I am pleased to present the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Performance and Accountability Report Highlights (PAR Highlights) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. This report contains the agency’s assessment of its FY 2011 program and financial performance.
Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC opened its doors in 1965, under the leadership of inaugural Chair Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. Over the past four and a half decades, the work of the EEOC has helped to open doors to a wider range of opportunities for people who once might have been discouraged from applying or denied access to jobs on the basis of their race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, or in retaliation for exercising their rights to seek relief under the laws enforced by the EEOC. Today, the EEOC is the nation’s leading enforcer of federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, and in the past year resolved more than 100,000 employment discrimination charges through investigation, conciliation, mediation and litigation. Recognizing that prevention is a critical part of effective law enforcement, the EEOC also provided training and technical assistance, conducted outreach and educational programs, promulgated regulations and published guidance and other materials to facilitate voluntary compliance with, and increase public awareness of the requirements of the laws we enforce.
The Commission’s original charge was to end 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 and promote equal employment opportunity in the federal sector, as well as the private sector.
Over the past decade, a growing number of job seekers and workers across the country have turned to the EEOC for assistance with discrimination complaints. In each of the past three fiscal years, the EEOC has received nearly 100,000 new discrimination charges: a record number of new charges (99,922) were filed in FY 2010, and that total will be surpassed in FY 2011. Nevertheless, between FY 2000 and FY 2008, staffing levels and funding dropped nearly 30 percent. Increased demand for services coupled with reduced staffing fueled dramatic growth in the number of unresolved discrimination charges.
Fortunately, in FY 2009, an infusion of urgently needed resources allowed the EEOC to begin to take steps to reverse this trend. Additional appropriations of $14.6 million in FY 2009 and $23.4 million in FY 2010 allowed the EEOC to begin to reverse the effects of years of underfunding. New investigators, attorneys, mediators, and other mission critical staff were hired across the country, training was enhanced and technology was updated. As detailed in the Performance and Accountability Report, these strategic investments have yielded significant improvements in agency performance during FY 2011, and set the stage for a more efficient and effective EEOC in the 21st century.
For example, between FY 2009 and FY 2010, the private sector charge inventory grew less than 1 percent, and in FY 2011, for the first time in nearly a decade, the private sector charge inventory decreased by more than 8,000 charges. Notably, these results were achieved despite the record number of private sector discrimination charges filed in FY 2010 and FY 2011. Also, despite a significant increase in the number of appeals of final agency decisions filed, the EEOC resolved more than 4,500 federal sector appeals in FY 2011 and reduced the number of appeals pending more than 500 days by 30 percent.
As directed by the Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act (GPRAMA) of 2010, the EEOC is currently developing a new Strategic Plan for implementation in FY 2012. However, in this final year of implementation of the agency’s current strategic plan (http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/strategic_plan_07to12_mod.cfm), the EEOC met or exceeded targets for five (out of nine) performance measures. As discussed more fully in the PAR, nearly all of the charging parties and respondents who participated in the agency’s alternative dispute resolution program (96.9 percent) expressed confidence in the program; the EEOC successfully resolved 90 percent of the litigation it conducted in FY 2011; and the number of individuals benefitted from agency enforcement programs increased in FY 2011.
I am also pleased to report that, for the eighth consecutive year, the EEOC has received an unqualified opinion from independent auditors. Also, the agency effectively managed its internal controls environment during FY 2011. The agency’s management and financial controls environment under the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) was sound in FY 2011. Based on a review of agency-wide materials and the assurances of the agency’s senior managers, the agency identified 10 financial non-conformances, including 5 that carried over from the previous fiscal year. The agency fully corrected all financial non-conformances in FY 2011. I am reasonably assured that the financial information and the data measuring EEOC’s performance are complete and accurate.
From its creation in 1964, the EEOC has been guided by the principle of equal employment opportunity for all. As Chair of the EEOC, I am fully committed to continuing to work with Members of Congress, colleagues on the Commission, the leadership, staff, and stakeholders of the agency, and our enforcement partners at the federal, state and local level to ensure that we make meaningful progress towards fulfilling our mission of promoting equal opportunity in the workplace and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination in the 21st century.
Jacqueline A. Berrien
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
November 15, 2011