Federal Affirmative Employment:

Better Guidance Needed for Small Agencies

GGD-94-71: Published: Jul 21, 1994. Publicly Released: Aug 22, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the representation of women and minorities in the federal workforce, focusing on: (1) 75 federal agencies required to report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and not covered in previous reports; and (2) the usefulness and clarity of EEOC requirements for affirmative employment planning by these agencies and their compliance with requirements.

GAO found that: (1) although all 75 agencies reviewed complied with EEOC reporting requirements, most of the reports were submitted late and lacked required workforce analyses; (2) the 75 medium and small agencies made mixed progress in improving women's and minorities' representation in their workforces; (3) although the percentages of women and minorities increased at the agencies from 1984 to 1992, they were still underrepresented as compared to the national civilian workforce; (4) white women and minority men were being hired and promoted at rates that should improve their percentages in the federal workforce; (5) women and minorities were often underrepresented in key jobs at medium-sized agencies; (6) EEOC does not require agencies with fewer than 500 employees to develop plans or submit annual reports on their affirmative action activities, although it does require them to do equal employment opportunity (EEO) program and barrier analyses; and (7) most small agency EEO officials believe their only reporting requirement is to submit an EEO commitment statement.

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

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Chairman, EEOC, should strengthen emphasis of the federal affirmative employment program at small agencies by clarifying the planning and reporting requirements of small agencies.

    Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: EEOC has not responded to this recommendation. Revised guidance on clarifying the planning and reporting requirements of small agencies was to be addressed in a draft management directive on Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Employment for Minorities, Women, and People With Disabilities. However, the management directive remains in draft and there are no current plans to finalize and publish it, according to the Federal Sector Programs Director.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, EEOC, should strengthen emphasis of the federal affirmative employment program at small agencies by requiring agencies to certify that they are carrying out those requirements and provide some information about their program (for example, agencies could certify on a checksheet whether or not they are complying with each of the planning and reporting requirements).

    Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: EEOC has not responded to this recommendation. Revised guidance on reporting requirements of small agencies was to be addressed in a draft management directive on Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Employment for Minorities, Women, and People With Disabilities. However, the management directive remains in draft and there are no current plans to finalize and publish it, according to the Federal Sector Programs Director.

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