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Instructions to Federal Agencies for EEO MD-715

Section II
Barrier Identification and Elimination


I. Purpose of Barrier Analysis

Pursuant to 29 CFR 1614.102(a)(3), federal agencies shall conduct a continuing campaign to eradicate every form of prejudice or discrimination from personnel policies, practices, and working conditions. Essential Element D of MD-715 establishes the barrier identification and elimination process as the means by which agencies will implement this regulatory requirement:

Agencies have an ongoing obligation to prevent discrimination on the bases of race, color, national origin, [religion], sex, [age], reprisal, [genetic information], and disability, and eliminate barriers that impede free and open competition in the workplace. As part of this on-going obligation, agencies must conduct a self-assessment on at least an annual basis to monitor progress, identify areas where barriers may operate to exclude certain groups and develop strategic plans to eliminate identified barriers. A more detailed explanation of this process follows at Part A (Title VII) and Part B (Rehabilitation Act) of this Directive.

In the past, agencies focused on achieving parity, which temporarily improved workforce demographics. MD-715, however, requires agencies to move beyond treating the symptom (i.e., workforce demographics) to cure the true problem (i.e., failure to accommodate or lack of career development opportunities). As such, the purpose of barrier analysis is to uncover, examine, and remove barriers to equal participation at all levels of the workplace. Pursuant to MD-715, the barrier analysis process is an investigation of anomalies, or triggers, found in an agency's employment-related policies, procedures, practices, and conditions. The goal of the investigation is to identify the root cause(s) of those anomalies and developing plans for eliminating the barriers. In particular, agencies should take a close look at all of the agency's employment processes beyond hiring and firings, such as career development programs, disciplinary actions, and performance awards.

The barrier analysis process requires a thorough exploration of the agency's workforce data; however, these statistics are only the starting point of the analysis. Conclusions concerning the existence of workplace barriers cannot be drawn from numerical assessments. To identify specific policies, procedures, or practices, agencies need to explore other sources of data, including EEO complaint data, grievance data, exit interview data, results from surveys and focus groups, anecdotal evidence from various stakeholders, and reports from outside organizations. To conduct a systematic and thorough investigation, agencies must ensure the active participation of its programmatic offices as well as its support offices, such as the Human Resources (HR) office. Once the agency implements an action plan that eliminates the anomalies first observed, then it would be safe to assume that the employment policy, practice, procedure, or condition in question was as a barrier.

A. Definition of Trigger

A trigger is a trend, disparity, or anomaly that suggests the need for further inquiry into a particular policy, practice, procedure, or condition. It is simply a red flag. Triggers can be gleaned from various sources of information, beginning with workforce statistics. Examples of triggers are:

  • While the participation rate of individuals with targeted disabilities in the agency's total workforce is 1.47%, they are separating from the agency at a rate of 6.73%.
  • While the participation rate of Hispanic females in the mission-critical occupation of program analyst has increased from 1.28% to 1.98% over the past five years, that rate remains below their availability of 3.76% in the Civilian Labor Force (CLF) for that position.
  • Although Black males comprise 10.3% of the agency's permanent workforce, they represent only 2.93% of agency employees in senior grade level (GS 13-SES) positions.
  • During the fiscal year in question, 17 EEO complaints raised the issue of non-promotion to grades 13 through SES, up from two during the previous fiscal year.
  • The director of the agency's field operations division received numerous complaints from Hispanic employees that they were being subjected to workplace hostilities at the hands of their non-Hispanic coworkers.
  • The results of an exit interview showed that 63% of Black employees who voluntarily separated from the agency during the fiscal year identified limited opportunities for career development as the primary reason.

B. Definition of Barrier

A barrier is an agency policy, principle, or practice that limits or tends to limit employment opportunities for members of a particular EEO group based on their sex, race, ethnic background, or disability status. Many employment barriers are built into the organizational and operational structures of the agency and embedded in the day-to-day procedures and practices of the agency. Barriers generally fall within one of three broad categories: institutional/structural; attitudinal; and physical.

Institutional/Structural Barriers

Institutional or structural barriers relate to rules, restrictions, requirements, routines, traditions, or habits within the agency. Since these policies, procedures, and practices are seamlessly integrated into the workplace culture, they may remain unnoticed inhibitors to equal employment opportunity for one or more EEO groups. Examples of institutional barriers include:

  • Selecting SES candidates from only one office in the agency;
  • Requiring a college degree for clerical positions; and
  • Limiting recruiting to the hiring manager's alma mater.

Attitudinal Barriers

Attitudinal barriers involve actions or beliefs that inhibit equitable progress for one or more protected groups in the agency's workforce. These barriers often result from stereotypes or false assumptions, which can be the most difficult barriers to identify. Good diagnosis, however, is useful in developing meaningful solutions to problems hindering effective EEO programs. Examples of attitudinal barriers include:

  • The belief that women do not return to work after having a child;
  • Certain EEO groups do not have strong leadership skills; and
  • Individuals with disabilities always require expensive accommodations.

Physical Barriers

Physical barriers result from the inaccessibility of agency facilities or programs to one or more protected groups of employees or applicants. Examples of physical barriers include:

  • A building has steps but lacks a ramp;
  • Bathrooms with stalls that are too narrow to fit a wheelchair; and
  • Computer hardware or software that does not work with screen reading or other accommodative technology.

A policy, procedure, or practice may also be neutral on its face, which can make the identification of barriers quite challenging. For example, an agency may recruit new attorneys from a limited number of law schools that specialize in a certain field. If these law schools enroll only a few or no Hispanic students, the agency's hiring pool will be limited to non-Hispanic applicants. Although neutral on its face, this practice is a barrier, as it will have the effect of limiting the employment opportunities of well-qualified Hispanic attorneys. It also will unnecessarily limit the pool of talented individuals from which agency officials may draw.

C. Location of the Barriers

Potential barriers can exist anywhere, and may not always reside within the agency. The picture below shows that barriers can occur within the agency as well as external to the agency. An example of a College Skill Set external barrier is a decline in female science majors that results in a decline in the agency's applicant pool for General Engineers. In contrast, an internal barrier could involve the agency's Human Resources (HR) office establishing procedures that limit the scope of its recruitment efforts to certain colleges.

Illustration of potential barriers described in the accompanying text

Within the agency, barriers may arise due to policies, procedures, or practices that are created by a particular office. For example, the agency head could issue a dress code that prohibits employees from wearing hats in the office, which could lead to a manager in a programmatic office disciplining a Jewish employee for wearing a Yarmulke, a religious head covering. Another example involves a workforce culture that expects employees to work more than eight hours a day. As a result, the agency noticed a decline in female employees during child bearing years. Alternatively, the HR office in an intelligence agency only recruits from the military. Due to its practice of single-source recruiting, the agency typically hires more men than women. Other types of internal barriers could include:

  • Hiring laterally at higher grades, as opposed to hiring at the entry level;
  • Using overly-narrow selection criteria with highly-specialized requirements that few potential applicants are likely to possess;
  • Providing too much discretion to recruiters/interviewers; and
  • Failing to enforce the anti-harassment policy or the reasonable accommodation procedures.

Many external factors can also impact an agency's workforce diversity, based upon the agency's mission, geographic location, reputation, and other factors. For example, the entry-level applicant pool for agencies that specialize in the science and technology field is often dependent on the diversity of the college graduates in those fields. Next, if an agency is located in a remote area of the country, interest in working for the agency may be limited to the individuals who live in the surrounding area. Negative publicity about the agency may result in tarnishing the agency's reputation among potential applicants.

D. Barriers to Career Advancement

In addition to examining whether there is diversity within the total workforce, agencies should also explore all levels of the workforce to determine if EEO groups have the same opportunities for advancement. Three types of barriers address the most significant milestones within an employee's career path: glass ceiling (executives); (2) blocked pipeline (senior grades); and (3) glass wall (mission-critical occupations).

Glass Ceiling Barriers

A glass ceiling exists when a particular EEO group cannot reach the executive level of leadership in an organization, despite their presence in positions that comprise the feeder pool for executive positions. To determine whether there is a trigger at the executive level, MD-715 instructions advise agencies that they should use the permanent workforce as the default benchmark. However, we note that other benchmarks can offer better feedback about the agencies' recruiting and hiring efforts for executive positions. The difficulty is that only certain occupations within the agency have a career path to the senior grade levels. A more refined upward mobility benchmark is necessary to track only those occupations that feed into the senior grades.

One possible benchmark involves the immediate feeder pool for executive positions. When determining whether triggers exist with respect to participation rates in a particular segment of the workforce, the proper comparison is between the participation rate of a particular group in that segment (the target population) and the corresponding availability in the population from which the target population is most likely to come (the benchmark population). Initially, an agency should determine whether it typically fills executive positions from external hires or internal promotions. Using the Senior Executive Service as an example, the immediate feeder pool for internal promotions would include GS-14 and GS-15 employees and for external hires would be the qualified applicant pool.

In addition to the immediate feeder pool, another benchmark focuses on the occupations within an agency that have the opportunity to advance to the executive level. Using table A6, agencies should combine the major occupations into the "upward mobility" benchmark. This benchmark provides a more inclusive view of the agency by capturing all employees in positions with career advancement potential to executive positions.

Blocked Pipeline Barriers

In addition to the glass ceiling analysis, EEO groups may encounter obstacles in the grade levels prior to the executive level positions. This situation is referred to as the "blocked pipeline." A blocked pipeline occurs when people who are in upwardly mobile occupations fail to reach the senior grade levels within those occupations. Using the upward mobility benchmark, agencies can identify the grade levels at which the participation rates of the various EEO groups decline below the benchmark. Once agencies can pinpoint the specific grade level where the trigger begins, they should narrow down the possible cause(s) of the barrier by identifying the major occupations with triggers at that grade level. Similar to the senior grades, agencies should explore whether barriers exist in both the internal promotion process and the external hiring process.

