Federal Employee Redress:

A System in Need of Reform

T-GGD-96-110: Published: Apr 23, 1996. Publicly Released: Apr 23, 1996.

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GAO discussed the administrative redress system for federal employees. GAO noted that: (1) the federal employee redress system is a complex and duplicative system that affords employees redress at three different levels; (2) the system is inefficient, expensive, and time-consuming because of its complexity and the variety of redress mechanisms available; (3) the system contains significant overlap, especially in mixed cases where two or more agencies review an appellant's decision; (4) redress system costs are difficult to determine because many direct costs are not reported and indirect costs are not measurable; (5) the most time-consuming cases involve discrimination complaints, which take an average of 800 days to reconcile; (6) the federal redress system provides its employees with far greater opportunities than do private-sector redress systems; (7) the federal system allows federal workers numerous appeals, evidentiary hearings, and district court trials; (8) federal workers file workplace discrimination complaints five times more often than do private-sector employees; (9) the current system is vulnerable to abuse and diverts managers attention from more productive activities, inhibits managers from taking legitimate actions against poor performers, and pressures employees and agencies to settle cases to contain costs; and (10) alternative dispute resolution offers some promising approaches to handling workers complaints, but these methods are underused and in the early stages of development.

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