I am pleased to present the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) Performance and Accountability Report Highlights (PAR Highlights) for Fiscal Year 2010. This report contains the agency’s assessment of its fiscal year 2010 program and financial performance. Reflecting the current Administration’s commitment to vigorous civil rights enforcement, the EEOC has seen measurable improvements in our ability to meet the employment discrimination challenges of the 21st century workplace.
Forty-five years ago, under the leadership of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the EEOC opened its doors with the charge of ending employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion in private sector employment throughout the United States. Through the years, new federal laws were passed to extend the EEOC’s enforcement authority to include discrimination on the basis of age, disability, and, most recently, family medical history or genetic information. The agency’s jurisdiction was also expanded to enforce employment discrimination laws in the federal sector, as well as the private sector. Moreover, beyond enforcement, recognizing the value of prevention, the EEOC has become a valuable resource for employers, offering training, technical assistance, and guidance concerning compliance with relevant civil rights laws. The EEOC is, today, the nation’s leading authority on and enforcer of federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination and is the premier champion of equal employment opportunity for all.
Despite the success of the EEOC and the equal employment gains of the past four decades, the EEOC’s resources have not always kept pace with our – and the nation’s – enforcement needs. Between 2000 and 2008, the EEOC’s staffing level was cut by nearly 25 percent, even as our enforcement authority expanded and the number of charges filed reached historic levels. This reduction was not without consequence, resulting in missed opportunities for progress, a growing backlog of unresolved discrimination charges, and unnecessary uncertainty for both employers and workers awaiting guidance or resolution.
Beginning in FY 2009, however, infused with increased resources, the EEOC began the slow and steady process of rebuilding our workforce, reducing our charge inventory, and modernizing agency operations. I want to take this opportunity to thank Commissioner Stuart J. Ishimaru, who ably served as Acting Chairman from January 2009 until my arrival in April 2010, and who began to set the agency on the path toward rebuilding necessary capacity. Over the past two years, the agency has been able to hire and train new investigators, attorneys, and other front-line staff. One of the agency’s greatest challenges has been, and continues to be, resolving discrimination charges filed by private and federal sector employees as efficiently as possible, while at the same time ensuring that the rights of the charging parties and respondents receive appropriate attention and respect.
In FY 2010, the EEOC dramatically slowed the growth of the private sector charge inventory. A near-record number of receipts in FY 2009 left the agency with a pending inventory of 85,768 charges. Despite receiving the highest number of charges in our 45 year history in FY 2010, a total of 99,922 charges, the agency achieved 104,999 resolutions and was left with a pending inventory of 86,338 a one-year increase of 570 charges, or less than one percent. The agency is on track to make further progress in the upcoming fiscal year as we continue to reinvigorate our Priority Charge Handling Procedures (PCHP) and prepare to devote additional resources to backlog reduction. Moreover, plans are under way to more efficiently and effectively enforce civil rights laws under our purview, including by recommitting ourselves to fully implementing the Systemic Litigation Initiative and the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program and enhancing our educational outreach efforts to the private and public sectors to promote voluntary compliance and understanding.
As a testament to the EEOC’s efforts, I am pleased to report that, for the seventh consecutive year, we have received an unqualified opinion from independent auditors. Also, the agency effectively managed its internal controls environment during FY 2010. The agency’s management and financial controls environment under the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) was sound in FY 2010. Based on a review of agency-wide materials and the assurances of the agency’s senior managers, the agency identified 16 financial non-conformances, including two that carried over from the previous fiscal year. Of the 16 identified, the agency fully corrected nine financial non-conformances in FY 2010, and has implemented corrective action plans to resolve the seven remaining findings in FY 2011. I am reasonably assured that the financial information and the data measuring EEOC’s performance are complete and accurate.
Despite this progress, I acknowledge that our efforts are incomplete, and have worked with agency leadership, outside stakeholders and other interested parties to identify areas for improvement. Given our agency’s already increased enforcement responsibilities under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008; the potential for increased enforcement responsibilities under upcoming legislation; and the new challenges and opportunities brought on by a changing workforce, it is critical that the EEOC continue to improve operations and work aggressively toward the goal of providing better service to the public. Similarly, it is critical that we continue to receive the funding necessary to not only maintain the progress made in FY 2010, but continue to build upon it in the future.
The EEOC is determined to fulfill its mission, begun in 1965, to promote equality of opportunity in the workplace and enforce federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination and the realization of our vision of a strong and prosperous nation secured through a fair and inclusive workplace. We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration, Congress, agency stakeholders, and the public at large to achieve these goals.
Jacqueline A. Berrien
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
November 15, 2010