Equal Employment Opportunity:

The Postal Service Needs to Better Ensure the Quality of EEO Complaint Data

GGD-99-167: Published: Sep 28, 1999. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 1999.

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Victor S. Rezendes
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GAO reviewed certain discrepancies in the complaint data that the Postal Service reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the need for the Service to take additional steps to ensure that such data are complete, accurate, and reliable.

GAO noted that: (1) in GAO's limited analyses of the data the Service reported to EEOC, GAO found errors in statistics on the underlying bases for EEO complaints and on the length of time complaints had been in inventory; (2) GAO also found that required data on the issues raised in complaint information system; (3) these discrepancies were generally linked to statistical reports generated by the Service's automated complaint information system; (4) after GAO brought these discrepancies to the attention of Postal Service staff, they promptly corrected them and appeared to correct the underlying causes for the errors, with one exception; (5) that situation need not be resolved until EEOC revises its reporting form; and (6) because GAO examined only a portion of the reported data for obvious discrepancies and because the errors GAO identified were related to data generated by an automated complaint information system put in place in 1995, GAO has concerns about the completeness, accuracy, and reliability of the data that GAO did not examined.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Postmaster General reported in a December 20, 1999 letter to oversight committees, that all but one of GAO's observations had been addressed. The one exception concerned the reporting of issues--the specific conditions or events that are the subject of the complaints. GAO reported that the Postal Service included only the primary issue in an EEO complaint, although EEOC required all issues raised by the complaints to be reported. The Postmaster General's letter said that the complaint data base was to be modified to address this problem by March 2000. On September 15, 2000, the Complaint Data Systems Specialist, Office of EEO, told us that the current system has been modified to accept all issues raised in employees' complaints. This change went into effect for fiscal year 2001.

    Recommendation: To help ensure that the EEO complaint data submitted to EEOC are complete, accurate, and reliable, the Postmaster General should review the Postal Service's controls over the recording and reporting of these data, including evaluating the computer programs that generate data to prepare the EEOC form 462, Annual Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Statistical Report of Discrimination Complaints. GAO recognizes that recording and reporting issues raised in complaints are matters that cannot be completely addressed until EEOC resolves the methodological flaws in part IV of form 462.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service


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