Agency Continues to Maintain Progress in Meeting Strategic Enforcement Goals Despite Sequestration and Government Shutdown
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) continued to make progress toward accomplishing its goals and fulfilling its mission during fiscal year (FY) 2014, which ended Sept. 30. Because of the lingering effects of sequestration and the government shutdown, the EEOC fought hard to overcome extraordinary fiscal constraints and operational challenges in FY 2014.
"Despite these hurdles, the employees of the EEOC remain committed to meeting the needs, addressing the challenges, and seizing upon the opportunities of the 21st century workforce," said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang. "Increased hiring achieved at the end of FY 2014 and investments in technology should enable us to more effectively investigate charges in a timely fashion, while also improving the quality of our intake and investigations."
In FY 2014, the EEOC continued to implement its Strategic Plan for FY 2012-2016, as well as its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). The agency met, partially met, or exceeded target results in all 14 measures in the Strategic Plan the EEOC reported in its annual Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) posted yesterday. The SEP establishes priorities and integrates all components of the EEOC's private, public, and federal sector enforcement. Its purpose is to focus and coordinate the EEOC's programs in order to have a sustainable impact in reducing and deterring discriminatory practices in the workplace.
The EEOC secured $296.1 million in monetary relief for victims of employment discrimination in private sector and state and local government workplaces through mediation, conciliation and other administrative enforcement. The EEOC also secured $22.5 million in monetary relief for charging parties through litigation, and $74 million in monetary relief for federal employees and applicants. More importantly, in each of these categories, the agency obtained substantial targeted equitable relief to remedy violations of equal employment opportunity laws and prevent future discriminatory conduct in the workplace.
The agency received 88,778 private sector charges in FY 2014, a decrease of about 5,000 charges from FY 2013. In addition, a total of 87,442 charges were resolved, 9,810 fewer than in FY 2013, which is likely due to the government shutdown and the effects of sequestration. While a hiring freeze and attrition shrunk the number of agency staff between FY 2012 and FY 2013, the agency hired more than 300 staff at the end of FY 2014, adding needed resources to improve service to workers and employers in investigating and resolving charges of discrimination.
The agency's outreach programs reached 236,140 persons during the year through participation in 3,512 no-cost educational, training and outreach events. EEOC's national Training Institute trained over 18,000 individuals at more than 420 events that targeted SEP priorities, including small businesses, vulnerable workers, underserved geographic areas and communities, and emphasized new statutory responsibilities, issues related to migrant workers, human trafficking and youth.
EEOC's mediation program for private sector charges continues to be a successful and integral part of the agency's work. In FY 2014, the EEOC's national mediation program secured 7,846 mediated resolutions out of 10,221 conducted. The agency obtained $144.6 million in benefits for individuals through mediations.
EEOC filed 133 merits lawsuits during FY 2014. This included 105 individual suits, 11 non-systemic class suits, and 17 systemic suits. Legal staff resolved 136 merits lawsuits for a total recovery of $22.5 million. At the end of the fiscal year, the EEOC had 228 cases on its active docket.
The agency continues to build a strong national systemic enforcement program. During the fiscal year, the agency completed 260 systemic investigations, resulting in 78 settlements and conciliation agreements securing approximately $13 million in monetary relief. Systemic lawsuits comprised 13 percent of all merits suit filings, and by the end of the year, represented 25 percent of all active merits suits, the largest proportion of systemic suits on EEOC's active docket since tracking began in FY 2006.
In its federal sector program, the agency resolved 3,767 appeals, including 43 percent of them within 180 days of their receipt. During FY 2014, the EEOC received 4,003 appeals of final agency actions in the federal sector, a 5.7 percent decrease from the 4,244 such appeals received in FY 2013.
The EEOC's FY 2014 PAR is posted on the agency's web site at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/2014par.pdf. Comprehensive enforcement and litigation statistics for FY 2014 will be available on the agency's website in the near future.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site www.eeoc.gov.