Justice and Law Enforcement:

Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures Should Be Reviewed and Revised

FPCD-82-26: Published: Jul 30, 1982. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 1982.

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The Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures describe the federal government's position on how tests should be used in making employment decisions which are consistent with federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. This review was made because GAO believes that the guidelines: (1) are important to EEO enforcement; and (2) have been publicly criticized by some of their users. The objective of the review was to determine whether those responsible for administering the guidelines and those who used them were experiencing any problems in their application.

In the opinion of GAO, the importance of the guidelines to EEO enforcement is not at issue. On the basis of the preponderance of views and experience expressed to GAO, it believes that the guidelines can have a major role in ensuring compliance with the spirit and intent of federal EEO laws. While revisions to the guidelines' technical provisions could be postponed until after the new American Psychological Association (APA) standards are published, beginning the review now could prevent unnecessary delay between issuance of those standards and any revisions.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EEOC stated that, at this stage, the other signatory agencies would not be included in discussions of options. Once EEOC decides what option to follow, the other agencies will be included.

    Recommendation: The Department of Labor should cooperate with EEOC in this important effort.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EEOC stated that, at this stage, the other signatory agencies would not be included in discussions of options. Once EEOC decides what option to follow, the other agencies will be included.

    Recommendation: The Department of Justice should cooperate with EEOC in this important effort.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EEOC stated that, at this stage, the other signatory agencies would not be included in discussions of options. Once EEOC decides what option to follow, the other agencies will be included.

    Recommendation: The Office of Personnel Management should cooperate with EEOC in this important effort.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EEOC stated that making the guidelines more understandable is an objective of the current review. The study is still underway and EEOC officials could not provide an anticipated completion date or ensure that the study revisions will be finalized.

    Recommendation: EEOC should determine how to make the guidelines more understandable to their users.

    Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NPRM will address collecting and maintaining adverse impact data. EEOC stated its current review will encompass all relevant issues, including searching for alternatives during validation and the relationship of merit laws to the guidelines. The study is still underway and EEOC officials could not provide an anticipated completion date or ensure that the study revisions will be finalized.

    Recommendation: EEOC should examine the problems associated with: (1) collecting and maintaining adverse impact data; (2) searching for alternatives during validation; and (3) the relationship of merit laws to the guidelines.

    Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EEOC adopted a resolution directing its staff to prepare changes to the guidelines recordkeeping provision. It voted to review substantive provisions. The review is being done in light of recent court decisions. The Chairman plans to submit proposed changes to the commissioners. The study is ongoing and officials could not provide a completion date or ensure that revisions would be finalized.

    Recommendation: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) should initiate a review of the guidelines and revise them. This effort should include coordinating the review of the technical provisions with the joint committee revising APA standards.

    Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EEOC stated that, at this stage, the other signatory agencies would not be included in discussions of options. Once EEOC decides what option to follow, the other agencies will be included.

    Recommendation: The Department of the Treasury should cooperate with EEOC in this important effort.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

 

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