Glass Wall Barriers

Finally, a third type of barrier involves individuals in an EEO group who experience a glass wall because they are unable to obtain employment in the major occupations of the agency. Using table A6, agencies should compare the participation rates of EEO groups in each major occupation with upward mobility to their availability in the occupational Civilian Labor Force. Then, for the occupations with triggers, agencies should analyze the applicant flow data (new hires and competitive promotions) for those occupations.

E. Barrier Analysis vs. Hiring Quotas

It is very important to understand the difference between identifying triggers in the barrier analysis process and setting hiring quotas for particular EEO groups. Neither EEOC policy nor MD-715 requires agencies to establish racial or ethnic preferences or quotas. Indeed, federal anti-discrimination laws and EEOC's policies require that agencies prohibit discrimination, including "reverse" discrimination. MD-715 requires agencies to take proactive steps to ensure equal employment opportunity for all their employees and applicants for employment by regularly evaluating their employment practices to identify and eliminate barriers that hamper the advancement of any racial or ethnic group in federal agencies. If an agency desires to develop numerical objectives or goals for EEO groups other than individuals with targeted disabilities, the agency should consult with its Office of General Counsel.


II. Steps of the Barrier Analysis Process

The diagram below is a quick guide to the barrier identification and elimination process. A more detailed description of each step follows.

BARRIER ANALYSIS (Barrier Identification & Elimination) AT-A-GLANCE

A.Step One - Identify Triggers Using a Variety of Sources


Agencies have an ongoing obligation to eliminate barriers that impede free and open competition in the workplace and prevent members of any EEO group (applicants and employees) from realizing their full potential. On at least an annual basis, agencies must assess progress toward the model workplace goal and identify areas where barriers may operate to exclude certain groups.

MD-715 does not require agencies to compile workforce data simply to produce a report to EEOC. Each agency's attention should be devoted to what the compiled data reveals about the agency and its workforce. The barrier identification and elimination process is much more important than the end product of a report and workforce tables. An agency may find clues to potential employment barriers by looking at the participation rates of its employment population to determine if any particular EEO group is lower than expected in an occupation or at a particular grade or pay level. With this in mind, how does an agency begin to look for barriers to equal employment opportunity?

Using Benchmarks

As an initial step, an agency should analyze its workforce data by comparing annual snapshot data against external comparators. The MD-715 workforce data tables provide the framework for these workforce snapshots. The most important fact to remember is that the comparator needs to be the equivalent of the data (i.e., apples to apples and oranges to oranges). For example, if an agency is evaluating its grade levels in Table A4 (permanent), then the correct comparator is the permanent workforce, not the total workforce. If an agency uses an alternative benchmark, the agency should identify the source and why it is used.

The typical benchmarks for the EEO groups in the "A" Tables include the national civilian labor force (CLF), the permanent workforce, and the relevant feeder-pools. Agencies can use alternative benchmarks that are more appropriate for their workforce. To evaluate the total workforce and new hires, agencies should use the national CLF, which can be found using the Census 2010 EEO Tabulation Tool at http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml. When calculating the national CLF, agencies should use "residence" data rather than "worksite" data, because it includes unemployment data (Table EEO-CIS2R). Where an agency compares workforce participation against a benchmark for mission-critical occupations, the agency should select worksite data (Table EEO-CIS2W). As to the mission-critical occupations in Table A6, the appropriate or relevant CLF availability data generally depends on the employer's area of recruitment. If a job is recruited nationally, then it may be appropriate to use the national CLF for that occupation, particularly if individuals apply from all parts of the country and the location from which they apply is not a factor in the hiring decision. On the other hand, if an agency's announcement is limited to a particular geographic area (e.g. region, state, county or city), then it may be more appropriate to consider the local area CLF. An agency must have a justification for whichever CLF data it uses. If the agency has questions about what CLF data to use, it should contact EEOC's Office of Federal Operations.

With respect to the "B" Tables, the National Civilian Labor Force does not track the equivalent individuals with disabilities in the United States' labor pool. In 29 C.F.R. § 1614.230(d)(7), EEOC has established federal goals for persons with reportable disabilities and targeted disabilities: (1) 12% in grades GS-10 and below as well as GS-11 and above for persons with reportable disabilities; and (2) 2% in grades GS-10 and below as well as GS-11 and above for persons with targeted disabilities. If agencies have alternate pay plans, they should identify the equivalent grade clusters based on the salary of the cluster in the Washington, DC locality. All of the "B" tables should use these goals as the benchmark, except for separations in B1 and awards in B9, which utilize the inclusion rate comparing persons with disabilities to those without disabilities. In addition, the benchmark for the qualified internal applicants is the relevant applicant pool; however, the benchmark for qualified external applicants is the voluntary applicant pool.

Participation Rates vs. Inclusion Rates

Participation rates are obtained by calculating a ratio of how many employees with targeted disabilities are in the total or permanent workforce. In the workforce data tables, the participation rates are calculated by dividing across a row so that each EEO group is a percentage of the workforce indicator (total workforce, permanent workforce, etc.). In Table B1, the participation rate of employees with targeted disabilities in the total workforce is calculated by dividing the number of that EEO group by the number of employees in the agency's total workforce, and then multiplying by 100. To determine whether a trigger exists, the agency would compare the participation rates of either persons with reportable disabilities or persons with targeted disabilities to EEOC's goal of 12% or 2%, respectively.

Inclusion rates, however, calculate the proportion of employees with reportable or targeted disabilities in the permanent workforce who fall within a particular occupational category, mission-critical occupation, grade level, or other type of workforce indicator. Inclusion rates are calculated by dividing down a column to show the distribution of one EEO group in a particular workforce indicator. For example, the inclusion rate of employees with targeted disabilities who received a particular award is calculated by dividing the number of that EEO group who received a quality step increase by their number in the permanent workforce, and then multiplying by 100. In Table B9, the inclusion rate shows that of the employees with targeted disabilities in the permanent workforce, 2% received a quality step increase. Next, the agency should compare the inclusion rate of employees with targeted disabilities who received the award to the corresponding inclusion rate of employees without disabilities who received the same award. The inclusion rate can assist agencies in determining whether a glass ceiling (a barrier preventing career advancement for qualified members of a group), or a glass wall (a barrier preventing a group from moving to an occupation with a promotional ladder) exists.

The Upward Mobility Benchmark

In addition to the CLF and the permanent workforce, we urge agencies to utilize the upward mobility benchmark as a comparator for the senior grade levels and management positions. Unlike the permanent workforce, this comparator would not include employees in administrative positions when assessing whether the executive ranks are diverse. The upward mobility benchmark identifies the occupations that lead to the management track and combines the employees in those occupations to determine the percentage that would constitute the potential applicant pool for leadership positions. For example, an agency may have five positions that reach the GS-15 level, including attorneys, investigators, program analysts, human resource management, and information technology management. Rather than relying on the permanent workforce, the agency would use a benchmark that contains the pool of employees with career advancement potential to reach leadership positions.

Comparing Benchmarks to Each Workforce Snapshot in A Tables

The chart below provides the benchmarks for each of the workforce snapshots in the "A" Tables. A brief discussion of each workforce snapshot follows the chart.

"A" TABLES

SNAPSHOT

TYPICAL BENCHMARK

A1

Total Workforce

National Civilian Labor Force

A1

New Hires

National Civilian Labor Force

A1

Separations

Appropriate Workforce

A2

Each Component Workforce

National Civilian Labor Force

A3

Each Occupational Category

Permanent Workforce

A4

Each Grade Level

Permanent Workforce

A5

Each Salary Level

Permanent Workforce

A6

Each Mission-Critical Occupation

Occupational CLF

A6

Each Grade Level in the Occupations

Occupational CLF

A6

Qualified External Applicants

Occupational CLF

A6

New Hires

Qualified External Applicants

A6

Qualified Internal Applicants

Relevant Applicant Pool

A6

Promotions

Qualified Internal Applicants

A7

Senior Grade Levels

Upward Mobility Benchmark

A7

Qualified External Applicants

Voluntary External Applicants

A7

New Hires

Qualified External Applicants

A7

Qualified Internal Applicants

Relevant Applicant Pool

A7

Promotions

Qualified Internal Applicants

A7

Applicants for Career Development Program

Relevant Applicant Pool

A7

Selections for Career Development Program

Applicant Pool

A8

Each Grade Level in Management

Upward Mobility Benchmark

A8

Qualified External Applicants

Voluntary External Applicants

A8

New Hires

Qualified External Applicants

A8

Qualified Internal Applicants

Relevant Applicant Pool

A8

Promotions

Qualified Internal Applicants

A8

Applicants for Career Development Program

Relevant Applicant Pool

A8

Selections for Career Development Program

Applicant Pool

A9

Each Award

Permanent Workforce

  • Table A1

In Table A1, agencies capture their total workforce data as a whole, including the permanent workforce, and the temporary workforce. To find triggers, agencies should compare their total workforce (including permanent, temporary, and non-appropriated fund employees) to the EEO group's availability in the national CLF. The national CLF can be found using the Census EEO Tabulation Tool at http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml. For more detailed instructions, please review Appendix 1.

Agencies should also examine the employee gains and losses in Tables A/B 1 by capturing data on new hires and separations. The benchmark for the separations is the appropriate workforce in the current fiscal year. All these snapshots will provide agencies with a broad picture, and serve as a foundation to delve further where necessary.

  • Table A2

Similar to Table A1, Table A2 captures data for the total workforce of each second level reporting component. To determine if triggers exist, the appropriate comparator is the national CLF. This data will assist agencies in pinpointing triggers within specific components.

