Equal Opportunity:

Problems in the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Program Need to Be Resolved

FPCD-76-85: Published: Sep 9, 1977. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 1977.


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The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Act of 1972 established guidelines for ensuring nondiscrimination and placed responsibility with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for reviewing national and regional EEO plans submitted by departments and agencies, evaluating agency operations, and publishing progress reports.

It could not be determined whether the EEO program for federal employees and job applicants was adequate and effective because there were no objective ground rules showing what the standards of accomplishment should be. Confusion exists because of disagreement on the meaning of equal employment opportunity, the lack of clearly stated program goals and criteria, disagreement on who should be beneficiaries of the program, confusion between permissible goals and impermissible quotas, differences in treatment within government and in private industry, constraints of the merit system, and administrative problems. According to CSC data, the percentage of minority group members holding federal jobs has remained about the same since 1972. CSC has not: (1) developed criteria for agencies on organizational arrangements; (2) kept costs of the program; nor (3) supplied agencies with necessary data to develop realistic goals. The emphasis of most agency programs was on hiring goals, with little involvement in recruitment. EEO plans were often not submitted by the agencies or reviewed by CSC in a timely manner.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: CSC should: (1) complete a comprehensive study of organizational patterns for administering EEO programs and advise agencies of criteria; (2) continue with development of a tracking system and require agencies to use recruiting goals; (3) complete its new affirmative action plan guidance in a timely manner; and (4) issue more definitive guidance to set forth minimum agency EEO evaluation requirements. Heads of departments and agencies should: (1) cooperate in the CSC study and use the results; and (2) evaluate the affirmative action plan process in light of CSC revised criteria.

    Agency Affected:

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

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