EEOC's Expanding Workload:

Increases in Age Discrimination and Other Charges Call for New Approach

HEHS-94-32: Published: Feb 9, 1994. Publicly Released: Feb 18, 1994.

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Carlotta C. Joyner
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigates discrimination charges under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) and other federal nondiscrimination laws, focusing on: (1) EEOC ability to meet the demands of its workload; (2) EEOC plans for investigating systemic discrimination; (3) EEOC plans for litigation; and (4) several options for improving EEOC ability to respond to allegations of employment discrimination.

GAO found that: (1) EEOC workloads will likely increase without commensurate increases in resources; (2) the average processing time for a discrimination complaint could more than double by fiscal year 1996; (3) EEOC officials do not believe EEOC will initiate more systemic charges or litigate more cases under ADEA laws because its resources are limited; (4) the use of alternative dispute resolution could improve EEOC ability to enforce nondiscrimination laws; and (5) EEOC is piloting a program to improve its screening process and utilization of resources.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The House and Senate authorizing committees responsible for EEOC are aware of EEOC's workload problems. In the 3 1/2 years since GAO's report was issued, these committees have not considered the recommendation and GAO has no indication that they will address these issues in the near future.

    Matter: Congress should establish a commission of experts, including representatives from the civil rights community, to develop legislative and administrative means that would enable EEOC to better carry out its mission as part of an overall federal strategy for enforcing federal employment nondiscrimination laws.


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