  • Table A3

Table A3 provides workforce divided by the nine occupational category titles. For definitions of the occupational category titles, see Section IV. The most significant occupational category involves the management positions. To find triggers, all of the occupational categories should be compared to the permanent workforce.

  • Table A4

In Table A4, this snapshot collects data for the pay plans by grade level in the permanent and temporary segments of the workforce. Although the standard Table A4 focuses on the General Schedule, agencies with alternative pay systems should select the appropriate supplemental A4 tables. Typically, the individual grade levels, or clusters of grade levels, should be compared to the permanent workforce; however, the senior grade levels can also be compared to the upward mobility benchmark.

  • Table A5

Tables A5 captures a snapshot of the distribution of employees by salary level within the agency's permanent and temporary segments of the workforce. For this table, agencies should compare the rates of employees in the salary levels to their availability in the permanent workforce.

  • Table A6

The snapshot in Table A6 examines the mission-critical occupations in the permanent workforce as well as the selection and hiring processes for each of the occupations. Mission-critical occupations are defined in MD-715 as agency occupations that are mission-related with career advancement potential and heavily populated within the agency. The benchmark for each occupation is the occupational CLF.

As to the applicant flow data, agencies should evaluate the effectiveness of their recruitment and selection processes for each occupation using the internal competitive promotions and external new hires. In this snapshot, the comparator for the qualified external applicants is the occupational CLF, while the comparator for the qualified internal applicants is the relevant applicant pool. For internal and external selections, the agency should use the respective qualified applicant pool as the comparator. As to the career development opportunities, the comparators are the relevant applicant pool for applicants and the applicant pool for selectees.

  • Table A7

In Table A7, the snapshot captures data showing upward mobility to each of the agencies' senior grade levels. In particular, the table requires agencies to collect data concerning internal competitive promotions, external new hires, and the career development program for the senior grade levels. The primary comparator for each grade level is the upward mobility benchmark.

Agencies should evaluate the effectiveness of their recruitment and selection processes for each senior grade level. In this snapshot, the comparator for the qualified external applicants is the voluntary applicant pool, while the comparator for the qualified internal applicants is the relevant applicant pool. For internal and external selections, the agency should use the respective qualified applicant pool as the comparator. As to the career development opportunities, the comparators are the relevant applicant pool for applicants and the applicant pool for selectees.

  • Table A8

The snapshot in Table A8 focuses on upward mobility to management positions. This table requires agencies to collect data concerning internal competitive promotions, external new hires, and the career development program for the management positions. The primary comparator for each grade level of management is the upward mobility benchmark.

Agencies should evaluate the effectiveness of their recruitment and selection processes for each level of management. In this snapshot, the comparator for the qualified external applicants is the voluntary applicant pool, while the comparator for the qualified internal applicants is the relevant applicant pool. For internal and external selections, the agency should use the qualified applicant pool as the comparator. As to the career development opportunities, the comparators are the relevant applicant pool for applicants and the applicant pool for selectees.

  • Table A9

Finally, Tables A9 focuses on the agency's distribution of awards by EEO group. When investigating for triggers, the distribution of awards should be compared to the permanent workforce.


 

Comparing Benchmarks to Each Workforce Snapshot in B Tables

"B" TABLES

SNAPSHOT

TYPICAL BENCHMARK

B1

Total Workforce

Goal of 12% (PWD) or 2% (PWTD)

B1

New Hires

Goal of 12% (PWD) or 2% (PWTD)

B1

Total Separations

Comparison of Inclusion Rates

B2

Each Component Workforce

Goal of 12% (PWD) or 2% (PWTD)

B3

Each Occupational Category

Goal of 12% (PWD) or 2% (PWTD)

B4

Grade Level Clusters: GS-10 and Below

Goal of 12% (PWD) or 2% (PWTD)

B4

Grade Level Clusters: GS-11 and Above

Goal of 12% (PWD) or 2% (PWTD)

B4

Each Grade Level

Goal of 12% (PWD) or 2% (PWTD)

B5

Each Salary Level

Goal of 12% (PWD) or 2% (PWTD)

B6

Each Mission-Critical Occupation

Goal of 12% (PWD) or 2% (PWTD)

B6

Each Grade Level in Mission-Critical Occupations

Goal of 12% (PWD) or 2% (PWTD)

B6

Qualified External Applicants

Voluntary Applicant Pool

B6

New Hires

Qualified External Applicants

B6

Qualified Internal Applicants

Relevant Applicant Pool

B6

Promotions

Qualified Internal Applicants

B7

Senior Grade Levels

Goal of 12% (PWD) or 2% (PWTD)

B7

Qualified External Applicants

Voluntary Applicant Pool

B7

New Hires

Qualified External Applicants

B7

Qualified Internal Applicants

Relevant Applicant Pool

B7

Promotions

Qualified Internal Applicants

B7

Applicants for Career Development Programs

Relevant Applicant Pool

B7

Selections for Career Development Program

Applicant Pool

B8

Each Grade Level in Management Positions

Goal of 12% (PWD) or 2% (PWTD)

B8

Qualified External Applicants

Voluntary Applicant Pool

B8

New Hires

Qualified External Applicants

B8

Qualified Internal Applicants

Relevant Applicant Pool

B8

Promotions

Qualified Internal Applicants

B8

Applicants for Career Development Programs

Relevant Applicant Pool

B8

Selections for Career Development Program

Applicant Pool

B9

Each Award

Comparison of Inclusion Rates

  • Table B1

In Table B1, agencies capture their total workforce data as a whole, including the permanent workforce, and the temporary workforce. To find triggers, agencies should compare employees with reportable disabilities (PWD) or targeted disabilities (PWTD) in the total workforce (including permanent and temporary) to the goal of 12% and 2%, respectively.

  • Table B2

Similar to Table B1, Table B2 captures data for the permanent workforce of each second level reporting component. To determine if triggers exist, the appropriate comparator is the goal of 12% for PWD and 2% for PWTD. This data will assist agencies in pinpointing triggers within specific components.

  • Table B3

Table B3 provides workforce broken by the nine occupational category titles. For definitions of the occupational category titles, see Section IV. The most significant occupational category involves the management positions. To find triggers, each occupational category should be evaluated using the goal of 12% for PWD and 2% for PWTD.

  • Table B4

In Table B4, this snapshot collects data for the permanent workforce by grade level. Although standard Table B4 focuses on the General Schedule, agencies with alternative pay systems should select the appropriate supplemental B4 tables. Initially, agencies should examine the grade level clusters (GS-11 and above, and GS-10 and below) by comparing the combined participation rate of PWD or PWTD to the goal of 12% or 2%, respectively. Similarly, agencies can examine each grade level in comparison to the goal to determine where to focus their barrier analysis efforts.

  • Table B5

Tables B5 captures a snapshot of the distribution of employees by salary level, which is very useful for agencies with multiple pay plans. For this table, agencies should compare each salary level to the goal of 12% for PWD and 2% for PWTD.

  • Table B6

The snapshot in Table B6 examines the mission-critical occupations as well as the selection process for new hires, promotions, and career development opportunities involving each of the occupations. Mission-critical occupations are defined in MD-715 as agency occupations that are mission-related with career advancement potential and heavily populated. When investigating for triggers, the occupations should be analyzed by comparing each occupation and each grade level within the occupation to the goal of 12% for PWD and 2% for PWTD.

As to the applicant flow data, agencies should evaluate the effectiveness of their recruitment and selection processes for each occupation using the internal competitive promotions and external new hires. In this snapshot, the comparator for the qualified external applicants is the voluntary applicant pool, while the comparator for the qualified internal applicants is the relevant applicant pool. For internal and external selections, agencies should use the qualified applicants as the comparator. As to the career development opportunities, the comparators are the relevant applicant pool for applicants and the inclusion rate for selectees.

  • Table B7

In Table B7, the snapshot captures data showing upward mobility to each of the agencies' senior grade levels. In particular, the table requires agencies to collect data concerning internal competitive promotions, external new hires, and the career development program for the senior grade levels. The primary comparator for each grade level is the goal of 12% for PWD and 2% for PWTD.

Agencies should evaluate the effectiveness of their recruitment and selection processes for each senior grade level using the internal competitive promotions and external new hires. In this snapshot, the comparator for the qualified external applicants is the voluntary applicant pool, while the comparator for the qualified internal applicants is the relevant applicant pool. For internal and external selections, agencies should use the qualified applicants as the comparator. As to the career development opportunities, the comparators are the relevant applicant pool for applicants and the inclusion rate for selectees.

  • Table B8

The snapshot in Table B8 focuses on upward mobility to management positions. This table requires agencies to collect data concerning internal competitive promotions, external new hires, and the career development program for the management positions. The primary comparator for each grade level within the management categories is the goal of 12% for PWD and 2% for PWTD.

To evaluate the applicant flow data, agencies should evaluate the effectiveness of their recruitment and selection processes for each management level using the internal competitive promotions and external new hires. In this snapshot, the comparator for the qualified external applicants is the voluntary applicant pool, while the comparator for qualified internal applicants is the relevant applicant pool. For internal and external selections, the agency should use the qualified applicants as the comparator. As to the career development opportunities, the comparators are the relevant applicant pool for applicants and the inclusion rate for selectees.

  • Table B9

Finally, Tables B9 focuses on the agency's distribution of awards by EEO group. When investigating for triggers, the awards should be analyzed by comparing the inclusion rates of PWD or PWTD to those without disabilities.

Refining Snapshots

After an agency has completed its initial snapshots, disparities or trends may become apparent. Variations between actual and expected participation rates based on the benchmarks may be an important clue that further snapshot refinement is needed to determine if something in an agency's policies, procedures, or practices may be artificially limiting the employment opportunities for particular workforce groups. The goal is to uncover evidence of potentially hidden barriers in order to engage in the proactive prevention of discrimination.

