Equal Employment Opportunity:

EEOC Birmingham Office Closed Discrimination Charges Without Full Investigation

HRD-87-81: Published: Jul 15, 1987. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 1987.

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Janet L. Shikles
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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the extent to which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) Birmingham district office closed pending discrimination charges in September 1985, regardless of the investigative status, to meet production goals.

GAO found that: (1) the Birmingham office closed 29 percent of the charges without completing a full investigation; (2) the investigations were deficient because they lacked comparative documentary evidence on the respondent's treatment of the charging party compared with other employees; (3) although the EEOC compliance manual provides specific guidance on how to resolve conflicting evidence, 83 percent of the charges did not include documentary evidence corroborating the respondent's reply to the charge; and (4) district managers instructed compliance investigators to close charges with insufficient evidence. GAO also found that: (1) the district office has not conducted full investigations since EEOC established unrealistic production goals in 1978; and (2) the district office staff considers investigations to be merely paperwork processes.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The EEOC Chairman directed all senior-level staff and, specifically, the Birmingham District Director that, in all cases, sufficient evidence must be obtained prior to closing charges.

    Recommendation: In view of the deficiencies, the Chairman, EEOC, should direct the Birmingham district office to implement the Commission's policy to fully investigate all discrimination charges.

    Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Birmingham District Office, AL

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The EEOC Chairman instructed the Director of the Office of Program Operations to immediately commence a review of closures, including investigations processed by the Birmingham office. This was completed in August 1987 and will be an ongoing effort.

    Recommendation: Because EEOC has not reviewed Birmingham's charge-processing activities since June 1985, the Chairman should direct the Office of Program Operations to: (1) review the quality of investigations conducted by the Birmingham district office; and (2) recommend, where necessary, actions to correct deficiencies in the district office's charge-investigation process.

    Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Birmingham District Office, AL


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