Equal Opportunity:

Problems Persist in the EEO Complaint Processing System for Federal Employees

FPCD-83-21: Published: Apr 7, 1983. Publicly Released: Apr 18, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reported on continuing problems with the discrimination complaint processing system for Federal employees and some proposed changes in the system.

The system for processing Government employees' discrimination complaints continues to be plagued with problems, particularly the length of time it takes to process complaints. GAO found that complaints closed in fiscal year (FY) 1981 took more than twice as long as complaints closed in FY 1974. In 1981, a 15-percent increase in the number of complaints over the previous year was experienced, and the cost of processing complaints was approximately $456 million. A task force of agency representatives reported that: (1) duplication of effort exists in the system; (2) the system has too many decisionmaking levels; (3) many complaints not warranting full processing cannot be rejected; and (4) the system lacks procedural flexibility. Both the task force and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have proposed changes to the system. However, EEOC, several employee unions, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights do not agree with a task-force proposal to permit each agency to establish its own system. Nine agencies have commented on the proposed new EEOC regulations and are concerned about their lack of flexibility and the creation of additional financial and personnel resource needs. Because agency representatives frequently find EEOC decisions contrary to civil service law or impractical to carry out, the agencies refuse to implement decisions or request reconsideration.

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