After such refinement, where variations or disparities continue to appear, the next step an agency will take is to conduct a thorough investigation of relevant policies, procedures, and practices to determine the causes of the identified disparities. This will allow the agency to pinpoint the causes of discovered barriers. Thus, the primary use of comparative statistics is as a guide to direct potential investigations. This will be discussed further under Step Two.

B. Step Two - Investigate to Pinpoint Actual Barriers

Barrier analysis requires agencies to explore possible connections between the triggers and the applicable employment policies, procedures, and practices. This is an investigative process, similar in principle to the investigation of an EEO complaint. It entails a few critical steps:

· Develop requests for information to collect preliminary data;

· Gather and review relevant policies and procedures;

· Interview knowledgeable individuals, including line employees, supervisors, managers, senior executives, union representatives, advocates, etc; and

· Form a working hypothesis about the root causes of the observed triggers that can be tested through the development and implementation of an action plan.

Additional Data to Request

While these workforce snapshots are useful as an initial diagnostic tool, conclusions concerning the existence of workplace barriers cannot be drawn solely from these numerical assessments. Beyond workforce snapshots, other information is available to agencies that will help identify barriers that may operate to exclude certain EEO groups. Surveys, for example, may reveal information on experiences, perceptions, or difficulties with a practice or policy within the agency. Thus, in concert with the compulsory and refined snapshots of the workforce, agencies must consult many additional sources of information, including but not limited to:

  • any indication of trends or problem areas revealed in a review of EEO complaints and EEO-related grievances;
  • findings of discrimination;
  • climate assessment surveys of employees on workplace environment issues;
  • exit interview results;
  • focus groups of HR program staff, managers, EEO program staff, counselors, investigators, and selective placement coordinators;
  • input from agency employee and advocacy groups, and union officials;
  • available governmental reports (i.e., Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, General Accounting Office, Office of Personnel Management, Merit Systems Protection Board, Department of Labor);
  • local reports in surrounding news periodicals, as well as reports found in national publications;
  • examinations of the workplace for evidence of a variety of barriers, such as architectural barriers; assessments of whether disability accommodation processes are functioning smoothly; and
  • assessments of whether the agency's information technology office has the staff and resources to make various types of technology accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Distinction between Policies, Procedures, and Practices

Policies, procedures, and practices are not synonymous. They refer to distinct, but related elements, and being able to distinguish between them is vitally important in conducting a barrier analysis. The definitions are as follows:

  • Policies - Policies refer to guidance, usually written, setting forth the agency's position on a particular issue. An obvious example is an agency's flexible workplace policy. Such a policy statement would mandate, in general terms, the commitment of the agency head to allow employees to work at remote sites as much as possible, so long as doing so would not impair the agency's ability to carry out its mission. By itself a policy statement is generally non-operative, meaning that it cannot be implemented without specific procedures.
  • Procedures - Procedures are the means by which the policy is actually implemented. For example, if the policy mandates that the agency provide a reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities, the procedures would specify how those accommodations would be provided.
  • Practices - Practices refer to the means and manner through which the procedures that implement the policies are actually carried out. For example, to hire the best of the best, agency managers have a pattern of only recruiting from Ivy League schools.

In attempting to identify barriers, the analyst must take care to distinguish between these three elements. Barriers involving the policy itself tend to arise when the policy is not well written or otherwise vague, giving rise to conflicting interpretations. On the other hand, the policy could be very clear and well-written, but the procedures created to implement that policy could be problematic. The more common situation that arises is when both the policy statement and its implementing procedures are well written and clear, but the manner in which the policy is actually carried out in practice tends to limit opportunities for certain EEO groups.

Barrier Analysis Scenario

Assume that an agency employs individuals with targeted disabilities at a rate of 0.56% in its total workforce, which is far below EEOC's goal of 2%. The agency's historical data also reveals that individuals with targeted disabilities have been virtually absent throughout all levels of the agency's workforce. These are triggers. In investigating the cause behind this trigger, the agency should ask the following questions:

  • What are the external hiring opportunities for the agency?
  • Does the agency have a recruitment plan? Does it include a focus on persons with targeted disabilities?
  • What is the perception of the agency in the disability community?
  • Where and how is the agency advertising for applicants? Are there focused efforts to attract applicants with targeted disabilities such as: working with the disability services office at colleges and universities with agency-appropriate fields of study so that vacancy announcements can be distributed to students with disabilities, recruiting at schools with a student population that includes significant numbers of individuals with disabilities, contacting state vocational rehabilitation programs, and advertising in periodicals published by advocacy groups for individuals with disabilities? Is the application process itself accessible to individuals with disabilities? For example, are online applications accessible to individuals with vision impairments?
  • How many applications were received from individuals with targeted disabilities and, of these applications, how many individuals were initially rated as qualified and referred to the ultimate selecting official for consideration? Is the percentage of applicants with targeted disabilities rated as qualified and referred to the ultimate selecting official comparable to the rate for all applicants? If not, is the agency recruiting applicants with disabilities who have the appropriate qualifications? How are applicants initially rated as qualified for the position? What standards are being used? Are those standards job-related and consistent with business necessity? Are there alternative standards to measure the skills necessary to perform the job which have less of an impact on people with disabilities?
  • Are the rating officials and selecting officials familiar with their responsibilities to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities? Does the agency have effective reasonable accommodation procedures that are compliant with Executive Order 13164 and related EEOC guidance?
  • How many applicants rated as qualified for a position are ultimately selected? What is the process for ultimately selecting an applicant referred as qualified for the position?
  • What is the applicant rate of persons with targeted disabilities?
  • Are HR staff and selecting officials utilizing the Schedule A special hiring authorities?
  • If hired, are employees with targeted disabilities remaining with the agency for more than one year?
  • If not, why did they separate from the agency?
  • Are employees with targeted disabilities promoted within the agency?

Answers to these questions, and others, will help pinpoint precisely where barriers exist, the nature and causes of the barriers and help develop a plan for eliminating the barrier. For more sample questions, please review Appendix 2.

Root Cause Analysis Tool

The root cause analysis tool is a method of inquiry that utilizes questions of the type found in Appendix 3 to create decision trees. The tool consists of a series of decision trees that correspond to the various phases of the employment cycle, e.g., recruitment, hiring, promotions, separations, etc. The trees are structured in such a way that each question answered leads to another question to be answered. This process continues until a conclusion can be drawn. Whether a question should be asked does not depend on whether it can actually be answered. Indeed, one of the benefits, besides pinpointing the location of barriers, is that the trees can help agencies to identify areas where information is missing. The trees are organic in that they can always be modified as more and more information becomes available.

Decision Tree illustration

Once a trigger is identified, the appropriate tree can be selected and the questions in that tree can be formulated and asked. This is the means by which possible barriers can be identified. Whether to utilize a particular tree depends on the results of the trigger identification process. For example, if Table A1 reveals a low hiring rate among Hispanic females, then the agency can focus on recruitment and hiring and not have to worry about separations. On the other hand, if the agency finds a low participation rate among Asian males in the Senior Executive Service, it would need to utilize the trees pertaining to upward mobility: internal promotions and career development.

The branches of the tree will grow in the same manner. Taking the previous example of a low hiring rate for Hispanic females, the agency would utilize the recruitment and hiring tree. There are generally three stages to the process of hiring from the outside: soliciting applications; qualifying applicants; and making selections. Barriers could potentially arise in each of these stages. If, in reviewing its hiring process, the agency finds that the representation of Hispanic females among the selectees falls significantly below their corresponding representation in the feeder pool, the line of questioning, i.e., the tree, would grow in the direction of the selection process. On the other hand, if the percentage of Hispanic females exceeded their corresponding percentage of the applicant pool, the agency should investigate whether the pipeline to the feeder pool is blocked. The most important point to remember is that a thorough knowledge of the facts and circumstances surrounding the policy, procedure, practice, or workplace condition being considered is absolutely essential in the creation of an analytically sound decision tree. When developing a decision tree, these are key points to remember:

  • Decision trees are chains of questions in which one question leads to another, until no more questions can be asked.
  • A decision tree can be crafted for each rung on the career ladder.
  • Using information gleaned from review of workforce statistics, complaints, and other sources, develop a chain of questions until no more questions can be asked.
  • The benefits of decision trees are that they help agencies to narrow the focus of the barrier analysis inquiry and identify areas where information is lacking.
  • The lists of documents to be gathered and individuals to be interviewed will flow naturally as an outgrowth of the inquiry.
  • Which decision tree to use depends upon how the workforce analysis unfolds; there is no need to use all trees all the time.
  • Decision trees are organic and dynamic - they are not considered final, but are continuously growing, even if the agency does not have the resources or information necessary to answer all the questions.
  • There are no pre-set templates that can be created - direction and magnitude of tree growth depends on information gathered during the barrier identification process.
  • It is essential for agency personnel to have a thorough knowledge of the facts and circumstances surrounding the particular policy, procedure, or practice in order to create an analytically-sound decision tree.

Job-Related and Consistent with Business Necessity

When conducting an investigation into a barrier, one of the first determinations to be made is whether an uncovered barrier is job-related, because if it is, that ends the inquiry. MD-715 only requires agencies to eliminate barriers if they determine that the barrier is not job-related. Does the test or job qualification require knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that are necessary for the performance of essential job functions? A medical degree and license are examples of job-related qualifications for a physician position, whereas the ability to proficiently use a firearm for administrative employees of a law enforcement agency may be an example of an unnecessary barrier. Note that customer and/or coworker preferences are not job-related reasons for employment practices to exclude certain EEO groups. Attitudes and stereotypical beliefs that diminish employment opportunities based on factors not related to job performance are also not job-related. Therefore, barriers created by attitudes and stereotypical beliefs that diminish employment opportunities must be eliminated.

