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Press Release 03-23-2023

EEOC Issues Federal Workforce Report for 2020

Hispanic Women and People With Disabilities Show Gains; Retaliation Tops Complaint Bases

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today released its Annual Report on the Federal Workforce for fiscal year (FY) 2020. Despite the significant progress the federal sector has made in promoting equal employment opportunity (EEO), workforce data suggested that some inequities persist.

The Annual Report on the Federal Workforce informs and advises the President and the Congress on the state of EEO throughout the federal government. The report also provides benchmarks against which individual federal agencies can gauge their performance.  

EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows said, “The federal government is the nation’s largest employer, with over 2 million employees, and the EEOC’s Annual Report on the Federal Workforce helps measure the federal government’s progress in promoting equal employment opportunity. Although only a snapshot, this data helps indicate how federal agencies can enhance their ongoing efforts to make the federal government a model employer free from unlawful discrimination.”

“We continue to see slow but steady progress in the federal sector with regard to key indicators of the EEOC’s mission to prevent and remedy unlawful employment discrimination and advance equal opportunity for all,” said Carlton Hadden, director of the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations.

The EEOC made several major changes to the structure of the Annual Report. Previous reports from FY 2015 to FY 2019 contained data on EEO complaint processing activity, workforce statistics, and EEO commitment in a single report. For FY 2020, the EEOC split the report in two parts to make it more concise and accessible for users: one part for EEO complaint processing activity, and another for workforce statistics & EEO commitment. The EEOC also added five years of workforce data to reveal long-term trends, revised the selected grade bands by which participation rates are reported, and added information on missing data.

The first part of the FY 2020 Annual Report provides an overview of the underlying trends in federal sector complaint processing. Main findings included:

  • Federal employees and applicants for employment filed 14,003 formal EEO complaints. The most frequently alleged basis was reprisal/retaliation (7,506), followed by age (4,221) and physical disability (4,214).
  • In FY 2020, the monetary benefits obtained through settlements and awarded for findings of discrimination at the complaint stage, including administrative judge (AJ) decisions and final agency decisions, amounted to over $66 million, a 25% increase since FY 2019.
  • 38.5% out of 36,356 informal resolution efforts, or counselings, resulted in a formal complaint filing.
  • An alternative dispute resolution (ADR) was offered for 85.6% of completed counselings, with 53.3% accepting. ADR led to a resolution 67.0% of the time.
  • The total governmentwide pre-complaint settlement payout was about $3.6 million — up from $3.1 million in FY 2019.
  • The total number of findings of discrimination, including AJ decisions and final agency decisions, increased from 175 in FY 2019 to 244 in FY 2020.

The second part provides an overview of FY 2020 federal sector trends related to workforce demographics and indicators of EEO commitment. Main findings included:

  • Most (but not all) race/ethnicity by gender groups participated in the federal workforce at rates higher than they did in the civilian labor force (CLF).
  • Of groups with participation rates below the CLF, white women and men and women of two or more races saw decreases in their participation rates between FY 2016 and FY 2020. However, Hispanic women’s/Latina's participation rate increased from 3.7% in FY 2016 to 4.4% in FY 2020.
  • Most gender by race/ethnicity groups had their highest participation rates in the lower, General Schedule (GS) 1-10 grade band. The exceptions were white men, Asian men, Asian women, and Hispanic men/Latinos.
  • The participation rates of persons with disabilities (PWD) and persons with targeted disabilities (PWTD) continued to increase. The participation rate for PWDs was 9.45% and for PWTDs was 1.84%.
  • PWD's and PWTD’s participation rates were higher in the GS 1-10 grade band than in the GS 11 through Senior Executive Service and Senior Pay band.
  • Almost all agencies (91.9%) reported prominently posting reasonable accommodation procedures for individuals with disabilities.
  • Compliance with a direct reporting structure was mixed. About 37.0% of federal agencies did not have the agency head as the immediate supervisor of the EEO director.

As in years past, this report only includes data from agencies that submitted and certified Federal Agency Annual Equal Employment Opportunity Program Status Reports (MD-715 reports). A complete list of agencies that failed to submit and certify FY 2020 MD-715 reports is provided with the Annual Report workforce tables found on the EEOC’s Federal Sector Reports webpage at

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.