Problems in the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Program Need to Be Resolved

FPCD-76-85: Published: Sep 9, 1977. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 1977.

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The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Act of 1972 established guidelines for ensuring nondiscrimination and placed responsibility with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for reviewing national and regional EEO plans submitted by departments and agencies, evaluating agency operations, and publishing progress reports.

It could not be determined whether the EEO program for federal employees and job applicants was adequate and effective because there were no objective ground rules showing what the standards of accomplishment should be. Confusion exists because of disagreement on the meaning of equal employment opportunity, the lack of clearly stated program goals and criteria, disagreement on who should be beneficiaries of the program, confusion between permissible goals and impermissible quotas, differences in treatment within government and in private industry, constraints of the merit system, and administrative problems. According to CSC data, the percentage of minority group members holding federal jobs has remained about the same since 1972. CSC has not: (1) developed criteria for agencies on organizational arrangements; (2) kept costs of the program; nor (3) supplied agencies with necessary data to develop realistic goals. The emphasis of most agency programs was on hiring goals, with little involvement in recruitment. EEO plans were often not submitted by the agencies or reviewed by CSC in a timely manner.

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