More complicated are barriers that are job-related, like some tests or qualification standards. However, even if an agency determines that a test, job qualification, or selection criterion is job-related and consistent with business necessity, the agency should nonetheless determine whether there are alternatives to the selection criterion or how a skill set can be demonstrated such that the negative impact on a particular group is reduced. If alternatives are not available, the practice may be continued.

For example, an agency has uncovered a lack of Black females in its human resources (HR) specialist occupation at the grade 13 level and above. However, below the grade 13 level the HR specialist occupation is quite diverse, including a significant number of Black females. Further examination of the matter reveals that several years ago the agency instituted a requirement that HR specialists hold a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree in order to be promoted to the grade 13 level or above. Few internal candidates, and none of the Black female HR specialists employed by the agency, hold an MBA. Therefore, the agency was recruiting higher level HR specialists from a local business school with a student population comprised of primarily White males. Over time, HR specialists at the grade 13 and above did not reflect the racial diversity of the HR specialists at the lower grade levels.

First, the agency should re-visit the issue of whether the skill set represented by an MBA is available by some alternative means such as years of work experience in certain areas. This experience might be substituted for holding an MBA, rendering an applicant qualified for consideration for a higher-graded position. If it is determined that the agency's requirement for an MBA is in fact job-related and consistent with business necessity, the agency should consider whether other alternatives exist which will have less impact on a particular group. Most obviously, the agency could recruit MBAs from other schools with more diverse student populations. In addition, the agency might consider steps it could take to facilitate its own lower-graded employees obtaining MBAs.

Even where an agency has determined that a qualification standard, test, selection criterion, or other factor is job-related and consistent with business necessity, in the case of individuals with disabilities, the agency must conduct further analysis to determine if the applicant or employee can satisfy the qualification standard, test, or selection criterion with reasonable accommodation.

For example, an agency's procedures require that candidates for a security guard position pass a timed written test. An individual with a learning disability applies for the position. He is well-qualified. However, when informed about the timed written test, he requests extra time because of his learning disability. Although the written test may be job-related and consistent with business necessity because it ensures that security guards understand safety and other requirements, if adding 30 minutes to the time allowed for completion of the test does not compromise the results, the individual with the learning disability should be allowed an extra 30 minutes to complete the written test as a reasonable accommodation.

Thus, each element of the overall selection process should be examined to determine which elements operate to exclude employees or applicants. Such elements include, but are not limited to, recruitment, testing, ranking, interviews, recommendations for selection, hiring, assignment, and promotions. In addition, the evaluation may require more than examining selections and promotions. Training, details, and other developmental assignments are opportunities for which all qualified employees should have the freedom to compete. Such opportunities often play a central role in selections for higher level positions. In addition, the denial of opportunity in training, details, and other developmental assignments may result in mission-critical talents not being fully developed.

In addition to selections, an agency must examine its disciplinary actions. For example, is there a group that is subject to disciplinary actions at a disproportionately high rate? Why? There should also be a focus on separations. Are individuals with disabilities separating at a rate disproportionally higher than the rest of the workforce? Why? These are the processes and types of questions agencies need to ask to investigate and attempt to uncover barriers to equal employment opportunity.

Where members of an identified group are disproportionately impacted by a policy, procedure, or practice, the agency should correct this barrier, unless it is job-related and consistent with business necessity. Even if that standard is met, however, it is important that agencies investigate the possibility of using an alternative procedure that accomplishes the same legitimate purpose, with a less discriminatory impact. In the case of individuals with disabilities, even if a selection criterion is job-related and consistent with business necessity, an employer cannot exclude an individual with a disability if the position criterion could be met or job performance accomplished with reasonable accommodation.

C. Step Three - Eliminate Barriers

Once the agency has analyzed all source materials available to it, followed clues to pinpoint potential barriers, and conducted thorough investigations of those potential barriers, the next step is to plan for improvement, developing overall objectives for barrier elimination, with corresponding action items, responsible personnel, and target dates.

An objective, with accompanying action items, is a description of what specific actions the agency will take to eliminate or modify barriers to equal employment opportunity in its workplace. Each action item must set a completion date and identify the one high-level agency official who is responsible for ensuring that the action item is timely completed. A plan is nothing more than a piece of paper if it is not implemented. The purpose of setting a completion date and identifying a high-level agency official who is responsible for ensuring that the action item is timely completed is so that the agency officials can be held accountable for timely action item completion. If action items are not timely completed, agency officials should be held accountable for their performance deficiencies.

After the agency formulates a plan for improvement, it will be required to report its findings (i.e., its participation rates, its perceived potential barriers, the results of investigations including how results were obtained, and the plan of action and objectives set to address identified barriers) to the EEOC. This information should be reported in plans within PART I.

For example, an agency's investigation revealed that it did not consider a disability goal when it developed the recruitment plan. Further, the colleges and universities from which the agency recruits have a low percentage of students with disabilities. In addition, the application process has a number of impediments for individuals with certain kinds of disabilities. Each of these factors operates as a barrier for individuals with disabilities.

A reasonable set of action items would include:

  • Establish goals for the hiring and advancement of individuals with disabilities;
  • Modify the recruitment plan to include addressing those disability-related goals, including recruiting at universities and trade schools where the population of persons with disabilities is higher; and
  • Address all accessibility issues in the application procedures, including the provision of reasonable accommodation during the application and pre-employment testing process.

Note that in removing one barrier, an agency may uncover another previously unidentified barrier. Thus, additional action items may be necessary. Barrier identification and removal is a continuous, evolving process. Moreover, agencies cannot account for every variation or anomaly that comparative snapshots reveal. Rather than striving for specific numbers, agencies should focus on ensuring that their workplace offers equal access, competition, and opportunity.

D. Step Four - Plan Assessment

Once the agency uncovers barriers to equal employment opportunity and develops a plan to eliminate the barriers, it must assess the effectiveness of the plan. In the accomplishments section of PART I (Race, National Origin, and Gender) and PART J (Disability Status), the agency should report on its completed action items and the status of the plan. In this regard, this section of PARTs I and J will serve as the agency's roadmap for planned activities during the next year. By incorporating periodic self-audits of the plan, the agency will also monitor whether the removal of the barrier has impacted the identified trigger. On an annual basis, EEOC similarly will evaluate the progress agencies are making toward the elimination of its barriers.

Of course, during this continual process of barrier elimination, agencies should adjust the barrier removal plan as necessary. Continuous monitoring and adjustment will ensure the effectiveness of the plan itself, both in goal and execution. This will serve to determine the effectiveness of the action plan and objectives.

For example, an agency's ratio of employees with targeted disabilities is less than EEOC's goal of 2%. The agency's plan lists, as an objective, to establish a hiring goal of 3% for individuals with targeted disabilities. One action item requires job announcements to be mailed to vocational rehabilitation offices. However, after three months of doing so, the agency discovered that it was not receiving enough applications of college graduates who have targeted disabilities. Most of the agency's positions require a college education. The agency needs a new action item directing the recruitment office to create and use a larger list of sources of college graduates who have targeted disabilities. If the agency does not do a re-assessment, it could end the year with no increase in the number of applications received from qualified individuals with targeted disabilities.

Significantly, the continuous evaluation and adjustment of the agency's plan serves as a useful evaluation tool for determining the effectiveness of managers and EEO personnel in implementing assigned action items.

The self-assessment process involves all steps described in the management directive, including barrier identification and removal, and the establishment of a model EEO office and agency. These steps are inextricably linked to one another. Part of having a model EEO office is having an effective system to be proactive, and conducting barrier analysis. Self-assessment will bring agencies closer to meeting the goal of making the federal government a model workplace. Putting all the pieces together, as delineated in MD-715, is a positive step forward for each federal agency.

Using these instructions earnestly and effectively will create an environment in your agency that encourages high performance. A top-quality federal workforce working in an environment where each employee has the freedom to compete will deliver mission results competently and ensure our nation's continued growth and prosperity.

 

Appendix 1 - Using the EEO Data Tool

Finding the Civilian Labor Force (CLF) Percentage

To determine whether a trigger exists in particular mission-critical occupations, you will need to compare the agency's participation rate to that of the relevant CLF. There is a three-step process to obtain the CLF: (1) Find the OPM code; (2) Find the Census code; and (3) Use the EEO Data Tool to calculate the CLF. It is important to note that agencies should rely upon the 2000 Census data until the 2010 Census data is available in FY 2012.

The first step is to find the OPM code for the mission-critical occupation that you are researching. Hopefully, the agency provided the OPM code on table A6; however, you can find find the code by using OPM's Handbook of Occupational Groups and Families at http://www.opm.gov/fedclass/text/alphags.htm. Simply scroll through the handbook until you find the name of the occupation and the OPM code is to the right. So, if you are looking up the Accounting series, the OPM code is 0510.

Screenshot of OPM Handbook of Occupational Groups and Families described in narrative

After locating the OPM code, the second step is to find the Census code. Select the EEOC Federal Sector Occupation Cross Classification Table at https://www.eeoc.gov/federal/directives/index.cfm.

Screenshot of EEOC's Federal Sector Directives and Guidance web page

After clicking on the hyperlink, the OPM occupations should be listed in numerical order by the OPM codes. To find the Census code for Park Rangers (0025), the code follows to the right of the OPM occupation title, which is 3955.

Screenshot of EEOC Federal Sector Occupation Cross Classification Table

The final step of the process involves using the EEO Tabulation (2006-2010) to calculate the CLF for the desired mission-critical occupation. The EEO Tabulation is located at https://factfinder.census.gov. To access the EEO Tabulation, please click the "Advanced Search" tab in the heading.

