(Washington) Gabrielle Martin, president of the National Council of EEOC Locals, No. 216, AFGE/AFL-CIO, will testify on
April 14, 2010, in Room H-309 of the U.S. Capitol, before the Commerce,
Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittees of the House
Committee on Appropriations.
At this open witness hearing, Martin will express support for increasing funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC) from $367 million to $385 million, in an effort to tackling the
Agency’s backlog, which is approaching 100,000 cases. The Council
represents the investigators, attorneys, administrative judges,
paralegals, mediators, and support staff in EEOC’s offices.

“EEOC must have resources to effectively enforce the nation’s laws preventing discrimination on the job, especially now when everyone
agrees that jobs must be the number one focus,” says Martin.
In fact, EEOC has seen discrimination filings rise to record highs in the past two years, reflecting the impact of the tough economy. At the
same time, EEOC added new laws to its enforcement authority, including
the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments and the Genetic
Information Nondiscrimination Act.

However, as the workload has increased, EEOC has lost 25% of its workforce during a multi-year hiring freeze, and according to Martin,
“leaving the Agency too short-handed to handle the current influx and
backlogs.” The Council is asking Congress to increase EEOC’s staffing to
3,000 employees, which represents its staffing level in 1994, the last
time EEOC was handling over 90,000 charges annually.

The average EEOC discrimination processing time is 294 days. “Unfortunately, working families take the hit when EEOC cannot provide
timely assistance,” explains Martin. “Racial or sexual harassment on the
job continues. Accommodations allowing disabled employees to work are
not provided. Well-qualified seniors attempting to get jobs are turned
away without recourse.” As a result, EEOC also has seen retaliation
charges increase.

Martin plans to report to the EEOC’s House appropriations oversight subcommittee that the funds must be targeted to the increasing frontline
employees who help the public directly. The EEOC must work smarter by
adopting the Council’s Full Service Intake Plan, which “provides access
to EEOC staff who can answer their questions and file charges from the
get-go, while freeing up investigators to quickly resolve discrimination
Martin is optimistic that Congress will provide the needed funds and agency oversight, “Chairman Mollohan has repeatedly demonstrated support
for EEOC’s employees, as we diligently work to keep Americans on the
job and workplaces free of discrimination.”

The Council will launch its Facebook page with coverage of Martin’s testimony.


The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 600,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.

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