../plan.css">The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The Commission's role in enforcing equal employment opportunity laws in the federal sector differs from its role in the private sector. In contrast to the private sector program, where EEOC conducts all activities from prevention through litigation, in the federal sector an individual files a complaint with his/her own agency and can request a hearing at the EEOC after 180 days. Both individuals and federal agencies can file appeals with the EEOC and, when complainants are dissatisfied with the outcome, they may file their own lawsuit in federal court. However, EEOC's decisions are binding on federal agencies.
As is the case in the private sector program, the EEOC establishes policies to implement equal opportunity laws and conducts outreach, technical assistance and training activities to prevent or correct discriminatory practices. In the federal sector program, the EEOC also carries out its oversight responsibilities through a unique activity called "on-site reviews," for which visits are made to selected federal agency locations and, where areas of concern are identified, agency managers are advised on appropriate corrective actions.
First introduced in fiscal year 1999, the Comprehensive Enforcement Program (CEP) continues to be a primary focus for improving the federal sector process at the Commission. Under the CEP, we have reached out to more employee and employer stakeholders as part of our "citizen-centered" approach; provided more technical assistance; conducted more strategically focused onsite reviews; and stemmed the growth of the hearings and appellate inventories. By linking the hearings and appeals programs with strong oversight, technical assistance and educational initiatives, the Commission is strategically focusing its resources on achieving measurable results and identifying and eliminating the root causes of discrimination in the federal sector.
Our federal sector accomplishments for fiscal year 2000 demonstrate that the initiatives and reforms EEOC began in1999 are contributing to the goal of the federal government as a model employer. With a modest increase in staff dedicated to this program in fiscal year 2001, and maintained with the budget request for fiscal year 2002, we have added measures to continue our accomplishments in this program.
Appendix B-3 shows a diagram illustrating the federal sector Comprehensive Enforcement Program (CEP) concepts and Appendix B-2 displays a flow chart of the federal sector enforcement process in brief. Our Regulations detailing this process are published in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) under Part 1614. They are available on the U.S. Government Printing Office's web site and can be accessed through EEOC's web site. EEOC's web site is located at http://www.eeoc.gov and contains a wealth of information about the Commission, the laws we enforce and federal complaint processing procedures. A link on our web site to Part 1614 can be found at http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/regulations.html.
STRATEGIC GOAL 1
Enforce Federal Civil Rights Employment Laws Through a Comprehensive Enforcement Program.
Strategic Objective 1.2.
Enhance the effectiveness of the federal sector program by utilizing a comprehensive enforcement strategy.
|1.2.1.||Percent of closed Hearings cases over 180 days old.||X||X||5% reduction of cases over 180 days old at beginning of FY2000.||6.8% reduction.||20% of closures are 360-days old and older.||20% of closures are 360-days old and older.|
|1.2.2.||Percent of Hearings cases resolved within 180 days.||X||X||X||X||20% of cases received in FY2001.||20% of cases received in FY2002.|
|1.2.3.||Percent of closed Appeals cases 500-days old or older.||X||X||20%||33%||30%||30%|
|1.2.4.||Percent of Appeals cases resolved within 180 days.||X||X||10% of cases received in FY2000.||21.9%||20% of cases received in FY2001.||20% of cases received in FY2002.|
|1.2.5.||Percent of Appeals resolved within 180 days involving breach of settlement agreements filed within the first 3 quarters of the fiscal year.||X||X||X||X||50%||50%|
|1.2.6.||Percent of Appeals resolved within 180 days alleging non-compliance with an agency's final action or final decision filed within the first 3 quarters of the fiscal year.||X||X||X||X||50%||50%|
We exceeded all of the fiscal year 2000 measures and will build on our accomplishments in fiscal year 2002. As the results indicate above, we exceeded all of our targets for fiscal year 2000, resolving a greater percentage of hearings over 180 days old (measure 1.2.1.), closing a greater percentage of appeals cases over 500 days old (measure 1.2.3.), and resolving a greater percentage of appeals cases within 180 days (measure 1.2.4.). We are continuing these measures in fiscal years 2001 and 2002. A more complete description of our fiscal year 2000 achievements for these measures, and others not continued into fiscal year 2002, are in our Fiscal Year 2000 Annual Performance Report included with this Budget Request in Appendix C-4.
For fiscal years 2001 and 2002, we have adopted additional measures that will improve the timeliness of service in the hearings and appeals programs. The federal Comprehensive Enforcement Program (CEP) provides a framework for implementing new regulations in 29 C.F.R. Part 1614, which streamlines procedures governing the discrimination complaint process for federal employees. The revised regulations have improved the complaint processing system by eliminating unnecessary layers of review, utilizing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) throughout the process, and addressing perceptions of unfairness in the system.
The revised federal sector regulations, implemented in November 1999, expanded the role of administrative judges in the complaint process, permitting them to consolidate all complaints by the same party and gather additional information to fill gaps in the record. As a result of the new regulatory provisions, the hearing process is more equitable for the parties and the record developed before an administrative judge is more impartial and complete. By fiscal year 2002, the administrative judges' hearings manual will be developed establishing quality standards under the federal sector Comprehensive Enforcement Program (CEP) in the future.