Screenshot of factfinder.census.gov as described in preceding text

Then, type "EEO" in the Topic or Table Name field, select "EEO Tabulation 2006-2010 (5-Year ACS Data)" and click the Go button.

Screenshot of factfinder.census.gov as described in preceding text

To search for particular occupations, please click the EEO Occupation Codes button in the heading.

Screenshot of factfinder.census.gov as described in preceding text

After the Occupation box opens, enter either the Census code or the Census occupation name, which differs from OPM occupation name. To find the comparator for Information Technology Management (2210), the Census code is 1050. Type "1050" in the occupation name or code field and then select the full name of the occupation. Finally, click on the Go button.

Screenshot of factfinder.census.gov as described in preceding text

Next, check the box next to the occupation number and click the Add button. When you see the occupation appear in the left corner of the screen, you can close the Occupation box or enter another occupation. If you wish to enter multiple occupations at one time, remember to clear the Occupation Code Filter before typing the next occupation.

Screenshot of factfinder.census.gov as described in preceding text

Once you have entered all of the occupations, you need to open the correct data set, which is EEO-CIT02W. This name is an abbreviation for the EEO data set that includes only US citizens based on their worksite. In the topic or table name field, type "EEO-CIT02W" and select the table name when it appears. Then, click the Go button.

Screenshot of factfinder.census.gov as described in preceding text

After checking the box next to the EEO-CIT02W data set, you can view the data as an HTML file or download the data into an Excel spreadsheet. For the purposes of this guidance, we clicked the View button.

Screenshot of factfinder.census.gov as described in preceding text

Two charts will appear, showing the raw data and the percentage to the first decimal. Since EEOC requires agencies to provide the CLF to the second decimal, they will need to calculate the percentage by dividing the raw number for each EEO group into the total. Please remember that White and any other EEO group (Black, AIAN, and Asian) should be combined with the non-White EEO group. To determine the CLF for Two or More Races, agencies will also need to combine Black and AIAN with Balance not Hispanic or Latino.

A sample search for the CLF of Information Technology Management (2210) is shown below.

Screenshot of factfinder.census.gov as described in preceding text


Appendix 2 - Sample Questions by Barrier Analysis Topic

Recruitment

  1. What opportunities are anticipated for external/internal hiring for the agency?
  2. What criteria are considered in the development of the agency recruitment plan? With respect to the agency's SES candidacy program and/or succession planning, what criteria are considered?
  3. Are disabilities, and targeted disabilities in particular, considered in the plan? If yes, how?
  4. What is the applicant rate of persons with disabilities, including individuals with targeted disabilities? Are applications being received at the expected rate?
  5. Do present recruitment sources yield the expected rate of qualified applicants of all racial and national origin groups, and both sexes, who meet organizational needs?
  6. When were qualification requirements last examined to determine whether they are still current and necessary?
  7. Does recruitment literature reflect the agency's desire to reach all segments of the potential workforce? How so?
  8. Do/did EEO officials participate in the development of the recruitment plan?
  9. Do/did EEO officials provide technical assistance to the personnel office and monitor recruitment efforts?
  10. When paid advertising is used for recruitment or institutional purposes, is a wide variety of media with diverse readership included?
  11. Does management make itself available to community, civic, and other groups interested in enhancing equal employment opportunity? If yes, how?
  12. Does the agency provide opportunities and services to the community such as cooperative education programs and shared use of training facilities?
  13. Does the agency participate in community career information programs, conferences, and occupational study projects? Provide examples.
  14. Has the agency examined means for expanding worker-trainee placement?
  15. Do current plans call for maximum participation in the worker-trainee opportunities program, or other such programs, with particular emphasis on the identification of developmental positions?
  16. By what methods are applicants invited to apply? If the agency uses an on-line application product, does it comply with the Rehabilitation Act? Was the product reviewed by both the agency's information technology office for technical sufficiency and the agency's legal counsel for legal sufficiency? When?

Hiring and Placement

  1. Are workforce participation rates substantially similar to those rates in the relevant civilian labor force (RCLF)?
  2. Where there are variations, in what specific area(s) is the variation occurring (e.g., particular job category, particular grade, particular installation, etc.)?
  3. What feeder groups affect the categories identified above? Are those feeder groups substantially similar to the RCLF benchmark? If not, determine where the disparity is occurring. If yes, determine whether a disparity appears between feeder group population and next category.
  4. Is the selection process reviewed periodically to ensure equal treatment regardless of race, sex, national origin, disability or EEO participation?
  5. Are selection panels used? If so, how is it determined who will serve on the panels?
  6. Is the EEO office consulted when it is determined who will serve on a selection panel? Is the EEO office consulted with respect to selections for SES candidacy programs and succession planning?
  7. Are selection requirements and procedures job-related and consistent with business necessity? Do they include unnecessary barriers to full utilization of population? If barriers are job-related and consistent with business necessity, can the effect of the barrier be nonetheless minimized ?
  8. Are there a substantial number of EEO complaints where non-selection(s) is identified as the issue? If yes, is there an identifiable trend (e.g., particular group, supervisor, or installation)? What can be done to address this trend (e.g., train selecting officials, train employees, improve communication of the selection criteria or the application process)?
  9. Has the union, the ombudsman, an employee advocacy group, special emphasis group, or any other interested stake holder group expressed concern regarding recent selections? If yes, what were the specific concerns raised and what is the agency's response and plan of action?

Employee Development and Training Opportunities

What developmental opportunities were made available during the last fiscal year (i.e., training, details, etc.)? Which of these opportunities provided competency experience required for advancement to the SES level?

  1. What is the workforce distribution of the participants for identified opportunities for the last fiscal year (grade, occupation, installation, race, sex, national origin, disability)?
  2. Were the opportunities provided in the last fiscal year balanced across all parts of the workforce? If not, which group(s) were less utilized than others, and why?
  3. How are participants for identified opportunities selected?
  4. Is the selection process reviewed periodically to ensure equal treatment regardless of race, sex, national origin or disability?
  5. How are training/developmental opportunity selection panels comprised, if at all?
  6. Is EEO consulted when training/developmental opportunity selection panels are composed?
  7. Are systems for tracking information on employee skills and training in operation?
  8. Has a survey of current skills and training of the agency's workforce been conducted to determine the availability of employees from the entire workforce that have skills required to meet agency mission needs?
  9. Are efforts being made to ensure that appropriate training and other developmental opportunities are available to employees at all grade levels, including management and executive training, and in all occupational areas, without regard to race, national origin, sex or disability?
  10. Are internal selection requirements and procedures for developmental opportunities job-related and consistent with business necessity? Do they include unnecessary barriers to full utilization of skills and training? If barriers are job-related and consistent with business necessity, can the effect of the barrier be minimized?
  11. Are there a substantial number of EEO complaints wherein developmental opportunities, such as denial of training or non-selection for a detail, is identified as the issue? If yes, is there an identifiable trend e.g., particular group, supervisor, or installation? What can be done to address this trend (objective criteria, better communication of process and expectations)?
  12. Has the union, the ombudsman, an employee advocacy group, special emphasis group, or any other interested stake holder expressed concern regarding the distribution of opportunities? If yes, what were the specific concerns raised and what is the agency's response and plan of action?

Promotions and Other Internal Selections

Of the promotions that occurred in the last fiscal year, were the selections reflective of the pool of eligible candidates? Also, if the pool of eligible candidates did not include representatives from particular groups, was consideration given to including external candidates?

  1. Where there are variations, in what specific area(s) are the variations occurring (e.g., particular job category, particular grade, particular installation, etc.)?
  2. Are variations occurring in management, executive or SES selections? Are such selections meeting the needs of the agency's succession plans?
  3. What feeder groups were available for each identified promotion? Are those feeder groups substantially similar to the RCLF benchmark? If not, determine where the disparity is occurring (e.g., recruitment, selection, promotion, etc.). If yes, determine why the disparity appears between feeder group population and promotion selectees.
  4. Is the promotion/selection process reviewed periodically to ensure equal treatment regardless of race, sex, national origin, or disability?
  5. For career-ladder promotions, is there a difference in time with which one or more groups achieve their full grade potential as compared to other groups (i.e., is the time-in-grade higher for a particular group)?
  6. Are employees achieving full performance for their occupation at similar rates with others of different race, national origin, sex or disability?
  7. How are promotion selection panels composed when they are used?
  8. Is EEO consulted when selection panels are composed?
  9. Are internal promotion qualification requirements and procedures job-related and consistent with business necessity? Do they include unnecessary barriers to full utilization of skills and training? If barriers are job-related and consistent with business necessity, can the effect of the barrier be minimized nonetheless?
  10. Are there a number of EEO complaints where non-promotion is identified as the issue? If yes, is there an identifiable trend (e.g., particular group, supervisor, or installation)? What can be done to address this trend (train selecting officials, train employees, better communication of process and expectations)?

Award Distribution

  1. What is the workforce distribution of award recipients for the last fiscal year (grade, occupation, installation, race, sex, national origin, disability, etc.)?
  2. Of the awards given in the last fiscal year, was the rate of success substantially similar for all parts of the population? If not, which group(s) enjoyed less success than others, and why?
  3. How are award recipients selected? Are there objective criteria available for selecting officials?
  4. Is the awards selection process reviewed periodically to ensure equal treatment regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, disability or EEO participation?
  5. Are award selection panels utilized and, if so, how is it determined who will serve on a panel?
  6. Is EEO consulted when award selection panels are composed?
  7. Are there a substantial number of EEO complaints where award non-selection is identified as the issue? If yes, is there an identifiable trend (e.g., particular group, supervisor, or installation)? What can be done to address this trend (objective criteria, better communication of process and expectations)?
  8. Has the union, the ombudsman, an employee advocacy group, special emphasis group, or any other interested stakeholder expressed concern regarding the distribution of awards? If yes, what were the specific concerns raised and what is the agency's response?

