(Washington, DC) - The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the nation’s largest federal employee union, offered clarifications and changes to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding Management Directive 715 (MD 715). This annual report requires agencies to take affirmative actions to identify and remove any barriers to equal employment opportunities of all federal workers.
The union requested EEOC be more proactive in instructing agencies to work with labor organizations and constituency groups to assist agencies in analyzing data and crafting plans to eliminate barriers to equal employment opportunities. Also, the union encouraged EEOC take on a more vigorous role to enforce agency accountability for reports of their annual action plans to achieve the stated interest of the MD 715.
MD 715 has the stated intent to ensure that all employees and applicants for employment enjoy equality of opportunity in the federal workplace regardless of race, sex, national origin, color, religion, disability, or reprisal for engaging in prior protected activity.
“The EEOC should assume more responsibilities to ensure agency compliance with the directive,” said AFGE National Vice President for Women’s and Fair Practices Augusta Thomas. The changes requested by AFGE include agencies be required to: (1) involve labor unions, constituent groups and communities to assess barriers and determine action plans instead of merely reviewing communications that may have occurred in the past. The annual reporting requirement should mandate annual contact with these groups; (2) agencies should impose a two-year limit on barrier plans with no improvement; (3) the EEOC should have an advance role in overseeing MD 715 and monitoring agency compliance with agency plans and EEOC directives. The EEOC should post in its direction best practices or sample plans associated with specific barriers that have produced positive results in the past; (4) the EEOC should include age as a reporting requirement, as age discrimination cases are of increasing relevance in today’s workplace and; (5) MD 715 should be posted in its entirety on both the agencies’ and the EEOC’s public websites.
“The American public has the right to know how well, or how poorly, their federal government is working toward the goal that all employees and applicants for employment enjoy equality of opportunity in the federal workplace regardless of race, sex, national origin, color, religion, disability or reprisal for engaging in prior protected activity,” stated Thomas. “This information should never be kept in the dark because of political considerations within any agency.”
“Agency heads should be held responsible for the state of equal opportunity in her or her agency. We applaud the Commission’s effort to review this directive after more than eight years since the development of this instrumental reporting tool,” concluded Thomas.