January 04, 2021

Brittany Holder
[email protected]

EEOC's Lame Duck Chair Janet Dhillon's New Year Resolution is to Give a Free Pass to Bad Managers to Discriminate Against Federal Workers by Hamstringing Their Union Reps

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will be voting on whether unions can represent federal workers who report discrimination. If not, employees will be forced to hire an attorney, try to represent themselves, or not file a complaint.

WASHINGTON –  The outgoing chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Janet Dhillon's New Year resolution is to shove through a union-busting rule that will make it harder for federal workers to bring a discrimination complaint, the American Federation of Government Employees said.

In her waning days as chair of the civil rights agency, Dhillon has called for a vote on January 7, 2021, to strip federal employees of their most trusted representative to help them when they are subjected to workplace discrimination. The EEOC will be voting whether to change a long-running regulation in order to single out union officials as the only employees who may not represent a complainant while on duty time. 

“This is an outrageous and hypocritical position for EEOC to take during this national reckoning of racial injustice. EEOC should focus on robust civil rights enforcement, not create roadblocks for federal workers who raise internal discrimination complaints,” said Everett Kelley, American Federation of Government Employees National President. “Federal victims of discrimination who want a knowledgeable representative will now have to pay an attorney. Otherwise, they may suffer in silence or even quit. Let us be clear – anyone who votes for this anti-worker rule is giving a gift to bad managers, so they can get away with discriminating against their subordinates by hamstringing the union.”

EEOC’s controversial proposed rule change drew thousands of negative comments during two posting periods on the Federal Register. EEOC is required to review and consider comments that it received prior to making a decision on a final rule. Over 11,000 comments were submitted to the Federal Register. The overwhelming majority were adamantly opposed to the rule change.

Comments against the rule were submitted by: AFGE, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, National Treasury Employees Union, National Nurses Organizing Committee, and the American Postal Workers Union; the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Women’s Law Center, National Employment Lawyers Association; and members of Congress, including a letter led by former EEOC Chair, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Rep. Jamie Raskin, which was signed by 185 House Members. 

“Chairwoman Dhillon and EEOC Commissioners Keith Sonderling, Andrea Lucas, Charlotte Burrows, and Jocelyn Samuels are public servants who should work in the best interest of the American people and cast their votes consistent with the civil rights mission of the agency, and should not be driven by a craven attempt to strip workers’ rights before January 20th. Historically EEOC’s laws and regulations have expanded rights not taken them away,” Kelley added. “I urge workers, civil rights activists, members of Congress, and allies in the fight against injustice to attend this meeting. EEOC’s leadership must know that concerned citizens are bearing witness to their actions. Their vote is their legacy, and the public will be listening.”

The public can dial into EEOC's public meeting on January 7, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. Instructions for dialing in will be posted on 24 hours prior to the meeting. Members of the public will not have an opportunity to speak but can hear the proceedings.

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