals at more than 140 events.

In fiscal year 2015, for the 12th consecutive year, the Commission received an unmodified opinion from independent auditors.

The agency effectively managed its internal controls environment during fiscal year 2015. I have concluded that the agency's management controls environment under the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) was sound in fiscal year 2015. Nevertheless, based on a review of agency-wide materials and the assurances of the agency's senior managers, the agency identified nine financial non-conformances in fiscal year 2015. Corrective action plans have been implemented to resolve all of these findings in fiscal year 2016. I am reasonably assured that the financial information and data measuring EEOC's performance contained in this report are complete and accurate.

In addition, EEOC evaluated the effectiveness of the internal controls over financial reporting in accordance with OMB Circular A-123, "Management's Responsibilities for Internal Control," and a material weakness over the controls for financial reporting was identified by an independent financial audit. As a result, I can provide a qualified statement of assurance that the internal controls over financial reporting were operating effectively, with the exception of one material weakness found in the design or operation of EEOC's internal controls over financial reporting, as noted in the Inspector General's Audit Report included in the PAR.

Over the past year, EEOC has focused on rebuilding its workforce after a three-year hiring freeze ended in mid- fiscal year 2014. We invested more than $2 million in employee training and development with the goal of better serving workers and employers affected by workplace discrimination. More than 1,000 EEOC staff members in mission critical occupations received specialized training on subjects such as investigations, litigation, systemic enforcement, and ethics.

While EEOC hired a significant number of front-line staff in fiscal year 2015, many veteran employees retired. Those retirements, along with other attrition, resulted in a net increase of 123 employees. Over the past year, the agency brought on more than 100 new investigators, and the lingering effects of prior year budget constraints resulted in only a slight increase in the pending number of charges.

As our new staff completes training and becomes fully productive, they, along with anticipated new hires in fiscal year 2016, will position the agency to investigate charges more effectively and more promptly. Investments in technology-budget permitting-will further improve the quality of our intake and investigatory processes.

EEOC closed fiscal year 2015 by putting in place three crucial blueprints that will shape the agency's work for years to come.

  • To educate the public about trends and challenges in achieving equal employment opportunity, we outlined a Research and Data Plan that will enable us to use data to enhance our enforcement work.
  • We established Quality Enforcement Practices, which set guidelines for improving the timeliness and ensuring the quality of agency investigations and conciliations.
  • We instituted an agency-wide Communications and Outreach Plan to enhance the clarity, consistency, and coordination of EEOC's vital communications and outreach efforts.

As we celebrate our 50th anniversary year, the employees of EEOC remain committed to meeting the needs, addressing the challenges, and seizing upon the opportunities of the 21st century workforce. EEOC employees continue to give extra effort to get their jobs done and to find ways to do their jobs better. As Chair of the Commission, it is an honor and a privilege to work with my fellow Commissioners, the General Counsel, and our more than 2,300 agency colleagues, as well as with the Administration, Congress, our federal, state, and local government enforcement partners, and the many employers, workers, advocates, and other agency stakeholders affected by our efforts-all working to fulfill EEOC's mission.