Developments at the EEOC: The EEOC’s recently released FY 2010 Annual Report confirms that Federal Employees continue to experience discrimination in the workplace. The 16,480 individuals who filed discrimination claims in FY 2010 comprise a tiny proportion of the Federal Workforce (.3 percent of the overall Federal workforce, and .7 percent of the Executive Branch workforce), but the trend is still on the rise. According to the Report, “The number of complaints filed increased by 3.8% over the previous year and there was a 4.1% increase in the number of individuals who filed complaints over the same period.”
Large Agencies with the highest complaint rates were the Department of Labor (.77%), the U.S. Postal Service (.75%) and the Social Security Administration (.72%); medium-sized Agencies with the highest complaint rates were the Government Printing Office (1.74%), The Federal Reserve System (1.26%), and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (1.18%). Notably, however, these latter three agencies also boasted the highest rate of pre-complaint resolutions in the Federal Sector, coming in at 91.9% resolved at the Federal Reserve; 72.3% at the Government Printing Office; and 65.6% at the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The Postal Service also reported one of the highest pre-complaint resolution rates for large agencies, 65.1%. One interpretation might suggest that higher EEO complaint rates don’t always reflect that an Agency has a more discriminatory atmosphere, but rather, the presence of a robust, well-used EEO process that provides a strong chance of favorable resolution.
The Report also summarizes each Agency’s EEO statistics for last year, including the Agency’s average complaint processing time, average investigation time, overall compliance rates, rates of participation in ADR, and total expenditures for the EEO process, including investigation, settlement, and awards after hearing or appeal.
The Report also gives a potential claimant a ballpark figure on average EEO payouts at various stages of the complaint process. The Report listed average awards for pre-complaint ADR at almost $5500, and the average award for settling of formal complaints as $12,335. The report did not run an average award for decisions and settlements at the hearing and appellate stage, which were an aggregate value of $63.1 million, and $5.3 million, respectively.
The knowledge that Agencies are prepared to spend significant money to resolve complaints at the early and middle stages of EEO processing helps ease the sting of the discouragingly low number of findings of discrimination by an AJ after hearing–just 5.4% of all cases taken to hearing in 2010.
Fortunately, aggregate decision and settlement awards at the hearing stage are also trending upward. In FY 2010, Administrative Judge decisions and settlements at the hearings stage awarded $63.1 million in benefits, as compared to the $44.5 million in FY 2009 and the $51.9 million awarded in FY 2006.
“Part II” will be published later in the year, and will supposedly contain selected measures of progress made by agencies in FY 2010.”