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Meeting of July 18, 2012 – Public Input into the Development of EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan

Written Testimony of Elizabeth Grossman, New York District Office

Chair Berrien, Commissioner Barker, Commissioner Feldblum, and Commissioner Lipnic, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this important hearing, in my capacity of former Chair of the Committee of Advisors for Systemic Enforcement, known as CASE. CASE was established as a result of a recommendation of the Systemic Task Force, which was adopted by the Commission in April 2006. The Systemic Task Force Report recommended that CASE be “responsible for helping to ensure that the agency combats systemic discrimination effectively” and stated that CASE should be a useful source of “assistance and support.” The Task Force Report suggested CASE should focus on three primary areas: (1) reviewing the agency’s systemic efforts, (2) serving as a resource on systemic matters, and (3) reporting to the Commission on the agency’s systemic program. In adopting this recommendation, the Commission stated that CASE “should assess the agency’s overall effectiveness in combating systemic discrimination and serve as a resource on systemic matters.”

In January 2008, nine CASE members were appointed by the Office of Field Programs, the Office of General Counsel, and the Office of Research, Information and Planning. Members were selected on the basis of their systemic enforcement experience and expertise, and served two year terms ending in the Spring of 2010. I am pleased to be here today to comment on CASE’s past recommendations and how the current CASE can be of assistance in implementing the strategic plan.

During its two years, CASE made many recommendations regarding the systemic program which have been implemented in various ways across the agency. Several are reflected in the strategic plan itself. I’d like to emphasize two CASE recommendations which are also captured by the Strategic Plan and which I believe will be now be given appropriate attention.

First, CASE recommended a greater degree of assistance by headquarters offices in facilitating coordination and communication among field offices. While there have been improvements in coordinating and consolidating systemic investigations, there is still no consistent effort to investigate company-wide policies and to obtain relief for all affected victims in these cases. CASE believes that this coordination must be done through not only accurate internal recordkeeping but also a formal mechanism to ensure that staff share information about common issues and respondents. Previously, for example, CASE recommended appointment of a headquarters staff person to review charge data and coordinate consolidation of investigations among field offices. CASE also suggested compilation of a list of EEOC staff with expertise in various aspects of developing and proving systemic cases as well as a protocol which would assist field offices in designing partnerships.

Second, CASE emphasized the need to further improve the Commission’s technology tools, as well as increase adherence to charge processing protocol so that relevant charge data is available and accurate to staff nationwide.

A second group of CASE members was appointed in March 2012, including two of my co-panelists, Reuben and John. The second CASE has already met and is actively planning its work. I am confident CASE will continue to review the agency’s systemic efforts and systems in conjunction with the strategic plan, and will be a valuable source of assistance to the Commission during its implementation.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address this important issue.