Our Hearings measures (see 1.2.1. and 1.2.2.) balance the use of agency resources to address new hearing requests in a timely fashion while simultaneously resolving a share of older cases in the hearings inventory. This approach to inventory management controls growth in the age of the inventory, while resolving a portion of the cases within 180 days. Our goal is to increase closures of older cases and resolve more new cases in the future.
Table 3, Hearings Workload Projections for FY2002, shows that while the impact of the revised regulations and the consolidation efforts have had a positive impact on the number of requests we are receiving for hearings, we anticipate a 9% decrease in the number of hearings resolved from 10,183 in fiscal year 2000 to 9,305 in fiscal year 2001, due to the new, multiple tasks performed under the revised regulations, and the lag time in getting new staff on board this fiscal year. EEOC maintained a freeze on hiring through fiscal year 2000 and into the second quarter of fiscal year 2001-our appropriation was not received until the end of the first quarter.
|% Hearings Requests||42.8%||38.5%||39.7%|
|Months of Inventory||13.1||13.4||9.0|
With increases to base requested to maintain staff dedicated to this program in fiscal year 2002, EEOC will achieve its GPRA measures and significantly increase the number of hearings resolved, reducing the months of inventory from 13.4 to 9.0, which translates into more timely service to our customers. As EEOC continues to reduce the hearings inventory, we expect other federal agencies will apply provisions of the Part 1614 regulations controlling their workload. For example, the regulations require each agency to avoid fragmentation of complaints by the same party, eliminate spin-off complaints, and adopt effective ADR programs to resolve disputes early. We have found that Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) techniques can reduce the number of formal complaints and requests for hearings. To expand the use of ADR in fiscal year 2002, we intend to use mediation to resolve hearings cases in EEOC's offices, refer cases to agency ADR programs, such as the Postal Service's REDRESS II program, use volunteer mediators available through local bar associations or the Federal Executive Board, and explore other ways to use ADR mechanisms to resolve cases more expeditiously.
Accurate and timely information is vital if we expect to efficiently manage our program and curtail the growth in the Hearings inventory, as well as further implement the federal sector CEP concepts. Improvements in our computerized data systems will assist our efforts to provide senior managers with more accurate and timely information. (See technology discussion in Section IV.D..)
In the 1990s, the agency witnessed an expanding federal sector workload and an increase in the average age of cases reaching the hearings and appeals stages. A General Accounting Office Report (GAO/GCD-98-167BR) acknowledged these results and raised concerns that they would continue to worsen unless measures were adopted to stem their growth. In fiscal year 2000, we closely monitored the appellate case process and adjusted priorities, which has begun to reverse the trend in increases to our appeals inventory and our average processing time, which peaked at 473 days in fiscal year 1998 and declined to 420 days in fiscal year 2000. These management actions and reforms to our federal sector program contributed, in part, to enhanced benefits for our stakeholders. We will continue these efforts in fiscal year 2002, to make the appellate process even more efficient and effective.
The Federal Appellate Inventory Review (FAIR) Project, implemented at the beginning of fiscal year 2001, is a key project that already has enabled the Commission to gain an accurate assessment of its appellate inventory. We expect FAIR to decrease the average processing time of appeals, expedite the consolidation of appeals from the same complainant to minimize the fragmentation of claims, subject all appeals to an early initial attorney review to assess the nature of the issues and prioritize the appeal, and compile an appellate case record in a more efficient, timely and accurate manner.
FAIR was designed, in part, in response to feedback from the Commission's federal sector stakeholders. In fiscal year 2000, federal SECTOR program staff conducted a series of town hall meetings in four different cities nationwide with employees and other stakeholders interested in the federal sector EEO process. Also, they met periodically with federal agency representatives and members of the bar. As a result of the suggestions and feedback received, the Commission implemented the FAIR Project.
The new provisions of the Part 1614 regulations are critical for the successful implementation of the federal sector CEP and the accomplishment of our measures in fiscal year 2002. Table 4, below, illustrates the anticipated effect of these regulations on the appellate inventory. The Commission halted the growth of the appeals inventory in fiscal year 2000, the first reduction since implementation of the original Part 1614 regulations in 1992. In fiscal year 2002, the Commission projects that it will reduce the pending appeals inventory to 7.6 months.
|Months of Inventory||13.1||12.2||7.6|
Under the federal sector CEP, many of our appellate activities will enhance the design of our outreach, education and technical assistance programs in the federal sector. The same information will also be used to assist in the selection and design of onsite reviews. This synergy in our programs will optimize the use of our resources and help us deliver better information and assistance to our stakeholders.
Also, the Commission is exploring more and better ways to use technology to make its appellate program more effective and efficient and further stem the growth of the appellate inventory. A prime example of our use of technology was a pilot program we initiated in fiscal year 2000 with the Defense Logistics Agency. When an administrative appeal is filed, DLA electronically transfers the complaint files to the Commission. In fiscal year 2002, we will expand this approach to other federal agencies.
This page was last modified on May 3, 2001.
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