Discipline

  1. What is the workforce distribution of discipline, including removal, during the last fiscal year (grade, occupation, installation, race, sex, national origin, disability, EEO participation, types of discipline, etc.)?
  2. Of the disciplinary actions based on conduct taken in the last fiscal year, was the rate of receipt substantially similar for all parts of the population? If not, which group(s) received more or harsher discipline than the others, and why?
  3. Of the disciplinary actions based on performance taken in the last fiscal year, was the rate of such actions substantially similar for all parts of the population? If not, which group(s) received more or harsher discipline than the others, and why?
  4. Where there is a difference in rates based on conduct, does the difference occur at the proposal stage, the implementation stage, or in both (i.e., was one group recommended for disciplinary action at a higher rate than all other groups; is that group's conduct subjected to a higher level of scrutiny; do others engage in similar misconduct without having disciplinary actions proposed or taken against them)?
  5. Where there is a difference in rates based on performance, does the difference occur at the proposal stage, the implementation stage, or in both (i.e., did the individuals in the group with higher occurrence rates receive sufficient training, assignments, and supervisory assistance; were they given opportunities to improve compared to opportunities given to other employees; what information can be gleaned from prior performance appraisals; were the recommending decision/performance appraisals based on predetermined objective criteria and/or were they were highly subjective; was the affected group held to a higher standard of demonstrated performance than other employees and/or subjected to stricter scrutiny of their work; did performance appraisal and/or recommendation narratives disclose that recommending and/or rating official held stereotyped or otherwise negative views of the affected group)?
  6. How are disciplinary actions determined?
  7. Are there objective criteria used (i.e., table of offenses with corresponding appropriate discipline)? If disciplinary decisions (type and timing) are left to the discretion of individual supervisors, why?
  8. Is the disciplinary table of offenses reviewed periodically to ensure equal treatment regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, disability or EEO participation (i.e., is there something that typically occurs only at one installation, such that disciplinary action for this issue will have a particularly negative effect on one group)?
  9. Is the EEO office consulted when developing or modifying the table of offenses?
  10. Are there a substantial number of EEO complaints where discipline, including removal, is identified as the issue? If yes, is there an identifiable trend (i.e., particular group, supervisor, or installation)? What can be done to address this trend (objective criteria, better communication of process and expectations)?
  11. Has the union, the ombudsman, an employee advocacy group, special emphasis group, or any other interested stake holder expressed concern regarding the rate of discipline for a particular group? If yes, what were the specific concerns raised and what is the agency's response?

Separations

  1. What is the workforce distribution of separations, including disability retirement, for the last fiscal year (grade, occupation, installation, race, sex, national origin, disability, EEO participation, etc.)?
  2. Did a higher percentage of a particular group separate from the agency, or from a particular installation?
  3. Were exit interviews conducted? If not, why not? If yes, were any trends identified (e.g., leaving: because of harassment, perceived barriers to advancement for certain groups, for more money, because of atmosphere of agency, because of particular supervisor, for personal reasons, etc.)?
  4. Where a trend emerges in the above analysis, what is the agency's response to address the issue now, as well as prevent it from occurring in the future?
  5. Are efforts made to ensure that separations are conducted fairly and in a non-discriminatory manner? If yes, what are those efforts?
  6. Are reductions-in-force conducted in a non-discriminatory manner? What procedures are in place to ensure this?
  7. Are there a substantial number of EEO complaints where constructive discharge is identified as the issue? If yes, is there an identifiable trend (i.e., particular group, supervisor, or installation)? What can be done to address this trend (implementation of EEO policies, managers held accountable for implementing policies, etc.)?

Has the union, the ombudsman, an employee advocacy group, special emphasis group, or any other interested stake holder expressed concern regarding the rate of separations for a particular group? If yes, what were the specific concerns raised and what is the agency's response?


Appendix 3 - Sample Decision Tree for Root Cause Analysis Tool

Please note that these decision tree models are not meant to be templates. They are included for illustrative purposes only. Every barrier analysis is a unique undertaking. The trees will grow and develop in the direction dictated by the facts uncovered during the investigation. The first three trees are generic in nature and can be used in almost any situation. The remaining trees represent baselines for barrier analysis inquiries in specific situations.

