Broad-Based Coalition Proposes Overhaul of EEO Process
(Washington, D.C.)—“It is critical that confidence in the federal sector EEO process be strengthened, and the legal and moral power of the EEOC, as the key component of the eradication of discrimination in the federal workforce, be enhanced and preserved,” stated Andrea E. Brooks, Director of Women’s/Fair Practices Department of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). AFGE was joined by 18 other stakeholders in a letter sent to the Chair and Commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which included a proposal to improve the federal-sector equal employment opportunity (EEO) process.
The proposal entitled, “Proposal to Improve the Federal Sector EEO Process—7 Steps for Improvement,” would, according to the coalition, “add (or restore) credibility to the process; make the process more timely; and, preserve the EEOC’s primary federal sector role as the adjudicator of claims of discrimination.”
The proposal calls for mandating manager participation in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), adopting a uniform standard for what complaints “state a claim” of discrimination; assignment of cases to one of three litigation tracks, depending upon complexity and details of issues involved; mandating EEO Directors report directly to agency head; prohibiting agency counsel from interfering with EEO investigations; establishing minimum standards for agency EEO investigations; and requiring agencies to issue a “180-day letter” informing employees of their right to immediately request a hearing.
The proposal also calls for the continuation of hearings before an Administrative Judge of the EEOC and an investigation by the agency.
“We stakeholders are committed to working with the Commission to seek improvements of the federal sector EEO process,” the letter states. The coalition has requested a meeting with the Chair and Commissioners to “help make the federal sector EEO process the best possible to eradicate discrimination from the federal workforce.”