EEO at Justice:

Progress Made but Underrepresentation Remains Widespread

GGD-91-8: Published: Oct 2, 1990. Publicly Released: Oct 2, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the affirmative action program at the Department of Justice (DOJ), focusing on: (1) whether DOJ had the data necessary to evaluate the success of its efforts to recruit, hire, and promote minorities and women; and (2) the success of DOJ efforts where evaluation data existed.

GAO noted that, under a congressional agreement, it excluded the Federal Bureau of Investigation from the review. GAO found that: (1) DOJ had data on its efforts to hire and promote minorities and females, but with the exception of one key job, it did not have recruitment data; (2) although DOJ acknowledged the need for recruitment data, it failed to aggressively collect such data; (3) DOJ submitted late and incomplete affirmative employment plans to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); (4) between 1982 and 1988, minority and female representation increased for 40 of the 50 professional, administrative, technical, clerical, and other (PATCO) categories, and 46 of the 60 key job categories, but underrepresentation remained widespread; (5) as of December 1988, underrepresentation existed in 21 of the 50 professional, administrative, technical, clerical, and other categories and 33 of the 60 key job categories; (6) for 18 of the key job categories and 3 of the PATCO categories, the EEO group's representation at DOJ was less than half of its representation in the civilian labor force; (7) females across all race and ethnic groups had not achieved full representation in upper grade levels, and minority men's representation at those levels was uneven; (8) DOJ compared more favorably to other cabinet agencies in the administrative category than in the professional category; (9) specific accountability at DOJ for EEO matters appeared to be lacking; (10) DOJ agreed that using long-term trend data and analyses on a more comprehensive and systematic basis could enable it to better identify or forecast potential problem areas; and (11) DOJ chooses not to use numerical goals because it views them as tantamount to quotas.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOJ continues to collect and analyze and compile trend analyses. According to Justice, these analyses are even more extensive now that it has completed its conversion to the National Finance Center, which allows direct access to a variety of workforce data. Justice also encourages each of its components to develop recruitment data to ensure that all EEO groups are being reached by the agency's affirmative recruitment efforts. Justice reports that recent data showed that for 1994 and 1995, it recruited and hired more minorities and women for its Honor Law Graduate and Summer Intern Programs than ever in its history.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should strengthen management of the DOJ affirmative action program by expanding data collection and analysis efforts to include recruitment data and the systematic use of long-term trend data and analysis.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Department has a long-standing policy against any use of numerical goals and will not depart from that policy under its present leadership. However, the Attorney General has established several key objectives in the area of EEO, namely: (1) to foster an environment in which cultural diversity is valued and understood; (2) to achieve workforce diversity whenever underrepresentation of minorities, women, and persons with disabilities exists, and to utilize innovative approaches to more fully integrate minorities, women, and persons with disabilities throughout DOJ; and (3) to ensure that supervisors and managers are held accountable for EEO implementation throughout the performance process, to provide a work environment that is free of discrimination and harassment, and to ensure that programs designated to address allegations of discrimination or harassment are responsive to employees' needs and that employees who elect to utilize such programs are protected from retaliation.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should strengthen management of the DOJ affirmative action program by adding numerical goals to its affirmative employment plan where warranted by the level of under-representation, such as severe under-representation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Attorney General, in a memorandum to heads of department components, stated that a major policy objective was to increase awareness and understanding of the DOJ EEO program and that each manager was responsible for supporting the program. The Attorney General has established priority objectives for departmental managers, which include increasing the representation of women and minorities. In a memorandum, the Attorney General directed component heads to ensure that supervisors and managers are held accountable for EEO implementation throughout the performance appraisal process. In directing component heads to assess the current status of EEO programs, the Attorney General has requested that they establish a system of management accountability to ensure that supervisors and managers, especially SESers, are appropriately evaluated on their efforts to implement EEO initiatives and objectives. A separate memorandum outlines specific initiatives to recruit experienced attorneys.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should strengthen management of the DOJ affirmative action program by increasing the EEO accountability of appropriate Senior Executive Service (SES) members by including in their performance work plans the responsibility for setting ambitious goals and taking the vigorous actions needed to achieve affirmative employment plan goals, both numerical and narrative.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

 

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