  1. Selection of Benchmark Population - Workforce Participation
    1. Does the matter at issue concern participation in the workforce as a whole?
      1. Yes ? Does the agency recruit nation-wide and from a wide range of occupations?
        1. Yes ? Use Civilian Labor Force (CLF) as benchmark population.
        2. No ? Does the agency limit its recruiting to specific geographical regions defined in census tool but not to specific occupational categories?
          1. Yes ? Utilize Regional CLF predefined in census data tool as benchmark population.
          2. No ? Does the agency limit its recruiting to specific geographical regions not defined in the census tool but not to occupational categories?
            1. Yes ? Construct RCLF benchmark using appropriate demographic data combinations in census data tool.
            2. No ? Does the agency limit its recruitment activities to specific geographical regions and specific job qualifications?
              1. Yes ? Construct RCLF benchmark using appropriate combination of geographic and occupational qualifications data from census data tool and other sources.
              2. No ? Overall workforce participation inquiry ends.
      2. No ? Inquiry ends
    2. Does the matter at issue concern participation in the ranks of officials and managers?
      1. Yes ? Use permanent workforce
      2. No ? Inquiry for officials and managers ends
    3. Does the matter at issue concern participation in senior grades?
      1. Yes ? Use permanent workforce
      2. No ? Inquiry for officials and managers ends
    4. Does the matter at issue concern participation in major occupations
      1. Yes ? Use occupational CLF for the occupation in question
      2. No ? Inquiry for major occupations ends
    5. Does the matter at issue involve persons with targeted disabilities?
      1. Yes ? Use the corresponding participation rate for persons without targeted disabilities (PWOTD).
      2. No ? Inquiry for persons with targeted disabilities ends.
  2. Are there any groups whose participation or selection rate is lower than expected (or whose separation rate is higher than expected)?
    1. Yes ? Investigate policies, procedures, and practices pertaining to the matter at issue.
    2. No ? Has any EEO activity (complaints, counselings, etc) been initiated in which the matter in question was identified as an issue?
      1. Yes ? Investigate policies, procedures, and practices pertaining to the matter at issue.
      2. No ? Has anyone from EEO, Human Resources, Finance or any other agency program or administrative function reported problems in connection with the matter at issue?
        1. Yes ? Investigate policies, procedures, and practices pertaining to the matter at issue.
        2. No ? Has anyone from the union, from any employee advocacy groups or any special emphasis program reported problems in connection with the matter at issue?
          1. Yes ? Investigate policies, procedures, and practices pertaining to the matter at issue.
          2. No ? Have problems pertaining to the matter at issue surfaced within the results of employee satisfaction surveys, focus groups, exit interviews, or other such sources?
            1. Yes ? Investigate.
            2. No ? have reviews conducted by outside organizations or has any other information source revealed problems pertaining to awards and incentives?
              1. Yes ? Investigate.
              2. No ? The inquiry is concluded.
  3. Policies, procedures, or practices: Does the agency have a formal written policy in place that governs the matter at issue?
    1. Yes ? Does the policy define the matter clearly and precisely?
      1.  Yes ? Does the policy specify the roles and responsibilities of the officials responsible for its implementation?
        1. Yes ? Are the procedures for implementing the policy clearly spelled out, either within the policy statement itself or within separate written guidelines?
          1. Yes ? Do those procedures clearly and specifically set forth the steps to be undertaken in the implementation of the policy?
            1. Yes ? Are those steps consistent with the intent of the policy statement as expressed in the document?
              1. Yes ? Is the manner in which the policy is carried out in actual practice consistent with the terms of the policy statement and the procedures for implementing the policy?
                1. Yes ? The inquiry ends
                2. No ? Investigate
              2. No ? Investigate
            2. No ? Investigate
          2. No ? Investigate
        2. No ? Have concerns been raised about the roles and responsibilities of the officials involved in implementing the policies
          1. Yes ? Investigate
          2. No ? The inquiry ends
      2. No? Have concerns been raised about the ambiguity or impreciseness of the written policy statement?
        1. Yes ? Investigate
        2. No ? The inquiry ends
    2. No ? Does the agency have in place informal or otherwise unwritten policy guidelines pertaining to the matter at issue?
      1. Yes ? Have concerns regarding the policy been raised?
        1. Yes ? Investigate
        2. No ? The inquiry ends
      2. No? The inquiry ends.
  4. Recruitment and Hiring
    1. Soliciting applications: Is the representation of the targeted group in the pool of external applicants below their corresponding rate of group in CLF or other initial benchmark population?
      1. Yes ? Is there a specific policy governing recruitment and outreach?
        1. Yes ? Does the policy statement clearly articulate the manner in which outreach is to be undertaken and identify the officials who are responsible for executing its recruiting and outreach programs?
          1. Yes ? Are the procedures and written guidelines for implementing the recruiting and outreach policy clearly spelled out, either within the policy document itself or within separate, written guidance?
            1. Yes ? Have concerns been raised as to the means and manner in which the recruiting and outreach policy is carried out in practice?
              1. Yes ? Investigate recruiting and outreach practices, including:
                1. Workforce Statistics;
                2. Complaints Data;
                3. Anecdotes from EEO, HR, unions, advocates;
                4. Survey data, focus group results, exit interviews;
                5. Reports from outside organizations;
                6. Etc.
              2. No ? Inquiry is at an end. Move on to the application culling stage of the hiring process.
            2. No ? Investigate the reasons for the inadequately articulated procedures, analyzing all sources, including:
              1. Workforce statistics;
              2. Complaints data;
              3. Anecdotes from EEO, HR, Unions, Advocates;
              4. Survey data, focus group results, exit interviews;
              5. reports from outside organizations;
              6. etc.
          2. No ? Investigate the reasons as to why the policy statement governing recruitment and outreach does not provide implementation guidance, analyzing all sources, including:
            1. Workforce statistics;
            2. Complaints data;
            3. Anecdotes from EEO, HR, Unions, Advocates;
            4. Surveys, focus group results, exit interviews;
            5. Reports from outside organizations
            6. Etc..
        2. No ? Investigate the reasons for the lack of a policy statement or an inadequately prepared policy statement governing recruitment and outreach, analyzing all sources, including:
          1. Workforce statistics;
          2. Complaints data;
          3. Anecdotes from EEO, HR, Unions, Advocates;
          4. Surveys, focus group results, exit interviews;
          5. .Reports from outside organizations.
          6. Etc.
      2. No ? The inquiry is at an end - move on to the culling stage of the hiring process.
    2. No? Culling Applicants: Is the representation of the targeted group in the pool of qualified external applicants below their corresponding rate all of the external applicants?
      1. Yes ? Is there a specific policy governing the means and manner by which applications are screened and lists of qualified applicants drawn up?
        1. Yes ? Does the policy statement clearly articulate the manner in which the applicants are to be screened and who is responsible for doing so?
          1. Yes ? Are the procedures and written guidelines for implementing the culling and screening policy clearly spelled out, either within the policy document itself or within separate, written guidance?
            1. Yes ? Have concerns been raised as to the means and manner in which the culling and screening policy is carried out in practice?
              1. Yes ? Investigate culling and screening practices, analyzing information from all sources, including:
                1. Workforce Statistics;
                2. Complaints Data;
                3. Anecdotes from EEO, HR, unions, advocates;
                4. Survey data, focus group results, exit interviews;
                5. Reports from outside organizations;
                6. Etc.
              2. No ? Inquiry is at an end. Move on to the hiring stage.
            2. No ? Investigate the reasons for the inadequately articulated procedures, analyzing all sources, including:
              1. Workforce statistics;
              2. Complaints data;
              3. Anecdotes from EEO, HR, Unions, Advocates;
              4. Survey data, focus group results, exit interviews;
              5. reports from outside organizations;
              6. etc.
          2. No ? Investigate the reasons as to why the policy statement governing screening applications does not provide implementation guidance, analyzing all sources, including:
            1. Workforce statistics;
            2. Complaints data;
            3.  Anecdotes from EEO, HR, Unions, Advocates;
            4. Surveys, focus group results, exit interviews;
            5. Reports from outside organizations
            6. Etc.
        2. No ? Investigate the reasons for the lack of a policy statement or an inadequately prepared policy statement governing the culling of applications, analyzing all sources, including:
          1. Workforce statistics;
          2. Complaints data;
          3. Anecdotes from EEO, HR, Unions, Advocates;
          4. Surveys, focus group results, exit interviews;
          5. Reports from outside organizations.
          6. Etc.
      2. No ? The inquiry is at an end - move on to the hiring stage.
    3. No? Hiring: Is the representation of the targeted group among those selected for the position below their corresponding rate in the qualified applicant pool?
      1. Yes ? Is there a specific policy governing the means and manner by which selections are carried out?
        1. Yes ? Does the policy statement clearly articulate the manner in which qualified applicants are to be hired and who is responsible for doing so?
          1. Yes ? Are the procedures and written guidelines for implementing the hiring policy clearly spelled out, either within the policy document itself or within separate, written guidance?
            1. Yes ? Have concerns been raised as to the means and manner in which the hiring policy is carried out in practice?
              1. Yes ? Investigate recruiting and outreach practices, including:
                1. Workforce Statistics;
                2. Complaints Data;
                3. Anecdotes from EEO, HR, unions, advocates;
                4. Survey data, focus group results, exit interviews;
                5. Reports from outside organizations;
                6. Etc.
              2. No ? Inquiry is at an end. Move on to the application hiring stage.
            2. No ? Investigate the reasons for the inadequately articulated procedures, analyzing all sources, including:
              1. Workforce statistics;
              2. Complaints data;
              3. Anecdotes from EEO, HR, Unions, Advocates;
              4. Survey data, focus group results, exit interviews;
              5. reports from outside organizations;
              6. etc.
          2. No ? Investigate the reasons as to why the policy statement governing the hiring of qualified applicants does not provide implementation guidance, analyzing all sources, including:
            1. Workforce statistics;
            2. Complaints data;
            3.  Anecdotes from EEO, HR, Unions, Advocates;
            4. Surveys, focus group results, exit interviews;
            5. Reports from outside organizations
            6. Etc.
        2. No ? Investigate the reasons for the lack of a policy statement or an inadequately prepared policy statement governing the hiring of qualified applicants analyzing all sources, including:
          1. Workforce statistics;
          2. Complaints data;
          3. Anecdotes from EEO, HR, Unions, Advocates;
          4. Surveys, focus group results, exit interviews;
          5. Reports from outside organizations.
          6. Etc.
      2. No ? The inquiry is at an end.
    4. No? The recruitment and hiring inquiry ends.
  5. Separations: Does the rate at which a particular group separates from the agency exceed that groups corresponding participation rate in the agency's workforce?
    1. Yes ? Does a gap exist between the separation rate of a group in the permanent workforce and that group's corresponding participation rate in the permanent workforce?
      1. Yes ? Are there indications (statistics, complaints, surveys, anecdotes, etc) of limited opportunities for upward mobility in the permanent workforce?
        1. Yes? Investigate policies, procedures, and practices governing upward mobility in the permanent workforce.
        2. No ? Are there indications of work/life policies, procedures, or practices causing individuals so separate?
          1. Yes ? Investigate work/life policies, procedures, or practices.
          2. No ? Are there indications of harassment directed at particular groups?
            1. Yes ? Investigate conditions under which claims of harassment have been brought.
            2. No ? Are there indications of any other policies, procedures, or practices that may be having an impact on separations?
              1. Yes? Investigate these policies, procedures, or practices.
              2. No ? Move on to separations from the temporary workforce.
      2. No ? Does a gap exist between the separation rate of a group in the temporary workforce and their corresponding temporary workforce participation rate?
        1. Yes ? Are there indications (statistics, complaints, surveys, anecdotes, etc) of limited opportunities for upward mobility in the permanent workforce?
          1. Yes? Investigate policies, procedures, and practices governing upward mobility in the permanent workforce.
          2. No ? Are there indications of work/life policies, procedures, or practices causing individuals to separate?
            1. Yes ? Investigate work/life policies, procedures, or practices.
            2. No ? Are there indications of harassment directed at particular groups?
              1. Yes ? Investigate conditions under which claims of harassment have been brought.
              2. No ? Are there indications of any other policies, procedures, or practices that may be having an impact on separations?
                1. Yes? Investigate these policies, procedures, or practices.
                2. No ? Move on to separations from the temporary workforce
        2. No ? Does a gap exist between the separation rate of a group in the non-appropriated or other status workforce category and their corresponding participation in that workforce?
          1. Yes ? Investigate policies, procedures, or practices as described above.
          2. No ? The separations inquiry ends.
  6. Upward Mobility: Is the participation rate of a particular group in the Senior Executive Service (SES) lower than that group's corresponding participation rate in the agency's permanent workforce?
    1. Yes ? Is the selection rate of a particular group to the SES below their corresponding availability in the GS15 feeder pool?
      1. Yes ? Investigate the policies, procedures, and practices that govern the process of hiring individuals for the SES:
        1. Are there objective criteria for the positions?
          1. Yes
          2. No
        2. Are the applicants culled by a review panel?
          1. Yes
          2. No
        3. Are there selection panels?
          1. Yes
          2. No
        4. Do the selection panels conduct interviews?
          1. Yes
          2. No
        5. Etc.?
          1. Yes
          2. No
      2. No ? Is the selection rate of a particular group for the GS-15 feeder pool lower than their corresponding availability in the GS-14 feeder pool?
        1. Yes ? Investigate the policies, procedures, and practices that govern the process of promoting individuals to GS-15:
          1. Are there objective criteria for the positions?
            1. Yes
            2. No
          2. Are the applicants culled by a review panel?
            1. Yes
            2. No
          3. Are there selection panels?
            1. Yes
            2. No
          4. Do the selection panels conduct interviews?
            1. Yes
            2. No
          5. Etc.?
            1. Yes
            2. No
        2. No ? Is the selection rate of a particular group for the GS-14 feeder pool lower than their corresponding availability in the GS-13 feeder pool?
          1. Yes ? Investigate the policies, procedures, and practices that govern the process of promoting individuals to GS-14:
            1. Are there objective criteria for the positions?
              1. Yes
              2. No
            2. Are the applicants culled by a review panel?
              1. Yes
              2. No
            3. Are there selection panels?
              1. Yes
              2. No
            4. Do the selection panels conduct interviews?
              1. Yes
              2. No
            5. Etc.?
              1. Yes
              2. No
          2. No ? Is the selection rate of a particular group for the GS-13 feeder pool lower than their corresponding availability in the feeder pools from the agency's major occupations?
            1. Yes ?Investigate the policies, procedures, and practices that govern the process of promoting individuals from top grades within the major occupations to GS-13.
              1. Are there objective criteria for the positions?
                1. Yes
                2. No
              2. Are the applicants culled by a review panel?
                1. Yes
                2. No
              3. Are there selection panels?
                1. Yes
                2. No
              4. Do the selection panels conduct interviews?
                1. Yes
                2. No
              5. Etc.?
                1. Yes
                2. No
            2. No ? The upward mobility inquiry ends.