EEO Complaints on the Rise

Up until September 2007, 345 EEO complaints were filed against TSA alleging different forms of discrimination, compared with 297 in 2006. Of the 345 complaints,110 were filed based on disability, 85 on retaliation, 81 on race, 76 on sex, 62 on age, 23 on color, 20 on national origin, 8 on religion, and 16 on non-EEO issues. Many of the complaints were filed alleging multiple bases.

But this data was reported only through September 2007, which means more complaints might have been filed but have not been reported. TSA is required by the No FEAR Act to post its EEO data quarterly on its Web site, but the agency is currently not meeting this requirement. The last time it updated the data was in September 2007. Unfortunately, there is no enforcement mechanism to address TSA’s non-compliance because the No Fear Act does not specify what action the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may take if an agency doesn’t comply with the law.

Even though the number of EEO complaints filed increased last year, AFGE believes the number of complaints reported by TSA each year is not an accurate accounting of the number of incidents of discrimination that take place at TSA. TSOs have reported that many of them decide not to file an EEO complaint for fear of retaliation from management.

TSA is also required to report annually the amount of money it has reimbursed into the Judgment Fund, which is a fund set up by the Department of Justice to pay claimants who have won awards and settlements in EEO and whistleblower cases. The No FEAR Act requires this reimbursement as a way of holding agencies accountable for the discriminatory actions of its employees. Prior to the No FEAR Act, federal agencies lacked accountability for enforcement of federal anti-discrimination and whistleblower statutes since any monetary judgment against an agency was paid from the Judgment Fund rather than the agency’s own operating budget.

“All other federal agencies are required to share this data in a timely fashion,” said Andrea Brooks, AFGE National Vice President for Women and Fair Practices. “This is so Congress will know that the laws in this area are being adhered to. AFGE is very, very troubled by the numbers and types of EEO claims at TSA. It is the U.S. taxpayers who are paying for TSA’s blatant disregard for the law.”

AFGE has a team of lawyers dedicated to litigating EEO complaints for TSOs.

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