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Improving EEO in the Federal Workplace; What’s Your Priority?

Avatar of David B. Grinberg
David B. Grinberg

* UPDATE: Since the time of this original post one year ago, the EEOC has approved and issued the Federal Sector Complement Plan referred to below. Click here to read it. – DBG

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced it is seeking public input on federal sector priorities under the agency’s recently approved comprehensive Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for Fiscal Years 2013-2016.

EEOC approved the landmark SEP to “establish national enforcement priorities and better integrate enforcement responsibilities” in both the private and public sectors. The SEP is an outgrowth of EEOC’s agency-wide Strategic Plan.

Under the SEP, EEOC is drafting a Federal Sector Complement Plan (FCP) to address key issues and improve the process of ensuring equal employment opportunity (EEO) government-wide.

Data for the latest year available show that nearly 17,000 complaints were filed alleging employment discrimination against federal agencies, according to EEOC’s Annual Report on the Federal Work Force, FY 2011.

Public Comments Requested

Any individual with a stake in the federal sector EEO process can provide comments for system-wide improvements. Interested parties may offer specific policy recommendations on administrative and legal procedures, as well as related enforcement and appellate issues.

EEOC is encouraging “input from individuals, advocacy groups, agency stakeholders, employers, and other interested parties. The Commission will carefully review each submission for possible inclusion in the FCP. Suggestions may be sent via email to fcp@eeoc.gov and must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on January 24, 2013.” (bold and italics added for emphasis).

Federal Sector Stakeholders

This is a rare chance for the public to provide direct input to the Commission and help shape EEO policy affecting over two million federal employees government-wide. If an individual or entity falls under one of the following categories then they have an important stake in fostering EEO throughout the federal workplace:

  • Federal employee or applicant
  • Federal manager or supervisor
  • Federal agency or agency head
  • Federal contractor or subcontractor
  • EEO office of EEO professional
  • HR Office of HR specialist
  • Union official or union member
  • Civil rights or labor advocate
  • Employment lawyer or mediator
  • Affinity organization, stakeholder group
  • The genral public and other interested parties

Federal Sector Complement Plan

According to the EEOC, the FCP will determine, among other things:

  • How enforcement priorities for the federal sector will be reflected in the federal sector case management system.”
  • How enforcement priorities will be incorporated into the forthcoming integrated data system, which will be used to identify and address potentially discriminatory policies or practices in federal agencies.”

All federal employees — and other interested parties — have a critically important stake in helping to prevent, address and remedy unlawful discrimination or harassment in the federal workforce.

So what are your priorities to improve the federal sector EEO process and build a model federal workplace?

Chime-in now: email fcp@eeoc.gov

DBG

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9 Comments

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Megan
My input is summarized on my personal blog and is focused on mobbing in the public sector primarily, although also on criminal or off-duty harassment with jail time as a remedy in extreme cases.
The EEOC stats show that mobbing is a systemic issue and is used as a strategy to bully aging workers into early retirement govenment-wide (and in fact is not unique to the US).
Clarifying the pattern of retaliation in mobbing and how to prove it would be a big help, i.e, when does a discrimination complaint become a retaliation complaint and what is the cycle of ongoing abuse in mobbing? ETC.
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David B. Grinberg

Megan, thanks for the interesting information.

I suggest you please consider sending in an official comment to fsp@eeoc.gov. Generally,a healthy workplace is one that is inclusive and free of discrimination. Some folks who are not familiar with harassment, for example, may not realize that — in adition to being subjected to adverse and/or unlawful employment actions — victims can experience a tremendous emotional toll due to workplace discrimination. This often includes pain, suffering and mental anguish. That’s why EEO laws provide for compensatory and punitive damages among the many legal remedies available.

Thanks again, Megan, for sharing this useful info — and, again, please send an email to fcp@eeoc.gov so that your valuable input and perspectives can receive appropriate consideration by EEOC.

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Megan

Done!! Thanks for the support and timely information. Yes retaliation lawsuits can lead to settlements as high as $168M for a single victim of workplace harassment. Mobbing is a form of non-physical, non-homicidal violence and because it is violent and abusive emotional harm frequently ensues.

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Megan

This is a very good article about mobbing in the public sector in Australia.

The patterns are similar across most countries with EEO laws and processes that are similar to the US. Canadian public servants have also sounded the alarm and have established websites for targets and families. Mobbing is popular in government because it is not possible to simply fire a worker, so a story against the target must be told over time eventually leading to dismissal.

Mobbing is difficult to document and to stop because of the sheer number of managers who are typically involved (dozens) and because of the speed at which the adverse retaliatory actions accumulate. The target must move quickly to document the charges and to put the complicated puzzle together in terms of which managers are the puppet masters, and which managers are working behind the scenes.

The target’s’ supervisor is the primary responsible manager, but s/he can’t continue the harassment over time without support from higher ups.

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David B. Grinberg

EEOC Public Comment Period extended through Monday, Jan. 28. Email fcp@eeoc.gov with your priority recommendations for federal sector enforcement and improvements to the EEO process.

EEOC is increasing transparency and citizen engagment consistent with Open Government.

Listen to EEOC interview on Federal News Radio this morning with Dexter Brooks, Director, Office of Federal Sector Programs (click “interview” then scroll down on page). Mr. Brooks discusses the public comment period for federal sector priorities, as well as the EEOC Strategic Enforcement Plan and related issues.

Reply
David B. Grinberg

FYI Update. To view EEOC’s Federal Sector Complement Plan click here.

Following the Introduction:

“Pursuant to the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP), the Office of Federal Operations (OFO) and the Office of Field Programs (OFP) submit to the Office of the Chair this Federal Complement Plan (FCP, or Plan). As described in detail below, this Plan is based upon the recommendations of a staff work group and: (1) describes how the Federal Sector will implement the SEP priorities; (2) identifies complementary Federal Sector priorities and strategies for addressing them; and (3) recommends strategies to improve communication, oversight, and consistency across the Federal Sector.

The Federal government is our nation’s largest employer. EEOC provides leadership and guidance to Federal agencies on all aspects of the Federal government’s equal employment opportunity program and has established the processes for addressing workplace discrimination in the Federal Sector. The processes employed by the Commission in addressing discrimination in the private sector and Federal Sector differ significantly in that the Commission’s private sector enforcement role is primarily investigatory and litigation, while Federal Sector enforcement is primarily oversight and adjudicatory. Nevertheless, the SEP priorities are applicable to the Federal Sector’s antidiscrimination efforts. Given the nature of Federal Sector oversight and enforcement, the process for arriving at this Plan involved other Federal agencies, outside advocacy groups and EEOC employees.”

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Julie Chase

David, I cannot tell you how much your insights on improving and evolving the EEOC in fed service mean to me. Some I understand, some I need a bit more education on. All are appreciated.

Reply
David B. Grinberg

Thank you very much for the kind words Julie.

It’s always good to know that members of GovLoop care about equal opportunity and diversity in the federal workplace — especially as America becomes increasingly more diverse.

Thanks again, Julie, for all of your valuable feedback and comments on these EEO-related posts.

DBG

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