The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

A. Introduction to Commission Policies

Over the years, the Commission has adopted various policies and procedures that have influenced the agency’s litigation program. Some of the main policies currently in effect are summarized below.

1. Priority Charge Handling Procedures

In June 1995, the Commission adopted new Priority Charge Handling Procedures (PCHP) designed to give field personnel flexible procedures for processing charges, including discretion to decide the appropriate level of resources to be used for each charge, and permitting settlement in appropriate cases. PCHP requires field offices to classify charges into three categories: A charges include charges which fall within the national or local enforcement plan and other charges where further investigation will probably result in a cause finding; B charges include charges that initially appear to have some merit but will require additional evidence to determine whether continued investigation is likely to result in a cause finding and charges where it is not possible to make a judgment regarding the merits; and C charges are those in which the office has sufficient information to conclude that it is not likely that further investigation will result in a cause finding. A charges will receive priority treatment; B charges will be investigated as resources permit; and C charges will be dismissed.

2. National Enforcement Plan and Local Enforcement Plans

The Commission adopted the National Enforcement Plan (NEP) in February 1996 to identify priority issues and set out a plan for administrative enforcement and litigation of the laws within its jurisdiction. In the NEP, the Commission stated its commitment to “a three-pronged approach to eliminate discrimination in the workplace: (1) prevention through education and outreach; (2) the voluntary resolution of disputes; and (3) where voluntary resolution fails, strong and fair enforcement.” The NEP established national enforcement priorities; set general parameters for the development of Local Enforcement Plans (LEPs) by field offices that tailor their priorities to the specific needs of the communities they serve; and delegated to the General Counsel authority for approving litigation of many types cases. (The NEP is set forth in section III.B. of this Part of the Manual).

3. Plans and Reports under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993

The Commission has adopted other policies and procedures in response to Congressional enactment of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), 31 U.S.C. 1101, et seq. GPRA requires agencies to prepare a strategic plan setting forth goals and objectives and to track progress toward meeting those goals and objectives in annual reports. The Commission’s current Strategic Plan sets forth goals and objectives for performance for each year in the period FY 2004 through FY 2009. In addition to the five-year strategic plan, the Commission has adopted interim (annual) performance plans and has prepared annual reports on performance under the strategic plan. The Commission’s annual performance plans and reports and other strategic planning documents are available on the EEOC’s public Web site at

4. Five-Point Plan

The Five-Point Plan is the strategic framework through which the EEOC is to accomplish Chair Cari M. Dominguez’s vision for the agency. The Five-Point Plan focuses on key, interrelated, program elements: “proactive prevention, proficient resolution, strategic enforcement and litigation, enhanced mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and EEOC as a model workplace.” It builds upon what EEOC has done to improve its operations and seeks to broaden the agency’s reach through increased education, outreach, mediation, and strategic enforcement and litigation. (The Five-Point Plan is set forth in section III.C. of this Part of the Manual).

5. Web Resources

Title Description and Web Address
EEOC Annual Performance Plans EEOC Annual Performance Plans - strategic plans for the Comission’s performance under GPRA, on the EEOC’s Web site.
EEOC Annual Performance Reports EEOC Annual Performance Reports - annual reports on the Commission’s performance under GPRA, by fiscal year, on EEOC’s Web site.
Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), 31 U.S.C. 1101, et seq., on U.S. House of Representatives’ Web site. Requires agencies to prepare a strategic plan setting forth goals and objectives and to track progress toward meeting those goals and objectives in annual reports.
National Enforcement Plan Text of the Commission’s National Enforcement Plan (Feb. 1996), on EEOC’s Web site.
Planning and Strategic Reports The Commission’s strategic plans, its reports on implementing those plans, and other reports, on EEOC’s Web site.
Report of Charge Processing Task Force and Litigation Task Force Reports of the Commission’s Priority Charge Handling Task Force and Litigation Task Force (March 1998), on EEOC’s Web site.

This page was last modified on May 18, 2005.

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