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Meeting of March 20, 2013 - Development of a Quality Control Plan for Private Sector Investigations and Conciliations

Written Testimony of Shannon L. Breen Else
Lead Systemic Investigator
Denver Field Office 

I thank you for the opportunity to participate on the panel to discuss this very important topic. This task is great and not easy to accomplish, yet it's worthwhile.

Over the past several months I have served as a member of the Commission's Quality Control Work Group and participated in the discussions and deliberations on how the EEOC should measure what constitutes a "quality" investigation. The Work Group consists of dedicated EEOC staff who believe in our mission and support the work we do. The QCP Work Group has spent many hours examining several different ways that the Commission could measure the quality of its investigations and conciliations. After reflecting on our Work Group's discussions and the various approaches being considered, I question whether defining criteria for what a quality investigation should look like will lead us to the result we all want which is improving the work of the Commission. My suggestion is to spend our time constructing a better environment where quality work is encouraged and rewarded. We all want quality work, yet I do not believe creating more checklists will accomplish that goal. Instead, I recommend that we align our resources in a way that gives Investigators more time to do the work that result in the desired outcomes of a high quality investigation and conciliation. Coming up with the wrong standards may discourage Investigators from doing work on cases that will bring change to the largest amount of people. Having an impact on people's lives by eliminating and remedying discrimination is the most important indication that the work the Commission does is of high quality.

In my opinion, we have an opportunity here to improve the Commission for the better. Unfortunately, I have heard the term 'doing more with less' often during my tenure at the Commission. I work with Investigators every day who are overwhelmed with 'doing more with less'. With our limited resources, I urge the Commission to shift priorities from counting widgets as reflected in our current and already high closure goals to an environment where offices are encouraged to use more of the limited time and resources to do more work on cases that lead us to eradicating discrimination in the workplace which is this Agency's mission. Let's set goals that allow more time and resources be dedicated to priority cases like systemic, which has proven to have the greatest impact on the public and creates change in our society.

Thank you for the opportunity to present my views on this important subject.